A Recipe for Chocolate Bliss

A New York bakery serves up its Buddhist roots with this delectable Lotus in Mud chocolate cake recipe.

The Greyston Bakery opened in 1982 when Roshi Bernard Glassman and the Zen Community of New York discovered baking as a way to practice mindfulness, hard work, and service--three basic tenets of Zen Buddhism. The staff began each day with a 5 am meditation followed by hours of baking. 
 
Today, the bakery employs 60 mostly local residents of Yonkers, New York, many of whom identify Christianity and Islam as their spiritual home. Its continued sweet success is guided by the values of compassion and service in the many faiths that have passed through its doors.
 
This is by far Greyston’s most intense chocolate dessert. A dense chocolate base filled with ganache, the buttercream or whipped cream garnish is meant to signify the way a lotus flower can grow up through muddy waters.

Say a word of gratitude for the sweetness in your life before diving in, take small bites, and have some milk or tea nearby to wash it all down.

Adapted and excerpted from "The Greyston Bakery Cookbook" by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan (Rodale Books, 2007).
 
Lotus in Mud Cake Recipe
Makes one 10” cake, about 16 slim servings   FOR THE SHELL 13⁄4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (about 32 wafers, crushed) 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted   FOR THE FILLING 1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter 7 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate 3 whole eggs, separated 1⁄3 cup sugar 1⁄4 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 egg whites 1⁄4 teaspoon salt prepare the shell   Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, stir together the wafer crumbs and butter and combine well. Pat the mixture onto the bottom and 1" up the sides of a 10" round springform pan. Chill for 30 minutes.   prepare the filling In the top of a double boiler or metal bowl set over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring until smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.   In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the egg yolks and sugar for 3 minutes, or until thick and pale yellow.   Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks, beating to combine. Add the cream and vanilla and continue mixing for 3 minutes, or until well combined. Set aside.   In a medium bowl, whisk the 5 egg whites with the salt until they are frothy but not holding peaks. Pour the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and stir gently to combine.   Pour the batter into the prepared shell. (If there are a lot of air bubbles in the filling, gently tap the bottom of the filled pan against a countertop covered with a dish towel until some of the bubbles are released.) Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is set.   Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Release and remove the sides.

serving suggestion: Garnish with a dollop of softly whipped cream and white or dark chocolate curls.
 
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