08 December, 2011

The excitement of cake (and chocolate pie)

In this picture it's my fifth birthday in a farmhouse in Cape Breton.  I'm seated in front of a cake my dad baked for me.  My beautiful sister is there behind me to the right.  I'm wearing my "smartie" necklace that was made for me by sculptor John Nesbitt. (It was not made of smarties but did it ever look like it - and I proudly wore that piece for days.  An unfortunate accident befell the necklace at a friend's house when she/we - I honestly can't quite remember - pretended to "bite" the smarties and the string broke and the beads went everywhere.  I don't know what happened next.)

In a somewhat odd connection to the top picture above (taken and gawked over at this Kensington Market shop), my dad also made me a rainbow cake another year.  There was the usual 8 inch round cake but he added a semicircle rainbow shape and decorated it, adding tiny animal figurines to make a farm scene.  Ah, dad.  Although the days of having speciality birthday cakes are likely over for me, the excitement of cake lives on through my best friend who made this beauty for my recent wedding.  Our cake was chocolate with layers of ganache and fresh raspberries.  The icing was vanilla buttercream.  

In further odd connections between my childhood in Cape Breton, special dessert baking, and my current adult life in Toronto, I present to you a recipe for a no bake chocolate pie.  Circa 1977, my good mother always was looking for ways to get people to eat/enjoy/like tofu (and carob) so she would make a pie similar to this one and serve it without mentioning the ingredients.  When they were won over by the taste and consistency and uniqueness of the dessert, she would happily share with them the word tofu.  

Cut to present day, and my best friend (said wedding cake baker) whips out a stunning dessert at a dinner party that inspires me to this day.  It is incredibly easy and very delicious.  There were two other desserts on offer but everyone just wanted to eat hers.  Trust me, you will too!

Rebecca's Chocolate Pie 

One package silken tofu (medium firm tofu works too)
6 ounces of dark chocolate (I use Baker's brand, 70%)
dash of honey (or agave syrup)
9 inch pie crust (baked)
fresh raspberries to serve

In a double boiler (or very low heat) melt the chocolate (please read the note below about working with chocolate). Add it to the tofu in a blender along with a bit of honey to help the pie filling mix smoothly.   Spoon the filling into a baked pie shell, cover with plastic and place in the fridge for about 2 hours.  Serve with fresh raspberries or as you see fit.  

About working with chocolate 
(from Ginette Mathiot's "The Art of French Baking," Foreward by Clotilde Dusoulier)

"Working with chocolate is notoriously tricky.  Chocolate melts very quickly when warmed so it is best to treat it gently.  Melt in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of steaming water.  The water should not touch the bowl."  Rules to follow: Do not let water get into the chocolate and melt over a steady, low temperature.