There’s no better reason to cook up a decadent chocolate dessert than Valentine’s Day and there’s no better pastry chef for the job than Emily Luchetti. As Chief Pastry Officer of the Big Night Restaurant Group (the lovely ladies behind some of our favorite restaurants, Marlowe, The Cavalier, and Park Tavern) Luchetti is in charge of crafting classic desserts with an elevated twist. Think ice cream sandwiches with oatmeal cookies and mocha and cardamom ice cream and German chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and toasted coconut. With over twenty years of experience and four books under her apron, Luchetti, who is a self-taught pastry chef and on the James Beard Foundation Board of Trustees, is a master of all things sweet. We asked Luchetti to share the hautest V-day dessert and she’s pulled out all the stops! Here’s our exclusive recipe for her scrumptious chocolate pound cake with toasted bread crumb ice cream and rich chocolate sauce.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 inch square pan.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder onto a piece of parchment paper or into a bowl. Add the salt and set aside.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and water and set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with the milk mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing well after each addition.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
- To serve, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, invert a platter on top of the pan, and then invert the plate and pan together. Lift off the pan.
Toasted Bread Crumb Ice Cream
Serves 8 ish
¼ to ½ loaf of levain bread
1, 28 ounce container super premium vanilla ice cream (Haagan Dazs, Ben and Jerry’s)
- Cut levain bread in to 1” inch pieces.
- Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake 350 degrees on a baking sheet in single layer until toasted and browned.
- Cool and then grind in food processor until medium fine crumbs. Don’t want big pieces but you also don’t want dust.
- Soften ice cream slightly. Put into a bowl, add 1 cup bread crumbs and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. (You can also do this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)
- Put in a container and freeze until hard. Use extra bread crumbs to sprinkle on top when serving.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup heavy whipping cream
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.
- Let stand for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth.
- Serve the sauce warm or cover and refrigerate for later use.
Photo Credit: Eric Wolfinger