February 28, 2009

Chocolate Valentino with Fig & Honey Icecream

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. In their words - "We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge".

Chocolate Valentino is a flourless chocolate cake inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. The recipe comes from "Sweet Treats" by Chef Wan.

My story :

The challenge by itself was pretty straight forward and simple in that we were to make the Chocolate Valentino cake accompanied with either whipped cream or cool-whip and/or home-made icecream.

I actually quartered the recipe and used 4 oz of chocolate with 2 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1 egg (and not 1 1/4!). I followed the steps as per the recipe and used a small double-heart pan for baking. As I was using a very thin aluminium pan for baking I was a bit scared if the batter would burn. So I baked the cake at 325 F in a water bath for about 20 minutes. As I had no thermometer at hand, I allowed the cake to sit for a few minutes. The top appeared to be crusty with wet middle area, but I was doubtful if it would withstand unmolding. So I preheated the oven to 375 and kept the cake for another 10 minutes, after which it seemed the same, but I felt better! Unmolding went without any glitch and it looked awesome!!

I decided that I would try to make home-made icecream for this challenge. I actually tried out three different recipes for the Icecream challenge part. Initially I planned a Coconut and Saffron Icecream from David Lebovitz. For some, it might taste exotic with coconut milk and saffrom, but for me it tasted like the sweetened version of the usual coconut milk curries that our family used to make back in Kerala. So I decided to go with Wendy's Vanilla Icecream recipe which was simple and very quick to put together. I reduced the vanilla essence to about 3/4 tbsp and scraped the seeds from a vanilla bean pod and added to the concoction. The vanilla icecream was very authentic, with distinct vanilla flavor and tasted almost like the popular Classic Vanilla Icecream!

I whipped the icecream mixture at intervals to make it smooth and uniform, since I didnt have an Icecream maker. Then I transferred half of the mixture to another bowl for experimenting!

I have been wanting to make Fig & Honey Icecream (the ones I used to order in Baskin & Robbins in India where we havent even heard or seen the fruit -fig!! So Fig & Honey was as exotic as it would get back then!). I found few recipes on the net and some were very elaborate.

I decided to experiment with Wendy's recipe, transforming it into a Fig & Honey Icecream. Please find the recipe towards the end of the post. It was awesome, I am not kidding, I was very very pleased with the results!! It had the granulated sugar and the added sweetness of honey but it was not overwhelming at all. Next time, I would probably reduce the vanilla essence and granulated sugar a little bit so that I can add more honey and balance the sugar.

The cake at first seemed a little too bland, not to sweet for me, but on further samplings in the subsequent days it seemed to taste better and finally, it was awesome! JM and I both loved and have become die-hard fans of the Fig & Honey Icecream which was gone in a matter of minutes! I should have made the whole batch of Vanilla Icecream into the Fig & Honey one!

In the end, I should say that I was very pleased with the cake and the icecream and both turned out to be excellent treats! The cake was smooth, velvetty and rich just as it should be and the icecream was the best accompaniment to the cake. I am happy that I got to do this challenge succesfully. Yet another successful challenge, one more proud moment being a Daring Baker!

Chocolate Valentino

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C.

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe - Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)


1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48 % butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat){you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuseLift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.

2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy.

3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time

4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.

5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)

By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe - Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe

Preparation Time: 5 minutes


2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.

Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

JZ's Fig & Honey Icecream


Heavy cream - 1 cups
Whole milk - 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/3 cup
Cool whip - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tbsp
Dried California figs - 5, chopped
Honey - 2 - 3 tbsp


Mix together the cream, milk, sugar, cool whip and vanilla essence. Freeze for an hour.

Whip the mixture together for a few minutes. Freeze again.

Repeat this a couple of times every hour.

Once the mixture is almost frozen and in a slush consistency, mix in the chopped figs.

Pour honey in swirls and gently mix once or twice.

Transfer to the freezer until it can be scooped.


  1. Reduce the amount of sugar added to the cream if you would like to reduce the sweetness.
  2. Reduce the vanilla essence by a bit if you wouldnt like to have a pronounced vanilla flavor.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!! Dont forget to check out other dreamy combinations whipped up by my fellow Daring Bakers here. Enjoy!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, everything looks delicious. I am really looking forward to trying your fig and honey ice cream recipe :)

Lisa said...

JZ, you really outdid yourself. Beautiful presentation (especially the chocolate lace wrapped tower) and an incredible ice cream! I was going to do cream cheese and date ice cream, but decided to be boring in the name of Valentine's Day, and do a strawberry cream cheese ice cream. Seeing you did a fig and honey (drooool), I wish I had went ahead with the former!

Rachel said...

perfect valentino...love the presentation.

Jenny (deer eater) said...

Hi from a fellow Daring Baker - this was my first challenge.
This looks so delicious and your presentation is beutiful! I am so going to try the fig and honey ice cream recipe - sounds soooo good!

Namratha said...

Your cake is very pretty, well done!

Chickiedoodle said...

What a delightful presentation! I can't wait to try your fig and honey ice cream recipe.

Claire said...

Great job! The ice cream looks so yummy. I bet it's great.

Anonymous said...

Great presentation!

minisuperbias said...

Gorgeous! What a fabulous flavor choice for your ice cream.

aquadaze said...

I absolutely love your fig and honey ice cream! And the chocolate art work looks gorgeous!

anjelikuh said...

they look wonderful, great job on the challenge!

Swapna said...

Your cake looks very pretty...
Fig and honey ice crean sounds interesting....will definitely try it....

Anonymous said...

I have no words JZ, only you can create this kind of magic.

Jenny said...

You do realize that figs, honey, and chocolate are all aphrodisiacs, right? The perfect Valentines dessert for sure!

Aparna said...

Beautiful. Double hearts are different and love the chocolate case for the ice-cream.

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

that looks sooo pretty... very cute. should have been yummy too.