Debora Clark writes, “I was looking at an older column dated Sept. 17, 2014, 'Potluck: Old Food Columns Provide Recipes To Try.' I found a recipe online for the 2/3 cup evaporated milk along with 1/8 teaspoon pepper for the John Wayne Casserole. Are these the correct measurements for the ingredients? But the one of major interest is the Chocolate Refrigerator Cake missing the milk and salt measurements.”

Deb, sorry to answer you so late, and sorry for the computer glitch.

In one of the many moves within the Times Record building on Wheeler Avenue, the clippings of Nancy Wenderoth’s old columns from the 1980s and my 2014 column where I reprinted them have been misplaced. Maybe a reader has the original Notes from Nancy’s Cooking column featuring the Chocolate Refrigerator Cake (according to my column, the date was missing but it was written around Christmas) or my column.

I’ll publish the recipe and hopefully someone can fill in the the missing amounts.

Personally, I’m wondering if the salt is necessary. It’s the milk that’s the problem.

Chocolate Refrigerator Cake

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

3/4 cup granulated sugar

? cup milk

6 eggs, separated

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided in half

? teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 packages ladyfingers

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Shaved sweetened chocolate

Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler over hot water, not boiling.

Mix granulated sugar, milk and egg yolks. Add to chocolate and cook until smooth and thickened, stirring constantly. Cool.

Cream butter well; be sure it is at room temperature. Add 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and cream well. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat well.

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Gradually beat in remaining confectioners’ sugar. Fold into chocolate mixture. Add vanilla.

Line a 9-inch springform pan with split ladyfingers on the sides and bottom. Fill with 1/2 chocolate mixture and make another layer of ladyfingers. Fill with remaining chocolate mixture. Chill.

Garnish with whipped cream and shaved sweetened chocolate.

Makes 12 servings. This can be made the day before and may even be frozen.

 

As you can figure, I could not find a recipe online that’s anything like Nancy’s. I found some similar ones, like the following.

Recipecurio.com says this recipe dates back to the 1940s or 1950s.

Chocolate Icebox Cake

Shave two bars of sweet chocolate into the upper part of a double boiler. Add 4 tablespoonfuls boiling water and 4 tablespoonfuls confectioners’ sugar. Place on flame in double boiler to melt. Beat 4 egg yolks light. Set chocolate mixture off flame. Add beaten yolks and continue beating until well blended. Add 1 teaspoonful vanilla, a pinch of salt and fold in 4 egg whites which have been beaten stiff.

Place halves of lady fingers all around a square 8x12-inch mold, also covering the bottom closely, then a layer of chocolate and again the lady fingers until all are used. Place in refrigerator overnight.

 

Yes, Deb, you’re right about the amounts in the John Wayne Casserole. Here’s a new clipping for your recipe box.

This recipe was originally published in Nancy Wenderoth’s column, Notes From Nancy’s Cooking, in the Times Record on Oct. 27, 1983.

John Wayne Casserole

1 can (4 1/2 ounces) chopped green chilies

1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated

1 pound medium-sharp cheddar cheese, grated

4 eggs, separated

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tomatoes, sliced and peeled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chilies and cheese in a 2-quart buttered casserole dish.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

Combine egg yolks, evaporated milk, flour, salt and pepper. Fold in egg whites. Pour over cheese mixture and pierce with a fork to allow liquid to be absorbed into cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

Place layer of sliced tomatoes on top. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Makes six to eight servings.

 

Granddaughter Kaylie, who works at a local confectionary shop, brought a multi-layered chocolate dessert to the family Thanksgiving gathering.

Daughter Lonnette, Kaylie’s mother, said it reminded her of a Pepperidge Farm chocolate fudge cake, which to the culinary-challenged Harshaws is a compliment.

It was certainly chocolatey. I tasted and tested for 30 minutes.

I don’t know the bakery’s recipe, but this is sort of like it. I found it on epicurious.com.

My guess is it’s a cross between Kaylie’s high-end dessert and an inexpensive Pepperidge Farm cake.

As my family would say, that’s a good thing.

Chocolate Ganache Cake

Cake:

3/4 cup boiling water

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

4 large eggs

Ganache filling and glaze:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

20 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped in a food processor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 (7- or 8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together water, cocoa and espresso powder until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing at low speed until just combined.

Divide batter among pans (about 2 1/3 cups per pan), smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for 7-inch pans or 20 to 25 minutes for 8-inch pans. Cool in pans on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper and cool completely.

While the cakes bake, make the ganache. Bring cream to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Transfer ganache to a bowl and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened but spreadable, about four hours. (If ganache becomes too thick, let stand at room temperature until slightly softened.)

Assemble cake: Arrange one layer on a cake stand or plate and spread 2/3 cup ganache evenly over it. Top with another cake layer and 2/3 cup ganache, spreading evenly, then third cake layer. (Chill ganache if necessary to keep at a spreadable consistency.) Chill cake until ganache filling is firm, about one hour. Keep remaining ganache at a spreadable consistency, chilling when necessary.

Spread a thin layer of ganache over top and sides of cake to seal in crumbs, then chill 30 minutes. Spread remaining ganache evenly over top and sides of cake.

Makes 16 servings.

Notes: Cake layers may be made one day ahead, cooled completely, then chilled, wrapped well in plastic wrap. Ganache may be made one day ahead and chilled, covered. Let stand at room temperature two to three hours to soften to a spreadable consistency. Assembled cake keeps, covered and chilled, three days.

 

It wasn’t the typical Harshaw Thanksgiving as granddaughter Madi took charge of the meal planning and preparation.

Grandma is so proud.

Madi changed up the menu a tad. Goodbye turkey, hello pork tenderloin.

“Madi,” I said, “This pork loin is so good. It tastes sort of peppery.”

“It was marinated in Allegro.” she explained.

I didn’t let on that I had no idea what she was talking about.

I had to Google it, which corrected my misspelling (I thought she said “Allegra”).

Madi also prepared deviled eggs, green bean casserole, hashbrown casserole and rolls.

She also brought a 12-pack of Sprite.

The girl thought of everything.

You’re probably wondering what in the heck I did on Thanksgiving besides eat.

I relaxed.

I rested.

I sat and talked to family members.

I enjoyed myself tremendously.

From now on, it’s going to be the Harshaw tradition.

Looking for a recipe? Have one you’d like to share? Write to Potluck, Times Record, P.O. Box 1359, Fort Smith, AR 72902. Email: jharshaw@swtimes.com.