This past memorial day weekend, Peter was gone river rafting on the Kern River for a bachelor party. Therefore, I got to plan some fun girl days! On the actual Memorial Day afternoon, I planned a picnic with my friends Lindsey and Laurie. We set up our picnic on a grassy park right above the beach so that we could also set up CROQUET to play on the lawn!
In college, Peter and his NINE roommates set up croquet in their front yard; they played all the time- it was awesome... Halftime during the Laker game? Croquet! Free time? Croquet! Want to procrastinate studying? Croquet! These boys turned a recreational past-time into a competitive sport. They played so hard that the set fell to pieces by the time they all graduated. So I got Peter a new croquet set for his birthday last month. We have all been playing it together down here now, and it has been so nostalgic for us all :) However, since the boys are croquet masters from all that practice during their college days, we girls are getting beat up on! This is why it was necessary for us to sneak in a little practice while the boys were gone river rafting :)
To go along with our european lawn game, I planned a french/european 'poet's picnic' (baguette, cheeses, fruit, etc). But I also wanted to make something fun for dessert--- What better than a recipe I learned from Julia Childs- the very woman who brought french cooking to America! It was decided; I would make the flourless chocolate cake that I had learned from one of her cooking shows some time ago :) I added a chocolate ganache glazing and berries whereas Julia Childs added just a sprinkling of powdered sugar atop the cake instead. Either way would be good, but from our experience the ganache was divine. And the cake is so rich that the berries are almost an essential companion. (Also, we couldn't pack ice cream for the picnic of course, but over the following days we enjoyed the leftovers with berries and vanilla ice cream and that was a match made in heaven).
Recipe (serves about 15 since only small slices are required due to its density & richness)
Flourless Chocolate Cake:
- 2 sticks Salted Butter
- 8 oz. Chocolate, >60% cacao (Julia used bittersweet, I used Semi Sweet)
- 1 cup Unsweetened Cacoa
- 1 1/4 cups granulated Sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup Half & Half or Heavy Cream (I use half & half because it is healthier and it was just fine... I know, I'm making a very unhealthy decadent cake!!!)
- 8 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 2 Tablespoons Butter (this gives it that satiny shine and keeps it shiny)