Join Hollywood's stars by enjoying some of the richest fudge ever
So you wont be taking home a gold statue on Sunday? At least you can sample the same snack the stars will enjoy. (Fotolia / February 26, 2014)
Some attending will be carrying golden statuettes they've just received. Many more will comfort themselves with the knowledge that, in true words frequently heard on the occasion, "it's an honor just to be nominated." Either way, we aim to add to the spirit of both celebration and comfort with a wide range of treats that this year include such specialties as carrot-orange gazpacho, fresh-baked mini pretzels, and buttermilk-marinated fried chicken with grits.
But, year in and year out, one particular item we serve at the never fails to excite some of Hollywood's biggest names: our rich bittersweet chocolate fudge. What first draws their attention is the way we serve it: We cut the fudge into perfect miniature profiles of the familiar award statue, and then top gild with a layer of edible gold dust. That alone makes the fudge something everybody at the party wants, and some attendees ask for extra pieces to bring home to their children. We're happy to oblige.
Of course, the real proof of this pudding, or fudge, is in the eating. And that's where the recipe originally developed for us by former longtime Spago executive pastry chef Sherry Yard wins the award for best performance in a dessert role.
Her approach, which I'm happy to share here in a version that yields familiar squares of fudge, starts with the best-quality bittersweet chocolate you can find--a kind you would love if you just ate it right out of the wrapper. Egg yolks add extra richness. So do heavy cream and condensed milk. The latter also adds a hint of caramelized sweetness, and the flavor becomes even more complex and satisfying thanks to a splash of good bourbon (we use Jack Daniels).
Once blended, the fudge mixture is poured into a foil-lined pan. (For the Governors Ball, we also include a crumb-crust base, like you'd prepare for a cheesecake, to give the slender statuettes more stability.)
Once the fudge has chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, it's ready to cut and serve. For you at home, watching the telecast this coming Sunday, all that means is using a palette knife or table knife to form simple squares. And it's no matter that your fudge won't be dusted with gold. One bite, and you'll feel like a winner.
HOLLYWOOD CELEBRATION FUDGE
Makes 16 servings
1 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1-3/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon (optional)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
Put the chocolate in a microwave-proof mixing bowl. Put the bowl in a microwave oven, set the power at 50 percent, and microwave the chocolate for 1 minute. Using a heatproof pad, remove the bowl and, with a rubber spatula, stir the chocolate. If it's not melted completely, repeat the process until the chocolate is smoothly melted. Scrape the melted chocolate into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade.
Fit the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment; or attach the beaters to a hand-held electric mixer. Put the egg yolks in the stand mixer bowl or a clean mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until they look light and pale yellow, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
Continue beating the egg yolks on high speed. Pour the hot sugar syrup into the yolks and continue whisking for 30 seconds.
Turn on the food processor and, through the feed tube, pour in the egg yolk mixture, scraping the last of the yolks out of the bowl with a clean rubber spatula. Stop the processor and scrape down the side of its work bowl.
Turn on the processor again and, through the feed tube, pour in the condensed milk; then the bourbon; and finally the cream. As soon as the mixture is thoroughly blended, stop the machine again and scrape down the side of the bowl, pulsing briefly to incorporate any ingredients from the side that have not yet mixed in.
Pour the fudge mixture into the foil-lined baking pan. Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap, not touching the fudge. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until solid.
To serve, carefully use the sides of the foil to lift out the square of fudge. With a large, sharp knife, make 3 equally spaced cuts across the square, and then 3 equally spaced cuts perpendicular to the first ones, to form 16 squares. Use a small palette knife, spatula, or table knife to help lift the squares from the foil, transferring them to a serving platter. Serve while still chilled.
(c) 2014 WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.