April: Dark chocolate disks

April: Dark chocolate disks

A few nights ago, I read my poetry for an audience for the first time in ages. It was my friend Crystal’s birthday and she hosted a beautiful open mic at COFFEED in Long Island City, Queens. These words weren’t ready for her then, so they’re my belated birthday gift to her now:

“Cracked Earth”

I met her on paper before I ever saw her face. I heard her voice on the page, her soul in serifs. Her words woke me, like letters that came to a linguist in dreams. She spoke to me. She shook my world.

I cracked the earth for her so she could breathe it better.
I watched and learned with love as she inhaled flowers and form,
exhaled truth and spiderwebs,
striking and fragile.

I carved a space in baking earth for her to rest in warmly
and profess to a patiently listening sky,
her words a geyser, and every drop counted.

I cracked the earth and she filled it with words,
every breath beautiful,
exhaled, exposed.

Photo courtesy of  Crystal Rivera

Photo courtesy of Crystal Rivera

Other than the muse herself, the poem was inspired by Chocolate Cracked Earth, Tyler Florence’s recipe for flourless chocolate cake. I made it recently for a friend’s Passover seder and it was very well-received. I stayed very faithful to the recipe, but doubled the cook time to get the cake to set fully. The result was beautiful and the name certainly struck a chord with Crystal and me both.

After a decadent few weeks of Cracked Earth cake and Easter candy, I went ahead and rounded out the month of April with another chocolate dessert for my April Notes from the Larder recipe test.

To even call this a recipe is giving me too much credit. This is the simplest and probably most beautiful dessert I’ve ever made, and the most labor-intensive step was the sunny stroll to the store for a bar of chocolate.

Nigel Slater’s recipe is actually for dark chocolate disks with rose petals, but I improvised a bit on the toppings. I substituted the candied rose petals with crystallized ginger and candied dry fruit (pineapple, mango, and apricot). It was as simple as melting a bar of dark chocolate, spooning it onto parchment paper, and topping it with some chopped fruit, pistachios, and slivered almonds that I’d sprinkled with sugar and quickly toasted.

From there, I just let the refrigerator do its job. The preparation took all of ten minutes, and the disks were ready and waiting for us when we brought home a couple of friends after a nice dinner out. Perfection.