In her debut book, Danielle "Diva Q" Bennett takes backyard cooks on a culinary journey that includes countless mouthwatering recipes and even more mouthwatering photos by the ever-so-talented Ken Goodman. Known not only for her success on the competition barbecue circuit but also for her show BBQ Crawl, Diva Q showcases her mastery of smoke and flame via 128 recipes in the book Diva Q's Barbecue.
And while virtually every dish impresses in its own special way (Philipino-style stuffed pork belly or meat cake anyone?), her true skill shines in the dessert category where way too many grillers fall well short on creativity. Nowhere is this talent for the sweet more prominent than in a dish that has been wowwing judges for years but has, until now, been a closely guarded secret. We present to you the ode to all things chocolate, Death by Diva.
DEATH BY DIVA
Excerpted from Diva Q’s Barbeque by Danielle Bennett. Copyright © 2016 Danielle Bennett. Photography by Ken Goodman. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.
Makes: 12 servings
Prep: Approx. 1 hour
Cook: 35-40 minutes
“Death by Diva is my most requested recipe, but this is the first time I’ve shared it in its entirety. With this dessert I’ve garnered many perfect 180-point scores in competitions, often in contests where I’ve been competing against professional pastry chefs. Why is it so successful? It combines a little fruit, a little cheesecake, a little brownie and a whole lot of delicious.” – Diva Q
36 strawberries (preferably organic)
2 pkgs. (each 18 oz/510 g) Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
1 (20 oz/600 g) plain New York–style cheesecake
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
¼ cup white chocolate chips, melted
3 cups whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Raspberry syrup, such as Smucker’s PlateScapers
Chocolate syrup, such as Smucker’s PlateScapers
12 sprigs fresh mint
1. Using a melon baller, scoop out the stem end of each straw- berry to make a hole. Place the strawberries, hollowed-out sides down, on paper towels to absorb their juices. Refrigerate the strawberries until needed.
2. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking and preheat it to 375°F.
3. Prepare the brownie mixes according to the package instructions, combining both batters in one bowl. Pour the batter into a parchment-lined 12- × 10-inch disposable aluminum pan.
4. Place the pan on the cool side of the grill. Bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the grill and let the brownies cool completely in the pan.
5. Fill the cavity of each hollowed-out strawberry with cheesecake (do not use the crust). Reserve any leftover cheesecake.
6. Dip each strawberry into melted semisweet chocolate to half-coat them. Place the strawberries on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill until the chocolate is firm.
7. Drizzle the strawberries with melted white chocolate. Chill again until ready to serve.
8. Spoon the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large tip. Set aside.
9. Pour a couple of tablespoons of raspberry syrup in the bottom of each of 12 martini glasses.
10. Crumble the remaining cheese- cake (do not use the crust) and divide among the martini glasses, filling each half full. Top the cheesecake with a drizzle each of chocolate and raspberry syrup.
11. Crumble the brownies and divide among the glasses, filling them three-quarters full. Drizzle more chocolate and raspberry syrup over the brownies.
12. Top with another layer of crumbled brownies (you may have some brownies left over) and more chocolate and raspberry syrup.
13. Pipe whipped cream on top of each dessert. Garnish each with a cheesecake-filled strawberry and a sprig of mint. Serve the desserts with the remaining strawberries.