Also, Sami and I are both suffering from what we think is probably culture shock--it finally caught up with us. It was kind of funny--when I mentioned to him that I was walking around in a persistent state of unfocused dread, he admitted he'd had the same feelings. We are hoping for a speedy recovery, although lots of teaching perpetually irritating students and then a move will probably not encourage that. In the meantime, there is chocolate, and there is Pontlevoy.
If you've been reading for a while, you'll know we spent what was to Sami and me a magical 6 months in a tiny village in the Loire valley, Pontlevoy. You can ask the girls about their experience separately--it was only magical in that Voldemort kind of way for them. One of our favorite things to do there was entertain--we would have weekly parties involving groaning boards of cheese and charcuterie and, of course, Maida Heatter desserts. We fed students and faculty and village folk alike. Everyone had time for a dinner party, it seemed.
So when we decided to take a few days of our precious Easter holiday and drive down to Pontlevoy, we also planned a giant party at our host's house. Of course, that house was where we had stayed last year, so I knew my way around the kitchen. I bought a ton of food, did a bit of cooking, and mostly just put food on the table. At least 20 people and one dog came through the house. They put a dent in the food (I don't think the dog had any of the food), and they did not leave a drop of wine in the house (especially after the bar down the street closed early for Easter). It was definitely like old times, speaking French and English, filling plates and glasses, smiling at compliments, enjoying old and new friends.
And then there was this cake. I made it here in Le Pecq to transfer over since Maida said it would keep several days. When we arrived in Pontlevoy on Thursday, I turned on the freezer upstairs, wrapped the cake in plastic, and put it in there. On Saturday, the evening of the party, the cake was frozen solid but magically delicious. We sliced it and served everyone and there was still a largish hunk left over.
It's very rich and chocolatey--just look at the ingredient list! It's like a frozen chocolate/mocha mousse. Everyone seemed to love it, but it was too much for many people, who at that point were just concentrating on their wine.
Here's the recipe. Make this when you need a break from the stresses of life and/or when you have a lot of people to make happy.
Frozen Fudge Cake
18 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken up
2 c. (13 oz.) sugar
2 c. (1 lb.) butter
1 c. (8 oz.) strong brewed coffee or 1 T. instant dissolved in 1 c. boiling water
9 large eggs
Heat the oven to 250-that's with a 2. Butter the bottom and sides of a springform pan and dust it with cocoa. Consider wrapping the bottom of the springform in aluminum foil. In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix the chocolate, sugar, butter, coffee, and salt. Melt at 30-second intervals until smooth. In a medium bowl, whip the eggs with a whisk until foamy. Gradually pour the eggs into the chocolate and stir well. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 2 hours. Then turn the oven off, crack the door, and let the cake sit in the oven for another 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool to room temperature. Then unmold and wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze at least overnight--this is still good after a few days.
When you're ready to serve, whip some cream:
2 c. cream
1/3 c. (1.3 oz.) powdered sugar
3/4 t. vanilla
2 T. (1 oz.) Cognac or rum (I used whiskey)
Whip together in a chilled bowl. If you think you might eat the cake in one go (we couldn't even with well over 15 guests), frost it with whipped cream. It's safer to serve the cream on the side.