Once again my worlds of mystery and chocolate collide. Today I welcome mystery author Lucy Burdette, aka Roberta Isleib.
Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, including AN APPETITE FOR MURDER and DEATH IN FOUR COURSES (coming in September.) Her short story, “The Itinerary” (written as Roberta Isleib), has been nominated for an Agatha award.
Eating Key West by Lucy Burdette:
While researching the Key West food critic mystery series (AKA procrastinating,) I came across this fascinating tidbit of information: The state of Massachusetts has a state bean (navy), a state dessert (Boston cream pie), a state cookie (chocolate chip), and a state donut (Boston cream.) My own home state—Connecticut—turned out to be a great disappointment, with no state foods whatsoever. No state fruit, no state vegetable, no state dessert. Nothing. Luckily Florida, the setting for my new series, came through with an official state pie. Key lime, of course.
As I’ve gone about eating my way through Key West (also in the name of research), I’ve tried any number of Key lime pies, cheesecakes, ice creams, and yogurts. Here’s one of my favorites, the fabulous pie served with a little raspberry sauce at Louie’s Backyard. (The view from the dining area is terrific too!)
But I’ve also come across some other amazing desserts. One of my favorites bears no relationship to the official state pie—the bread pudding at Santiago’s Bodega—served with blueberries and a dollop of vanilla ice cream. (I don’t even like bread pudding and I’m crazy for this dish.)
On special days, I satisfy my hankerings with one of the sweet crepes at La Creperie on Petronia Street. There, French pastry chefs Yolande and Sylvie dish up desserts like this red velvet crepe, made with raspberry chocolate ganache, English custard ice cream, and raspberry coulis.
But if I develop a yearning for sheer chocolate madness, I make my way through the streets of Old Town Key West to Michael’s Restaurant. There, as the waiter takes down your dinner preferences, he will warn you that if you’d like a chocolate lava cake for dessert, you’d best put your order in now. And we always do.
Chocolate Lava Cake (adapted from Epicurious)
6 oz. bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, diced
3 large eggs and 3 egg yolks
6 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 TBSP all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter six 3/4 cup custard or soufflé cups. Stir chocolate and butter together in heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm. With a mixer, beat the eggs, the yolks, the sugar, and salt until pale yellow and thick (about 5 minutes.) Fold the cooled chocolate into this mixture and sift the flour over the top. Fold in. Divide the batter into the prepared cups and place them on a baking sheet. Bake until set but the centers are still soft. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.