Home Cooking Recipes
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Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour

Juila Child knew how to plant a bombe

What is your favorite recipe using chocolate? I went to a lecture on chocolate the other day and at the end of the very interesting and informative talk the speaker was asked what her favorite chocolate recipe was. She thought about it and then replied that it was a recipe from the book called "Julia Child & More Company."

It is a dessert for true chocolate lover. It is both beautiful to look at and fun--though not difficult--to make. You will have a bombe that will blow you away.

Best of all is that the recipe can be made in parts, which you refrigerate until you get around to it, or you can complete the cake, keep it refrigerated or make it well ahead and store it in the freezer.

It is best to make the chocolate mousse first, so it can set a little bit, yet be soft enough to spoon into the lined mold. While the fudge cake is baking and cooling, you can cut out the template (pattern) that will guide you in lining your. You can then save the template for next time because you will want to make this dessert again, and again.

Chocolate Mousse

This is very strong, rich, dark and chocolaty, on the bittersweet side. It consists only of melted chocolate that is folded into a rich custard sauce and is lightened by beaten egg whites, yet given body with a little gelatin. It makes a delicious dessert just as it is when presented in small cups or chocolate pots. Also served the mousse with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

12 ounces best quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 teaspoons plain gelatin
3 tablespoons dark rum, Cognac or bourbon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Melt chocolate; it should be smooth and darkly glistening. While it is melting, measure gelatin into a bowl, pour on the rum or other liquid, stir and let it soften.

Custard Sauce: Separate the eggs, dropping the whites, plus the extra whites, into the beating bowl, and the yolks into a saucepan. Whip the yolks for a minute until thick and sticky; then blend in the cream. Stir rather slowly over low heat with a wooden spoon, reaching all over bottom of pan as liquid slowly heats. (Do not let it come to a simmer.) Bubbles will begin to appear on the surface and will then subside. Then watch for a little bit of steam rising which indicates that the sauce is thickening. Cook a few seconds more until the sauce clings in a light layer on the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir for a minute or so to stop cooking. Beat egg whites at slow speed until foamy, beat in the salt and then gradually increase the speed until the whites form soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar, and beat until egg whites form stiff shining peaks. Fold them into the chocolate and then return the whole mixture to the egg white bowl, cover, and chill. Mousse should be somewhat set, not runny, when it goes into the cake-lined mold. The mousse can be made in advance and chilled; then left out at room temperature until softened. It will keep several days in refrigerator and it can be frozen. Makes 8 servings.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

A superior brownie as well as the perfect cake to surround a mousse. It is crunchy-chewy, yet soft enough to bend to the contours of a bowl. May be baked a day or two in advance, and it can be frozen.

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 11- by 17-inch jellyroll pan, cut a sheet of wax paper to fit it with 2-inches of overhang at each end, and press into pan. Butter and lightly flour the paper, knocking off excess flour. Melt together one stick of butter and the chocolate. Cream second stick of butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then vanilla and salt. Stir in warm chocolate mixture, then gradually sift and fold in the flour. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake 25 minutes until cake is set but top is still spongy. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out with a few specks of chocolate on it. Do not overcook or you will not be able to mold to fit into the lined bowl or flower pots. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a rack for 0 minutes. Then turn pan and rack upside down and gently remove pan and wax paper. Cool 10 minutes more before cutting or packaging for storage. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

How to assemble the bombe

It is easy to make a pattern of cut-outs to guide you in fitting the cake into whatever container(s) you have chosen. Use computer paper or parchment. The assembled bombe can be kept several days in the refrigerator or it can be frozen. Thaw for several hours at room temperature before serving or thaw a day or longer in the fridge.

Making pattern: cut a small circle for the bottom of the bowl and 7 wedges of cake to rest on that circle and touch the top of the bowl all around with a little space between each wedge, allowing the mousse to peek through the walls of fudge cake. You also need a large circle to cap the mouse. Leftover scrapes of cake later go into the center, giving the bombe a little extra sturdiness for facing life outside of the mold.

Cutting cake: Slice off a 1/2-inch border all around the rectangle, since the edges tend to be brittle--these cut-offs make nice little cookie bits to serve another time. Then fit the pattern pieces on the cake and cut with a sharp knife.

Lining bowl: Line bowl with plastic wrap for easy unmolding and arrange the cake pieces in the bowl on top of the plastic, pressing gently in place, use best side for outside (facing bowl). Pile half of the mousse into the bowl, cover with scraps of the cake and fill with remaining mousse. Place large circle on top, pressing it down to force the mousse into the bowl and around the cake. Cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight. It can be refrigerated for several days.

Unmolding: Loosen the bombe from the mold by pulling up on the plastic wrap, then fold wrap down the outside of the bowl. Center the serving platter over the top of the mold and reverse the two.

Applying the Third Chocolate

4 ounces best quality semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/2 pint heavy cream
Confectioners sugar

Melt the chocolates together and slowly pour over the cake on its platter. Let the chocolate drip unevenly down the sides. Top the chocolate, while it is still warm, with a sprinkling of the walnuts. Whip the heavy cream and flavor it with confectioners sugar and vanilla. Pass in a pretty bowl.

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