Cook Naked: La Bete Noire

2 Sep

Chez Shea: Dessert {me}

Bond: Who doesn’t love that racing heart, wobbly-knee feeling you get tiptoeing into a dark basement, at the mouth of a mysterious cave, or just inside the dungeon door? The dark calls to us and frightens us at the same time. Thanks to a recipe Kelly Jamieson sent to me, we take a journey to the dark side this week, stir the dark beast. Today we’re baking la bête noir — a fitting suggestion from a lady who explores the shadows of the soul with such creativity and beauty in her books.

This dish, she drips sin. Er…the cake, not Kelly. You don’t drip sin do you, Kelly?

Kelly: Well, I do like to drip a little sin into my stories, also a little sweet, and a little heat. Don’t we all have a dark beast inside us at times that needs to be tamed into submission? Or sometimes the dark beast needs a submissive to tame. In my book Power Struggle, Tori knows the dark beast inside her, but Dev is just learning about the dark beast inside him. Hey, you should meet Dev. I think he could learn a lot from you. Er…he doesn’t know how to cook. *winks*

Bond: I think I could show Dev a thing or two he might like to try out on Tori. I admire him — for being willing to grow with his lover– and her for knowing who she is. How can you not admire a woman who knows what she likes and won’t settle for less?

Now, Kelly likes to break rules. A cake with no flour, this must break some culinary rule. And like love on the dark side this dish relies on a bittersweet balance. We don’t want syrupy sweet, but sweet with a bite — romance with an edge. This tempts the tongue and the imagination.

Kelly: Kind of like the balance between pleasure and pain, hmmm?

And yes I do like to break the rules from time to time!

Bond:
Hmmmm…

Kelly: Master Bond? Still with us?

Bond: Sorry, my mind runs away with me. Ahem. Where were we?

Kelly: Ingredients?

Bond: We begin with the ingredient list Kelly brought. As always, you can’t take measurements as gospel. Use your senses to guide you as you prepare.

The list is short and simple. Buy organic and buy quality. If you are going to sin, sin extravagantly. Don’t you think, Kelly?

Kelly: Oh my, yes! If you’re going to be bad, you might as well make it good. I’m sure this cake is sinful, so let’s make it totally worth it!

Bond: 3 eggs plus one yolk, 9 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cocao), 1 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter. 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt.

I will put Kelly to work with the greasing, sugaring , and preheating while I prepare the batter.

Kelly: I like to grease the pan with my bare hands so I can feel the butter soften and melt under my fingertips. Is that okay?

Bond: Er… *Watching butter squish through Kelly’s fingers* Um.. Where were we? *Looking around* Syrup!

So we start by making a sweet syrup, pour half cup water in the sauce pan, add sugar, salt, vanilla, add a couple more tablespoons of water there as it heats to a boil. We want nice clear syrup, the sugar dissolving like a lover’s will under the heat of desire.

Now that Kelly has greased and sugared the pan, we put her to work breaking the chocolate to pieces in a big mixing bowl.

Kelly: This chocolate is so dark and rich. Can I taste a tiny piece?

Bond: Please do. I encourage everyone to taste as they go. *smile*

Kelly: Mmm. Not sweet. Dark. Decadent. Definitely sinful.

Bond: *Small bow* Thank you.

While she is busy we simmer the syrup. This is how flavor finds its shape. You take her to the boiling point and then you back off, let her hover, bubbling at the edge without going over. Um, the syrup hovers — not Kelly.

The timing is crucial. You have to learn when is too long and when is not long enough. You hear it in the tone, the soft hiss and murmur the liquids make.

What do you think , Kelly? Lean close, can you hear? Is she ready?

Kelly: Um…is who ready? *blinking* Oh, the sauce. Um. Yes. Bubbling at the edge. Hovering at the edge and not going over…like the sweetest torture…oh. The sauce. Yes I think she…er…it’s ready.

Bond: *chuckling* Now, I tip the syrup, drizzle it over the chocolate bits and Kelly uses the wire whisk too– What is the word we want? Beating? Beating the batter?

Kelly: I’m whipping it. *blinks innocently*

Bond: You whip up a thick black sauce — liquid sin. The sight, the scent so rich it makes your tongue twirl, tie itself in a knot.

Kelly: Er…*licking lips*…yes. Now we have to add the butter, in small pieces, about the size of a pat.

Bond: Pats? *wicked grin* I like patting. I will pat anything you wish. You want hand-sized pats or finger-sized pats? *wiggling eyebrows*

Kelly: Er, not that kind of pat. A piece of butter about the size of a tablespoon. Oh my goodness, it’s hot in here. See how the butter melts into the darkness as we stir it up.

Bond: This heat in the kitchen is a good thing, Kelly. The heat ensures all ingredients are warmed up and ready to go when we are ready to use them.

Now, while we have been cooking the eggs were sitting out, coming to temperature. We don’t want chilly eggs, they won’t be pliant enough to blend smoothly into the warm syrup.

Whip briskly, Kelly. Whipping action is all in the wrist action, fluid, supple strokes.

Kelly: Yes. Though I think you have much more practice at whipping than I do.

Bond: You know she is whipped enough when everything has a nice uniform color, no stripes. For the dark beast, we want thick, glistening black batter. When you inhale you should be able to taste sin pooling on your tongue. We can’t taste this with raw egg in the batter, but you breathe in the taste of this one. Like a lover it will tell you when it’s ready.

Here, Kelly, you pour the batter in the pan and I will use the spatula to scoop and smooth. Watch my technique with the spatula. It’s much like tennis, a quick swipe with the forehand and a slow return stroke.

Kelly: You’re so good at that. Do it again…yes, wonderful…technique.

Bond: Put your tongue back in your mouth, Kelly.

Bake this around 45 minutes to an hour until it has a uniform jiggle, no one part jiggles more than the other. Hmm. You have to appreciate a cake with jiggle.

Kelly: Kelly smiles

Bond: And when you take her from the oven you have perfection. You can tell she is ready by the soft ripe texture, the fragrance has a decadent zest. She is a moist, dark jewel ready to be tasted. You look at her and you want to press your lips to her glistening skin and savor her warmth.

Now the dictionary definition of bête noire says it is repellent, the thing you least want. I ask you, when you sink your fork into this, let her dissolve on your tongue, are you repelled?

Kelly: *gazing raptly at Bond* No. Not at all.

Bond: So now you have met Kelly and la bête noir. Tell me she doesn’t make you crave a little dip into the dark side. Kelly, not the cake. You read Kelly’s books and you will see what I mean.

What do you think, Kelly? You want a dip? Maybe we go skinny dipping.

Kelly: You are tempting me to be a bad girl. So tempting.*smiles* I’m not sure my husband will approve of me cooking naked with you, never mind skinny dipping!

Bond:
So, call him on the phone, invite him to join us. What’s that thing you say? The more the merrier, yes? I will teach him things to do with cake. I think he will love our dark beast.

Ah, Kelly’s mouth is open but no words come out. Until next time, mes amis, right now I have to call Kelly’s husband.

~Bond

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can visit Kelly at her blog.
You can learn more about Tori and Dev in Power Struggle.

And just in case Kelly’s husband pays us a visit, Bond isn’t real and all participants in Cook Naked are clothed. See the link in the blog menu above for more details.

6 Responses to “Cook Naked: La Bete Noire”

  1. Brandi Evans September 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    LOOOOOOVE THIS!!!! 🙂

  2. Lauren Fraser September 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Mmm, gotta love when Bond gets in the kitchen.

    Love the disclosure at the bottom. LOL I’m sure Kelly’s husband was thrilled no clothes came off in the making of this dessert.

  3. Amity September 4, 2010 at 4:15 am #

    Hi Nara;

    You’re a published writer, am I right? How could I get a copy of your book?

    Who is this Bond in your story? Of course you are promoting Kelly’s latest book, right?

    Btw, I love your narration here, that interview portion is sounds so delicious.

    Thanks for visiting my place. See you frequenting it more!

    Have a nice weekend! Tell me how I could get a copy of your book! I am soooooooo interested! Hugs Nara!!!:)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cook Naked: La Bete Noire (via ) « Nara Malone - September 2, 2010

    […] Bond: Who doesn’t love that racing heart, wobbly knee feeling you get tiptoeing into a dark basement, at the mouth of a mysterious cave, or just inside the dungeon door? The dark calls to us and frightens us at the same time. Thanks to a recipe Kelly Jamieson sent to me, we take a journey to the dark side this week, stir the dark beast. Today we're baking la bête noir — a fitting suggestion from a lady who explores the shadows of the soul with s … Read More […]

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