PRINCE, ELGAR, & DARK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL COCKAIGNE SAUCE
Updated: May 1, 2019
What connects "Purple Rain" & "Cockaigne", seriously?
Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce (Cockaigne) Sundae with Ube & Pandan
Welcome to my first post on “Rocking in the Bach House,” where food, music and culture collide. Today, let’s make a Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce (Cockaigne) Sundae with Ube and Pandan. Topped with hazelnuts, whipped cream, and a Luxardo cherry, it’s a mashup between Asian and Italian, and a lovers of Nutella.
Obsessed with food and music, I can mark the seasons of my wonderful life when I first tasted or heard something. The first time I had a dark chocolate sundae was as a child in Indiana, going through the McDonald’s drive through and getting one of their chocolate sundaes. Like most people, the evocation of a blissful childhood somehow centers on the ritual of a fast food-the drive thru, rolling the window and feeling the first flush of air, yelling into an intercom fit for a 60’s recording studio, and lustfully clinging to the packaged food once it arrived.
Trying to scrape the remains of chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream with a spoon, my love didn’t end. I was literally raised on chocolate milk. I remember being given my father’s beer stein filled to the brim with chocolate milk, partially because I loved it and because it shut me up.
Many years later as a young adult, I first made the Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce Cockaigne from the ubiquitous, “Joy of Cooking.”
Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce (Cockaigne) with Ube and Pandan
Prince: “Purple Rain”
Elgar: Cockaigne Overture (In London Town)
The Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce Cockaigne is fudgy but not too toothy. It’s approximately about 30 % thicker than a fudge caramel sauce (the homemade kind, obviously I'm super precise here) but has enough tooth and bite when it hits the ice cream that gives it enough satisfactory, adult body without the corn syrup. I used Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips because it’s a favorite in my household.
Ube ice cream, made from the purple sweet potato, ube, is an Instagram favorite. I was surprised at how much it exploded globally, but realized it was because I grew up with it. It’s new found allure was akin to watching people fawn over Cheerios. Pandan is a common ingredient in Asian and Southeast Asian deserts. Tasting like a more complex vanilla with hints of coconut, without the cloying sweetness, it lends a very elegant finish to dairy, rice dishes, and anything that can be infused in lieu of the body of a vanilla bean. Magnolia Brand Ice Cream is the best home brand on the market.
Luxardo Cherries, are the adult version of maraschino cherries. A luscious shade of burgundy, it’s a luxurious addition to sundaes and drinks and basically can scale up anything that's too pedantic.
According to Epicurious,
“Founded in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo, an Italian consul in that region, the company made its name with a cherry liqueur called Maraschino, which Girolamo based on a medieval spirit. The liqueur was made from sour Marasca cherries (grown in the sandy soil of Croatia) and made by distilling the fruit's leaves, stems, pits, and skins. (It's those pits, by the way, that give the liqueur its characteristic nutty background flavor, which is often mistaken for almonds.) In 1905, the distillery started selling cherries candied in a syrup of Marasca cherry juice and sugar, thus creating the original Maraschino cherry.”
To top it all off, what’s a sundae without nuts and whipped cream? Mine’s topped with toasted hazelnuts (a nod to Gianduja or Nutella) and normal whipped cream from a can.
Based on my informal analysis of composers, musicians, writers and artists from yore and yonder, things haven’t changed that much. The human condition transcends time and space. I’m not quite sure why it lends itself to an often hedonistic or Bacchanalian attitude, but oftentimes, artists are told to plunge to the depths of human feeling, come out the other end, and tell everyone what they saw, unscathed. I’d like to think that explains why so many love the finer things in food. Same approach, different medium.
Prince: “Purple Rain”
Duh. Ube Ice cream. Where else do you find a naturally neon purple food that tastes amazing? It’s a subtle flavor, which lingers with a sweet carb coating on your tongue, like the dairy richness of a really good brioche. And in case you need a refresher (which we all do), here it is. YOUR WELCOME!
Elgar: “Cockaigne Overture (In London Town)” (Go to 0:43- The intro is kind of boring).
According to Wikipedia,
Cockaigne or Cockayne /kɒˈkeɪn/ is a land of plenty in medieval myth, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist. Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce (Cockaigne). Sounds like marketing to me.
Written in 1901, it’s fun, happy, march music with a lush command of the full dynamic and sonic range of the orchestra, especially brass and the strings (go high cellos!).
Listen to Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture (In London Town), crack open a glass of red wine, write your superhero screenplay (flashbacks!), laugh with family, or just smile at the moment of beauty you just created.
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DARK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SAUCE COCKAIGNE
from the "Joy of Cooking"
Place in small heavy saucepan, 1 cup of sugar. Pour evenly over the top, 1/4 cup of water. Set over medium-high heat and swirl the saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Avoid letting the syrup boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to high, cover the saucepan tightly, and boil the syrup for 2 minutes. Uncover the saucepan and continue to boil the syrup until it darkens around the edges. Gently swirl the pan by the handle until the syrup turns a deep amber and begins to smoke. Remove from the heat and add 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces. Gently beat until the butter is incorporated. Stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Add 3 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir until melted. If the sauce becomes lumpy, set the pan over low heat and stir until smooth. Turn off the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. It can be refrigerated for up to a month and gently reheat over low heat. Enjoy!