Flourless Chocolate Cake w/ Berry Topping

Fourth of July is juuust around the corner, can you believe it?! Time to get your red, white, and blue on!

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I’ll be making the annual trip to our lake house for the holiday and I couldn’t be more excited about it. There are so many traditions and activities that I look forward to every single year. Picnics on the pontoon boat, swimming in the lake, reading on the hammock, bike rides through the woods, and of course the annual Independence Day festivities!

Last year my family officially took over the responsibility of hosting the bocce-ball-tournament/party for all the neighbors on our little lake. In preparation for this year, my mom enlisted everyone in the family to start brainstorming good, festive dishes we could serve. Obviously, my mind immediately drifted towards desserts.

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Here’s the thing. Flourless chocolate cake is…easy. You can make it ahead of time (it’s better that way, in my opinion!) And fun to dress up. And damn, is it good. Nobody asked for this information, but if you want to know my Official Ranking of The World’s Best Cakes, it’s this: 1st. Carrot cake. 2nd. Angel food cake. 3rd. My family’s poppyseed cake. 4th. Flourless chocolate cake. 5th. Cheesecake.

So, anyway, I figured a flourless chocolate cake that’s been dressed up with red, white, and blue toppings would be perfect. Viola! You’re welcome.

Flourless Chocolate Cake w/ Berry Topping

ingredients:

16 tbsp unsalted butter

12 oz high quality dark chocolate

5 eggs

1 + 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

raspberries and blueberries, for topping

powdered sugar, for topping/dusting

directions:

preheat oven to 350 F. grease a 100 inch cake pan with canola oil and then line it with parchment paper.

in a microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely silky smooth.

in another bowl, whisk together the eggs and white granulated sugar.

add the egg mixture to the chocolate, whisking everything until well combined. pour the batter into the cake pan. bake for 75 minutes, or until a fork that’s been inserted into the very center of the cake comes out mostly clean (no obvious liquid batter).

remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely. i even chill mine in the freezer, so that when you remove it from the cake pan there is no chance that it breaks apart.

carefully remove the chilled cake from the pan. top with powdered sugar, then assorted berries, and again with a bit more powdered sugar. serve immediately, and enjoy!

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Blackberry & Cherry Jam Pie

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Summer is coming to a close. I keep saying that, and Mark keeps rolling his eyes and reminding me that we still have a whole month left (and then some, since we live in perpetual summer). He’s right, of course, but I start organic chemistry II in a week so it does actually feel like summer is ending for me. I’m not necessarily sad about it since that means FALL IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER but I’m definitely trying to fit in a few more summery recipes and activities.

What’s summer without a berry pie!?

Whenever I eat pie I’m reminded of cabins and picnic tables and gingham print and cold glasses of milk and fireflies. You can’t get more summery than that! I can’t believe this is my first pie of the season.

On Friday, after officially finishing the GRE and picking up my second bridesmaids dress (I’m in two weddings this fall…pray for me), I decided I needed to celebrate and log some hours in my kitchen. So I made a pie. More specifically, I made a blackberry + cherry jam pie.

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I love making pie crust. It’s relaxing. I like watching the butter get all piece-y in my kitchenaid. I like when you add just the right amount of iced water to make the dough finally come together. I like rolling it out (therapeutic af) and then draping it over a pie dish. Then I like slowly and deliberately cutting strips for a lattice. I love making the lattice. I especially love decorating with pie crust. I like cutting and trimming and braiding and layering. I just frickin’ love pie.

What I didn’t love so much about this pie was the insides. Just for full disclosure. I tried a new recipe from a book and it said to take frozen blackberries and cook in a saucepan with cherry preserves and some sugar till the whole medley became syrupy. But I don’t like syrupy because it’s so soupy in a pie. It tasted great though. Next time I’m just gonna throw the jam, sugar, and fresh blackberries right into the dish and shove that into the oven. I like solid pie insides waaay more.

Anyway, back to the crust which is what you should start with because duhhh. My mama taught me how to make pie crust and it’s perfect every time. The lady knows what she’s doing. She’ll probably read this and have many additional notes on how to do an even better job, but I’m an amateur so whatever.

Pie Crust

What to use: 2 cups of flour // 1 tsp salt // 1 tablespoon of sugar // 1/3 cup crisco // 1/3 cup unsalted butter // iced water // 1 egg white

What to do: Chill EVERYTHING. Keep it all in the fridge until the second you’re going to use it. Chill the mixing bowl in the freezer until it’s cold to touch. Add the (chilled) flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl, mix together. Cut the crisco and butter into smallish pieces and add those to the bowl, mix. You should be able to see little tiny balls of butter/dough but it will still be dry. Then, table spoon by tablespoon, add the iced water until the dough starts to stick together. Don’t add too much! It just needs to be able to stick together but should NOT be moist. Stop mixing and separate dough into two balls. Press each dough ball into a thick, flattened disk shape and cover each disk with wax paper. Put those in the freezer to chill the eff out.

After like 20 minutes, pull one disk out (the other is for the lattice), sandwich it between two layers of wax paper, and roll out with a pin. Make sure the dough is thin and even. Peel off the top layer of wax paper, then flip the dough onto a pie dish. Trim the dough that lies over the top of the dish so that it’s all (relatively) uniform.

Pie Filling

What to use: 1 lb of fresh blackberries // 1/2 cup of cherry preserves // 1 cup of sugar // 2 teaspoons of cornstarch.

What to do: Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then transfer to pie dish. Make sure the filling is even because it will make your lattice work waaaay easier. Put the dish in the fridge to chill out again while you prep for the topping.

Lattice Topping

What to do: Pull the second dough disk out of the freezer and roll out. Use a knife and maybe a ruler to cut about 60 thin strips of dough.

Pull out the pie dish and drape 15 strips across the pie dish in one direction. Then, carefully flip every other strip up (in half) and add a new perpendicular strip right at the point of the fold. Flip all the strips down. Then repeat this, but this time flipping up all the strips that you left down the first time. Alternate over and over again until you have a good lattice with 15 strips going in each direction. Here’s a visual that’s waaaay more helpful than words.

My lattice started to sink ’cause of the soupy pie innards…lol. I thought it looked kinda cool though, no?

Hopefully you’ll have 30 strips remaining. Use six strips for each of the fishtail braids. Take the six strips and start braiding (google fishtail hair tutorials if you don’t know how) and once you reach the end of the strip just pinch all the dough pieces together on each end. Add the braid(s) to the top of the pie.

With the remaining dough, cut out some leaves to layer strategically on the pie. I put them on top of the pinched braid ends to cover them up.

Put the pie back in the fridge to chill, yet again. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Once preheated, take the pie out and brush the top crust with some of the egg white. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes. Then turn the temp down to 350 F and bake for another 30 minutes.

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Some say pie should be served room temp. Some say cold. Some say hot. I like it hot with a side of drippy vanilla ice cream. Haagen-Dazs or bust!

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I let Mark eat the whole pie in one night (I obviously had some too). It was such a compliment because he’s been on such an intense nutrition regime lately, but he literally couldn’t resist! While we stuffed our faces we discussed that famous scene in the movie Matilda where a child is forced to eat an entire chocolate cake by himself, and we both agreed that would be light work for either of us. I love baking for Mark, he’s so easy to please and dolls out the compliments easily. Baking is our love language.

In other news, I’m grappling with the overwhelming decision of whether or not I should buy a new car since mine has apparently suffered considerable damage. I don’t want to get a new car ’cause I love my Ruby girl, but I’m trying to make the smartest decision. I’m also gearing up to submit vet school applications in a couple of days (OMG!!!) and, as previously mentioned, getting ready for class to start again. Oh, and it’s almost time for Game of Thrones!