DEAR SOS: While dining at the Commander's Palace in New Orleans, I had a chocolate cake that can be deadly for chocoholics. I've taken the liberty of obtaining the recipe for you.
DEAR GRAHAM: Why, thank you. That's a switch. We had as much fun as you did testing and tasting this incredibly rich, but glorious chocolate cake. It's one of the best of its kind we've tested. And the Creme Anglaise . . . ahhhh. Actually, Sheba cake is a flourless fudge cake that hails from England.
COMMANDER'S PALACE CHOCOLATE
1 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
Melt chocolate in double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl over simmering water until warm and lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk until cool, about 1 minute.
Cream butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Fold in cooled melted chocolate, then egg yolks.
Beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at time, until meringue forms stiff peaks. Fold meringue into chocolate mixture. Pour into buttered 9-inch springform pan.
Sprinkle chopped pecans over top and press lightly into chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Remove sides of springform, cut into slices and serve with Creme Anglaise. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
Combine cream, sugar and vanilla bean in medium saucepan. Bring to boiling point, then remove from heat.
Beat egg yolks and add small amount of cream mixture, blending well. Add to remaining cream mixture and cook over low heat 1 minute. Do not boil. Cool, then chill. Remove vanilla bean before serving. Makes 2 1/4 cups.
DEAR SOS: Would you reprint the recipe for a Triple Bean Bake using three types of beans in a brown sugar-mustard mixture? It was great.
DEAR JULIE: We agree. The beans make a terrific accompaniment to barbecue meats for summer picnics.
TRIPLE BEAN BAKE
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (1-pound) can pork and beans in tomato sauce
1 (1-pound) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen lima beans, thawed
1/2 cup catsup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups (6-ounces) shredded Provolone or Jack cheese
Saute onion and celery in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 3 types of beans, catsup, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, garlic powder and 1 cup cheese. Pour into 2-quart casserole.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Let stand 5 minutes to allow cheese to melt. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
DEAR SOS: I have made Santa Fe Railroad French Toast from your section enough times so that I thought I would never forget the recipe, but guess what? I forgot.
My kids have suddenly revived their interest in French toast and I have gone through all my files again and again but can't find the recipe. Can you help?
DEAR DONNA: Guess what? You've also revived our interest in Santa Fe Railroad French Toast, which is a puffy type finished off in the oven.
The nice thing about the toast is that you can prepare it ahead for a brunch party and finish it off in the oven when ready to serve.
The toast was served on the Santa Fe Railroad for many years before its disappearance from the scene. Pete Semerenko, a former conductor tipped us off to the secret of soaking the bread overnight for convenience, but suggested that two hours was long enough to do the proper job. "The real secret is using whipping cream, not half and half, in the batter," Semerenko added.
SANTA FE RAILROAD FRENCH TOAST
5 slices day-old unsliced firm white or French bread, cut 3/4-inch thick
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cut bread slices diagonally in halves. Beat eggs with cream, vanilla and salt until light. Dip bread into mixture and let soak at least 2 hours.
Melt shortening in pan to 1-inch depth and heat to 450 degrees. Add 3 or 4 bread triangles, or enough slices to fit pan without crowding. Fry until edges turn golden brown. Turn to cook other side just until edges brown. Remove and place on oven rack over pan.
Bake at 400 degrees 3 to 5 minutes until puffy and golden. Dust with powdered sugar. Makes 5 servings.
Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.