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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Recipe: The Raspberry Midnight - "A chocolate, raspberry, graham trifecta"

For the hungry, all the photos you can stomach...
...for the adventurous, the recipes so you can try it on your own! 

Recipe: The Raspberry Midnight
"A chocolate, raspberry, graham trifecta"
Baked 06.06.14

Raspberry Midnight

Raspberry / Chocolate / Graham

Requested by
Kata B.

When I initially thought of the name "Raspberry Midnight", it was intended as a playful, if not particularly inspired, nod to the combination of raspberry with dark chocolate. But after a week of testing these recipes, it could just as well be a reference to pulling a week of all-nighters in the kitchen. Flashbacks to college... but in the end, I got to eat my term paper.

With three distinct recipes, there was so much to perfect...

The extremely chewy texture of the graham cracker cake... the temperamental egg to flour ratio for the raspberry curd filling... and that woven lattice chocolate pate sucree (what had I been thinking?!)

Eat these with love!

"And now you can play along at home"

For this creation, and all future bites, I've included detailed recipes - all originals. Give them a try!

If creating an entire batch of Raspberry Midnights seems a bit daunting, why not walk before you run? What's great about this particular creation is that each of the individual components is a satisfying treat on its own. No one is going to say "no" to a plate of Chewy Graham Cake Bars (if they do, they are not to be trusted).

And if you do give the recipes a whirl, email me your thoughts or leave a comment. I would love to hear how it went.

Chef's initial ingredient reaction:
Raspberry & chocolate is just about as classic a combination as you can find. Simultaneously sweet and tart, the flavor of fresh raspberries is a perfect complement to the rich notes of a dark chocolate in almost any form.

Graham, however, is a bit different. Who at this moment isn't thinking of graham crackers, those subtly sweet and (infuriatingly?) crumbly treats from preschool snack time and summer camp s'mores?
Chocolate bar
Prepare to have your mind blown!

"Graham" is not a flavor at all. It is actually a type of flour named after the Reverend Sylvester Graham (1794-1851), a bit of an early-day health food nut who had some colorful views regarding the impact of nutrition on the common man (crackers to curb 'lurid' urges?).

Graham cracker With graham flour, the Reverend was advocating for the use of the entire wheat grain (endosperm, bran and germ) and not just the endosperm, as is used in white flour. What makes graham flour unique from whole grain flour, which also contains those three components, is that graham flour grinds each of the components individually. The endosperm is ground into a fine powder while the bran and germ are left in a coarser form. The combined mixture yields a high protein flour that produces the characteristic texture of graham crackers, which endure as the Reverend's "health food" legacy.

Flash forward a couple hundred years and throw in some modern food science, and we're left with a namesake product that usually contains no graham flour and, loaded with refined sugar, is probably best described as a cookie.

- The Components -
& Recipes

The following recipes have been tested and tweaked over multiple iterations. I have had pastry boxes full of chocolate pate sucree scraps to prove it.

"Teaspoons are for stirring, not measuring!"

A few thoughts on pastry recipes before diving in.

When it comes to recipes, I am an ardent believer in the measure-by-weight school of cooking. If you want accuracy, you must weigh your ingredients. True, a gram of flour here or there will not destroy most recipes. But if you're playing with citric acid (which I do)...

And while it pains the purest in me to do so, I realize not everyone has a kitchen scale, so I have provided the volume equivalents for reference. Use them if you must, but proceed with caution!

*Chef's note: A few additional guidelines on recipes...
  • Always use eggs and butter at room temperature unless otherwise instructed
  • Always use unsalted butter. You control the salt!
  • Only use Large eggs. Eggs are sold according to a range of sizes. In the U.S., a "Jumbo" egg is 25% larger than a "Large" egg.  Make a recipe calling for 8 egg yolks using Jumbo eggs rather than Large eggs, and you have actually used the equivalent of 10 eggs. Oops!
  • When are pastries done cooking? When they're done! Cooking times are general guidelines, but you have to monitor the stoves and ovens. Your equipment, the weather, karma... they all affect the cooking time
  • ... and one last time, if you want to greatly improve your odds of success with any recipe, throw down the $30 at any home good store for that kitchen scale. Trust me!

Chewy Graham Cake:
"A graham cracker that can keep it together"

This recipe takes the signature flavor of graham crackers and packages it in the chewiest of cakes. No more crumbs in bed! Molasses and rum (optional but highly advised) add a depth of flavor that you won't find in a box of animal crackers (if you do, call child services).

Quick and easy to make, the Chewy Graham Cake is the bottom layer for the Raspberry Midnight. But it's also great on its own. Make a tray for 24 Chewy Graham Cake Bars.

One quarter sheet pan (9"x13") - enough for 24 bars or one Raspberry Midnight recipe

    Chewy Graham Cake mise en place
  • Graham Flour*: 180g (1.5 Cups)
  • Milk Powder*: 25g (0.25 Cup)
  • Baking Powder: 5g (1.0 Tsp)
  • Kosher Salt: 6g (1.0 Tsp)
  • Cinnamon & Nutmeg: To taste
  • Dark Brown Sugar: 100g (0.5 Cup)
  • Egg: 1 Count 
  • Butter: 112g (0.5 Cups / 1 Stick ) 
  • Glucose*: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Honey: 25g (1.0 Tbsp)
  • Molasses: 25g (1.5 Tbsp)
  • Rum: 15g (1.0 Tbsp)
  • Vanilla: 15g (1.0 Tbsp)

*Chef's note: You should be able to find graham flour and milk powder in most grocery stores, but these ingredients may not be shelved with the traditional baking items. Ask for help if you can't find them (not only do real men bake, but real men ask for directions)

Glucose is a bit of a specialty ingredient, but it can be found on Amazon (in a pinch, use corn syrup). 

  1. Remove the eggs and butter from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature
  2. Line a quarter sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper - do not grease
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  4. Egg & sugar emulsion
  5. Prepare an egg & sugar emulsion: Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar and egg on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should take on a light, creamy appearance
  6. Add the butter and mix on low speed until incorporated - about 1 minute
  7. Add the remaining wet ingredients (glucose, honey, molasses, rum and vanilla) and mix on low speed until incorporated - about 1 minute
  8. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix for an additional 30 seconds
  9. Add the dry ingredients (flour, milk powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg) and mix on low until well incorporated - about 2 minutes
  10. Chewy Graham Cake batter in sheet pan
  11. Pour the batter onto the center of the sheet pan. Using a spatula, spread the batter gently (do not press down on the batter) towards the sides and corners to fill the sheet pan. The batter will we stiff and will not fill the pan without your help!
  12. Bake for a total of 20 - 25 minutes, rotating the sheet pan 180 degrees after 10 minutes
  13. Allow the cake to cool completely (approximately 1 hour). If the cake is for the Raspberry Midnight, keep it in the sheet pan and store in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic. If serving as Chewy Graham Cake Bars, turn over onto a flat cutting board and cut into 24 portions
Chewy Graham Cake

Chocolate Pate Sucree Pie Crust:

This lightly sweet, but deeply chocolate crust is the eye-catching top to the Raspberry Midnight. Save any scraps of dough for quick chocolate crust cookies (bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit).

*Chef's Note: It's only fair for me to flag this recipe before you start. To be totally honest, this one is difficult. If you've never mixed and rolled out pate sucree (sweet and buttery pie crust dough) before, do not expect perfection on the first try... or second... and maybe the third.

The good news is that you really can't "fail"... you may just find yourself with a lot of chocolate crust cookies (#firstworldproblems).

Not ready for varsity, but you still want to play? Skip the weaving process and roll out a basic, flat crust. It will still taste amazing, and it will save you a lot of time and potentially some frustration.

Yield: One quarter sheet pan (9"x13") - enough for one Raspberry Midnight recipe

    Pie dough mise en place
  • All Purpose Flour: 300g (2.5 Cups)
  • Cold Butter: 225g (1 Cup / 2 Sticks)
  • Cold Egg Yolks: 2 Count
  • Ice Water: 60g (0.25 Cup)
  • Confectioner's Sugar: 90g (0.75 Cup)
  • Cocoa Powder - 40g (0.5 Cup)
  • Kosher Salt - 6g (1.0 Tsp)

Mixing Directions:
Butter pieces in flour for pie dough
Butter cut into pie dough
Pie dough with water and egg added
  1. Combine the flour, confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl
  2. Remove the butter from the refrigerator
  3. Cut the butter into 16 tablespoon sized pieces (use those helpful measuring lines on the sticks)
  4. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter (i.e. chop it) into the dough until all of the butter has been broken down into pea-sized chunks. The butter should still be firm. The dough should still be dry
  5. Beat the egg together with the ice water and pour it over the dry flour and butter mixture
  6. Using the blade of a spatula, cut into the dough, working to incorporate the water and egg with the flour without melting the butter. The dough should appear shaggy and just stick together into small balls when pressed
  7. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water one tablespoon at a time. Adding too much water will make for a less flaky dough (but it will be easier to work with)
  8. Split the dough into two equal portions (in the shape you ultimately plan to roll out - for the Raspberry Midnight, a rectangle) and wrap tightly in plastic wrap
  9. Place the dough in the refrigerator to rest and cool for at least 30 minutes, but ideally over night

Rolling Directions

    Pie crust rolling and weaving mise en place
  1. Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm for a couple of minutes
  2. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper
  3. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and place a second sheet of parchment on top. You will be rolling the dough sandwiched between parchment to prevent it from sticking
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough starting from the center and pressing down and out towards the edges. For the Raspberry Midnight, you are trying to roll out a rectangle that is at least 11"x15", two inches longer in each dimension than a quarter sheet pan (9"x13")
  5. Continue to roll the dough in this manner, starting from the center and rolling outwards. Rotate the dough 90 degree after two to three rolls in one direction (if you are rolling a shape other than a rectangle for a different recipe, such as a circular pie crust, rotate the dough 30 to 45 degrees after two or three rolls in one direction)
  6. Check frequently to ensure that the dough is not sticking to the parchment (both the top and bottom pieces). You can dust the dough with additional flour to reduce sticking, but use a light hand. Adding too much flour will result in a denser dough. If the dough becomes very sticky, return it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes before continuing
  7. Try to roll out the dough in as few rolls as possible to avoid developing and aligning gluten bonds (which will make the crust chewy, not flaky) and to avoid blending in the butter
  8. If you do not plan to weave the crust, continue to roll the dough to 1/8th of an inch thickness. If you are planning to make a woven dough, continue to roll the dough until you reach 1/16th of an inch thickness. The process of weaving will double the final thickness back to 1/8th of an inch
  9. Place the rolled dough back in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before attempting the weaving process
  10. Repeat the same process for your second ball of dough

Weaving Directions

*Chef's Note: Time to roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath and get your game face on! But before you start, a few words of advice...
  • Work in stages. Weave no more than 4-5 strips of dough at a time. Then put everything back into the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes
  • Work in a cool space. Do not work near a hot oven. Get the A/C blasting
  • Work away from damp surfaces or sources of water, like your kitchen sink. A little stray moisture on your dough can ruin things
  1. Preparation Stage: Measuring and Cutting Dough Strips
    1. Lay the first sheet of dough on a clean, cool surface (keep the other sheet in the refrigerator). If you have a large cutting board that can be quickly moved in and out of the refrigerator, that would be best
    2. Measuring and scoring the pie crust
    3. Remove the top sheet of parchment, but keep the bottom sheet in place (to make it easier to move the dough in and out of the refrigerator as necessary)
    4. With a yardstick, measure 1/2" increments along the top and bottom sides of the dough (the long sides of the rectangle), scoring the dough with your chef's knife. Make sure that you start measuring from the same side of the dough on both the top and bottom, otherwise you will not have straight strips
    5. Cutting the pie crust into strips for weaving
    6. Resting the yardstick on the dough, connect the score marks at the top and bottom of the dough. Using your chef's knife (or a pizza cutter), gently cut the dough from top to bottom. Try not to cut the parchment paper. You should cut at least 26 short strips
    7. Put the cut strips back into the refrigerator and repeat the process with the second sheet of dough, this time scoring the right and left sides of the dough (the short sides). You should cut at least 18 long strips

  2. Weaving Stage: Reading and Executing a Design
  3. Pie crust weaving pattern
      Weaving the pie crustWeaving the pie crust
    1. This pattern requires 19 long horizontal row strips and 26 shorter vertical column strips
    2. Each grey box in the pattern represents an area where the longer horizontal strip of dough is on top of the shorter vertical strip of dough. The white boxes represent the opposite. Each white box represents an area where the shorter vertical strips of dough are on top
    3. Starting at the left with column one, look down at each row. Rows 1, 7, 13, and 19 are grey. These four sections are areas where the longer horizontal strips should be on top
    4. Pull back the horizontal strips of dough in rows 1, 7, 13 and 19 from right to left
    5. Remove one of the shorter vertical strips of dough from the refrigerator and lay it down in the column one position
    6. Return the longer horizontal strips of dough in rows 1, 7, 13 and 19 from left to right, laying it down from left to right
    7. Repeat the process for column two. This time, pull back the longer horizontal strips of dough in rows 2, 6, 8, 12, 14 and 18 from right to left
    8. Remove one of the shorter vertical strips of dough from the refrigerator and lay it down in the column two position. Make sure that the dough strip fits tightly against the previous column to prevent any holes or gaps in the final crust
    9. Return the longer horizontal strips of dough in rows 2, 6, 8,12, 14 and 19, laying it down from left to right
    10. Repeat the process for all of the remaining columns
    11. Do no attempt to weave more than 4-5 columns at a time before returning everything to the refrigerator, covered lightly in plastic wrap to keep the dough moist. The dough will heat up quickly and will become sticky as you work with it
    12. When every column has been woven, return the crust to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using

Finished chocolate pate sucree pie crust

Raspberry Curd:
"Where have all the berries gone?"

I was spoiled as a child. While I didn't grow up on what you would necessarily call a farm, we did have apple trees, cherry trees, plum trees, blueberry bushes and, yes, raspberries. You could literally stand in one spot among the raspberry bushes and fill a gallon container with berries. Knowing the retail value of that container in a NYC grocery store... makes me just a little ill.

After you try this Raspberry Curd, you will want to spread it on everything. Fortunately, it's easy to make in large quantities to satisfy your fiercest binging tendencies. Make a batch for the Raspberry Midnight, or pour some over vanilla ice cream along with melted peanut butter and chocolate sauce (you'll thank me for that recommendation). 

750g - enough for one Raspberry Midnight recipe or a weekend alone on the couch

Raspberry Curd mise en place
  • Fresh Raspberries: 18oz whole berries
    •  Yield 400g (1.75 Cups) of juice
  • Granulated Sugar: 300g (1.5 Cups)
  • Egg yolks - 8 count
  • Butter: 112g (0.5 Cup / 1 Stick)
  • Kosher Salt: 6g (1.0 Tsp)
*Chef's note: The juice yield on raspberries should not vary significantly, but if you have a lot more or less than indicated here, adjust accordingly to play it safe. It's the final amount of juice that is important

Raspberries juiced in a mesh sieve Raspberry juice combined with butter, eggs and sugar Heating the Raspberry Curd
  1. In a mixing bowl, mash the fresh raspberries with a fork until no whole berries remain
  2. Transfer the mashed raspberries in a mesh sieve, saving all of the juice. Work the raspberries with the back of a spatula, squeezing the juice from the seeds and pulp. This process can be done in several small batches. Discard the seeds and pulp 
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove the butter from the heat immediately when melted. You do not want it to be hot
  4. Add the sugar to the melted butter and stir by hand until well combined
  5. Beat the egg yolks. Make sure the butter and sugar mixture is not hot. Pour the egg yolks over the butter and sugar mixture in a steady stream while stirring. Stir until the eggs, butter and sugar are well combined
  6. Add the raspberry juice and stir until well combined 
  7. Return the saucepan to the stove over low heat, stirring frequently and gently scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan using a heat-resistant spatula
  8. Heat the mixture until it reaches 170 degrees fahrenheit - approximately 15 minutes. The mixture should not reach the point where it begins to bubble
  9. Remove the curd from the heat, continuing to stir for a 2-3 minutes as the mixture cools 
  10. Once the mixture has cooled (approximately 30 minutes), transfer it to the refrigerator in an airtight container. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools further
*Chef's note: Many recipes will recommend passing the cooked curd through a sieve to strain out any bits of egg that have curdled.  Psst... if you have bits of egg in your curd, you heated it too quickly or for too long. Use a sieve if you must, but reduce the cooking temperature next time. Eggs almost always want to be cooked low and slow

- Putting it Together - 

  • Chewy Graham Cake - One recipe yielding one quarter sheet pan (9"x13")
  • Raspberry Curd - One recipe yielding 750g
  • Woven lattice chocolate pate sucree - One recipe yielding one quarter sheet pan (9"x13")
  • Flour - 30g (0.25 Cups)
  • Dark Chocolate - 0.5 cups roughly chopped
  • Egg - 1 count
  • Water - 1 Tbls

Egg wash for chocolate pie crust
    Raspberry curd in baked pie crust Baked raspberry curd with chocolate pieces Assembled Raspberry Midnight in parchment Assembled Raspberry Midnight unmolded
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Remove the woven lattice chocolate pate sucree from the refrigerator
  3. Line a quarter sheet pan (9"x13") with parchment paper
  4. When the pate sucree sheet is somewhat pliable, place it in the sheet pan, gently pushing the crust up against the sides and into the corners of the pan. Do not press down hard as this will prevent the dough from becoming flaky and will also ruin the presentation
  5. Examine the crust for any large holes in the lattice work. If there are holes, gently pinch the dough together at these spots
  6. Beat the egg with one tablespoon water. Using a pastry brush, coat the entire crust with the egg wash. The egg wash will help seal the dough
  7. Par-bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, rotating the sheet pan 180 degrees after 10 minutes. The par-baked crust should puff and appear shiny, but it should show no signs of discoloration
  8. While the crust is par-baking, combine the raspberry curd with the flour using a whisk
  9. Once the crust has par-baked and cooled, pour the raspberry curd mixture into the center of the crust. Using a spatula, spread the curd mixture from the center towards the edges and corners of the crust. The volume of curd should barely reach the top of the crust lined sheet pan
  10. Evenly spread the chopped chocolate over the top of the curd mixture. Feel free to use more or less according to taste (less... yeah right!)
  11. Put the raspberry curd-filled crust back into the oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheet pan after 10 minutes. The raspberry curd is done when it barely giggles in the center when shaken. The edges should show no signs of discoloration or burning
  12. Allow the baked raspberry curd to cool complete - approximately one hour
  13. With the baked raspberry curd still in the sheet pan, place the chewy graham cake on top. Push the cake down gently, focusing on the sides and corners so there is a solid seal between the layers
  14. Cover the graham cake with a sheet of parchment paper and place a heavy cutting board on top of the entire dish (you can use another sheet pan with soup cans as weights)
  15. Move the assembled Raspberry Midnight to the refrigerator and let it set for four hours, but ideally overnight
  16. Remove the set Raspberry Midnight from the refrigerator. Flip the entire pan upside down, so the chewy graham cake layer is now on the bottom
  17. Gently lift the sheet pan off of baked raspberry curd and remove the parchment paper. The crust should not stick to the pan 
  18. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the Raspberry Midnight into 24 pieces

- The Finished Product -

Uncut Raspberry Midnight

Raspberry Midnight cross section

Rows of individual Raspberry Midnights

Rows of individual Raspberry Midnights

Raspberry Midnight close up

Stacked Raspberry Midnights

Stacked Raspberry Midnights

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