Today is the official kick-off for our birthday season. We've got tickets for the opening day of Ratatouille. Yeah! I can't wait. A Pixar movie about an adorable rodent who wants to be a chef in Paris? I'm all over it!
Then, tomorrow, even though my birthday is a month away, my honey is sending me to the David Lebovitz ice cream class at Sur La Table. Woo hoo! I'm a major fan of his blog (really funny writing and really toothsome recipes), so it was no stretch of the imagination for my hubbie to figure out what I wanted for my birthday when I breathlessly announced that David Lebovitz was coming to town. I'll get to watch him prepare lots of delicious frozen treats and taste them, too. My sweetie did draw the line at the "I HEART David" t-shirt, but I'll take a notebook and my camera, so look for a write-up and my bad pictures on Monday.
In honor of the occasion I made a fabulous ice cream from his new book, The Perfect Scoop. Gianduja Gelato. It has intense hazelnut and chocolate flavor - think Nutella in a cone. Silky smooth and so rich that just a tiny scoop suffices. I wanted a bit more chocolate flavor to balance the hazelnuts, so I added my favorite, The World's Best Hot Fudge Sauce. Oh, heaven in a spoon!
I'll ask David if it's OK to post the recipe. If I get a green light, you'll see the recipe on Monday, along with the write-up. In the meantime, I'll give you the hot fudge sauce recipe from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts. This is fabulous stuff. A friend of mine makes it to give as gifts to her friends every Christmas. Lucky friends! This is thick and not too sweet, becoming even thicker when poured over cold ice cream. You can store it in the refrigerator for a week or two, but be wary. It's awfully tempting to just eat it with a spoon straight from the jar!
The World's Best Hot Fudge Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp sweet butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup strained Dutch-process cocoa powder (don't substitute - it must be Dutch process for the right color and flavor)
Place the cream and butter in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over moderate heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the cream just comes to a low boil. Add both sugars and stir for a few minutes until they are dissolved. (The surest test is to taste; cook and taste until you do not feel any undissolved granules in your mouth.)
Reduce the heat. Add the salt and cocoa and stir briskly with a small wire whisk until smooth. (If the sauce is not smooth - if there are any small lumps of undissolved cocoa- press against them, and stir well, with a rubber spatula.) Remove from the heat.
Serve immediately or pour into a straight-sided glass jar to cover and store in the refrigerator. To reheat slowly, spoon the sauce into the top of a double boiler over hot water, or in a heavy saucepan over the lowest heat. My favorite way to reheat is to spoon just as much as I'll use into a small microwave-safe container and heat on high for just 8-10 seconds.
The directions say that if it looks too thick on reheating, stir in a bit of hot water, adding very little at a time. But seriously, too thick??