Food Feedback: TMI on the brownies? And do we need more witloof?

March 8, 2012 8:34 am
  • The offending/entertaining brownie, made with Oreos
    The offending/entertaining brownie, made with Oreos
  • One reader loves witloof, or endive, so much he wants to start "Friends of Witloof."
    One reader loves witloof, or endive, so much he wants to start "Friends of Witloof."
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Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You need a tube pan with a 10- to 12-cup capacity, preferably one with a rounded bottom and a fancy design. Butter the pan well (even if it has a nonstick finish) and dust all over with fine dry bread crumbs, invert it over paper, and tap out excess crumbs. Set the pan aside.

The cake can be served as it is, plain (plain, but moist and wonderful) or with confectioners' sugar sprinkled through a fine strainer over the top, or with the following gorgeous, thick, dark chocolate, candy-like glaze just poured unevenly over the top. To glaze, place the cake on a rack over a large piece of wax paper or aluminum foil.

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • About 1 tablespoon whipping cream

Break up the chocolate and place it in the top of a small double boiler over warm water on low heat. Cover with a folded paper towel (to absorb steam) and with the pot cover and let cook until barely melted. Then remove the top of the double boiler and stir the chocolate until completely smooth.

Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Then stir in the cream very gradually (different chocolates use different amounts of cream); the mixture should be thick, just barely thin enough to flow slowly and heavily.

Pour the glaze around and around over the top of the cake, letting it run down unevenly in places.

Let the cake stand until set and then transfer to a cake plate.

Serves 16.

-- "Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts" (Knopf, 1985)

Gratin of Belgian Endives

This is very popular throughout Belgium and always a best-seller on bistro menus. For a light but complete meal, serve it with mashed potatoes and a crisp green salad and have some nice fresh bread on hand to scoop up the delicious sauce.

(Variation: If you omit the ham, this becomes a dish called Belgian Endive in Bechamel and makes a wonderful vegetable accompaniment to many main courses. The smooth cheese-flavored Bechamel makes this slightly bitter vegetable more palatable for children.)

  • 6 to 8 Belgian endives, cored, stems removed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Put the endives in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the endives are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid for the sauce.

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First Published 2012-03-07 23:14:58

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