This week was beautiful spring weather: both sunny and warm and delightful; while also having days of snow and cold and icky weather. It was literally Colorado springtime. With the Bronocos out of the Superbowl, we weren’t keen on watching the puppybowl (because Kodiak is the only dog in our lives), so this left us a lot of time to explore our country, Madagascar!
THE DINNER: From the island country of Bahrain to the island country of Madagascar, we ventured to the south this week in search of good eats. Madagascar immediately conjures the words “vanilla” to flash in neon across my brain. The nation is known best for their perfect, incandescent and exotic Vanilla beans and extract. In part, this is Madagascar’s highest grossing export. Thank the Lord for that.
The country’s food is influenced by all of its inhabitants rulers over the course of its history: particularly Portuguese and French cuisine and culture. We love, love, LOVE French and Portuguese food around the Brovsky house, so this one was highly anticipated. Something we love more than that is dessert—and since Madagascar is known for its vanilla, we planned on going that route for our meal.
We picked a French recipe, that had to be translated both into English AND THEN from Metric to standard, for a cake that is called Gâteau magique à la vanille (Magic Cream Cake). Upon first glance it seems like a standard cake, but once we were elbow deep in the custard we realized this is very much like a flan or cheesecake. It contains hardly any flour and is basically custard that is baked till barely set and still wiggly (much like a flan) and then refrigerated overnight and served cold (much like a cheesecake). You can top this bad boy with fruit compote or with chocolate gauche… I for one will never pass up the trip to chocolate heaven, so that was my personal preference. Good thing my family share that notion. We pulled a basic gauche recipe from the always-on-point Mrs. Martha Stewart.
Gâteau magique à la vanille (Magic Cream Cake) Recipe: http://www.recetteshanane.com/article-gateau-magique-a-la-vanille-118615627.html
Chocolate Gauche Recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/865175/ganache
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this Dessert!
Baking is something that we have an affinity for in Brovskyland. Both my mom and I happen to really enjoy baking, so I had to adjust for bias on this country. We realize that not everyone will find this recipe as easy to tackle as we did. There’s the element of metric to standard conversions (which I already noted) as well as the French to English translation which leaves quite a lot to be desired. Baking is hard enough for some people, let alone when the recipe isn’t completely clear—which happens a lot when you translate. So, all things considered, we thought it was about a one star and in reality we realize it’s more like a two or three for most people. Don’t be scared, just take your time and enjoy it. All baking (like French cooking in general) is about patience.
Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dessert.
We went with the chocolate gauche, but rest assured, it would taste amazing with any sort of fruit compote also… we were tossing around the idea that raspberry would be delightful. It’s hard not to get all misty eyed about cake. Everyone likes cake. It’s equally hard to not get caught up in the love of all things vanilla and custard and cream pie/cake. I would love nothing more than to curl up and eat my weight in this cake. Forever. Previously, for those that know me, it’s no surprise that my preferred way to leave this world would be death by chocolate… but now we have serious contender for that prize. I would gladly endure death by Magic Cream Cake with a smile on my face. It was everything it should have been: delicate, fluffy, velvety, vanilla laced slice of heaven. Please forgive me if I don’t share.
When we arise from our sugar comas, we will find ourselves in week #39, which brings us to the mountain nation of Nepal. We joke that Kodiak will need to be our llama for the trek through the culinary world of the mystics.
Qu’ils mangent de la brioche, mes chéris!
(Let them eat cake, my dears!….as long as it’s Gâteau magique à la vanille, that is…)
– L & K