Recipe: Carrément Chocolat

~ This is Day 167 ~

Although I do not have much of a sweet tooth, I do love desserts that are not sweet. Bittersweet is more my jam. So obviously I love dark, luxurious, luscious chocolate. My go-to chocolate dessert is this triple dark chocolate tart that I’ve made many times, usually during Friendsgiving. But I wanted something different today so I made this: Pierre Hermé’s Carrément Chocolat – a cake entirely made of chocolate, a play on textures and temperatures, between the soft, the smooth, and the crunchy.

However, I don’t have a square cake tin and I messed up on the chocolate sheet step but I love my ending result. I don’t have edible gold leaves but the wedge that I cut myself was very delicious!!

Forewarning: this cake takes a long time because of all the resting but you’ll be very satisfied with all your hard work!

Makes an 8-inch square or round cake.

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter your 8-inch cake pan, sprinkle with cocoa powder.

In a bain marie (which is a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), place the chopped chocolate into the bowl and melt it. Remove from heat and whisk chocolate to completely melt it. Cut the butter into small pieces with a bench scraper and add that into the bowl, along with the sugar, eggs, and sifted flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared mold and place it in the oven for 20 minutes. The cake should look underdone. Unmold the cake onto a rack and let it cool. Clean and dry the mold, then wrap in plastic wrap. Put the cooled cake in the bottom of the mold.

For the Chocolate Cream

  • 70 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100 g whole milk
  • 100 g heavy cream
  • 50 g egg yolks (around 3)
  • 50 g granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until pale yellow. Off the heat, slowly temper the egg-sugar mixture by pouring the hot milk/cream slowly into the egg/sugar. Then transfer everything back into the pot and stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture is 185°F, be careful not to overheat or else the egg yolk will curdle.

Pour one third of the mixture over the chopped chocolate, stirring well. Repeat 2 more times then using an immersion blender, process the mixture thoroughly. Pour the cream over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour and then in the freezer for another hour.

For the Chocolate Mousse

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie then remove from the heat. In a small pot, bring the milk to a boil. Pour the milk over the chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is smooth. Lastly, add in the egg yolk and incorporate well.

In a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff with a dash of sugar. Then as the whites begin to stiffen, add the remaining sugar. Incorporate one-third of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining whites.

Pour the chocolate mousse over the smooth chocolate cream in the mold. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Freeze this for 2 hours.

For the Thin Chocolate Sheet (or Crisps)

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie then remove from the heat. Let the bowl cool at room temperature until the mixture reaches a temperature between 88°F and 90°F. Pour the chocolate over a sheet of wax/parchment paper and spread it out. Before it can set, cut out a square (or circle) of the same size as the cake pan. Place another wax/parchment paper on top and add weights to prevent the chocolate from warping as it dries. Refrigerate this while you move onto the next step.

For the Chocolate Sauce

Place everything into a small pot and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the sauce is thick enough a coat the backend of a spoon, nappant. Set aside.

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 80 g heavy cream
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g chocolate sauce (from above)

In a small pot, bring the heavy cream to a boil and remove from heat. Slowly beat in the chocolate. Set aside to cool until 140°F before adding the butter. Once that is fully incorporated, add in the chocolate sauce and whisk completely.

To Finish

  • Maldon salt (optional)

Remove the cake from the mold and discard the plastic wrap. Put the cake over a rack lined with a sheet tray. Using a small ladle, pour the chocolate glaze over the center of the cake and tilt the cake to spread the glaze over the sides. Continue with the rest of the glaze and cover the top and sides of the cake. Using a small offset spatula, evenly coat the sides and edges of the cake.

Leave to set for a few minutes before transferring to a cake stand or plate. Remove the papers from the thin sheet of chocolate and place it on the cake. If you messed up like I did, crumple them into little chips and spread that over the top of the cake!

Set the cake in the refrigerator to defrost for 2 hours before eating. Cut with a knife dipped in hot water for clean lines! Sprinkle flaky sea salt over wedge/slice if you like that!

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Recipe: Mussels with White Wine & Tomato

~ This is Day 75 ~

I get asked how to make this quite often from friends and family so I’m just going to write this really quickly. This is my favorite way to make mussels and clams. The best part after the mussels/clams? The bread dunking into the rich broth and into your mouth part.

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes (or substitute one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • ¼ cup butter (optional)
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon

Finely chop the onion and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Dice your tomatoes if using fresh ones. Finely chop your parsley, reserve some for garnish.

Scrub the mussels and toss out the dead/damaged ones. If they’re open and don’t close when you poke them, they’re bad. Remove the beards if they have them. Set aside.

In a large pot with lid, heat up enough olive oil to almost cover base of pot. Sweat onions and garlic until aromatic and tender. Add in diced tomatoes and thyme. Season a little with salt, turn heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the tomato paste and cook that out, 3-5 minutes. Add the butter if adding and let the butter emulsify with everything. Once butter has melted, add in the mussels. Turn heat to high, season with salt and black pepper, and add the white wine. Cover with lid, mussels are ready once they open completely, 5-7 minutes. Before you take them out and off the heat, add in most of your chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon, stir to combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Once in a bowl, add the remaining parsley on top as garnish. Serve with toasted bread. I always eat it with ciabatta. Any bread will suffice, pick your favorite!

*For clams, I like to add bacon and hot paprika to this.

Recipe: Gougères

Gougères are essentially cream puffs without the cream and instead with cheese. They are the savory version of the pâte à choux. The cheese is commonly grated Gruyère, Comté, or Emmentaler. I used Gruyère in this.

In culinary school, I had to mix this by hand and that was exhausting. I have a stand mixer at home so making the choux was a piece of cake!

This recipe yields around 50 pieces.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 oz. butter
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups Gruyère, and extra for garnishing
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with SilPats or parchment paper, oiling them is not necessary. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, and salt, and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Stir over low heat until the dough dries out and pulls away from the pan, approximately 2 minutes.

Scrape the dough into a bowl of a stand mixer. Let it cool for a few minutes before beating in the eggs. On “stir”, using the paddle attachment, beat the eggs into the dough, one at a time, and beating thoroughly between each one. It is important to be sure that each egg is fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next. Don’t worry if the batter separates and looks curdled at first. Keep beating, and it will come together nicely. Add the cheese and season with black pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip and pipe tablespoon-size mounds onto the baking sheets. Sprinkle more cheese on top of each one and bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot/warm. I stuff them with duxelles, which is a finely chopped mixture of mushroom (chanterelles).

Recipe: Coffee Soil

I totally forgot that I have already featured coffee soil in my other posts. I mostly use coffee soil for ice creams and desserts but it could also be used for savory dishes. I also use decaffeinated coffee beans for this recipe.

  • 9 oz. sugar
  • 3 ½ oz. cocoa powder
  • 3 oz. finely ground coffee
  • ½ oz. salt
  • 5 oz. butter, melted

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl or KitchenAid stand mixer, pour in the melted butter and thoroughly mix to combine. Bake at 300°F for 1 hour. Let it cool and crumble either with fingers or in a food processor.

Sample dishes:

Recipe: Sweet Pea Soup

I was meaning to post this recipe but life got caught in the way. Anyway, whenever spring comes, I love the harvest of fresh English peas. Having said that, I also dislike eating peas in their pea form, which is why I love making sweet pea soup.

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 lbs fresh English peas, shelled
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 55 g crème fraîche

Melt unsalted butter, then add onion and celery, and sweat until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and potato, and raise the heat until it reaches a boil.

Cook the mixture until potatoes are done, add in the peas and bring to a boil. Cook until peas are tender, about 2 minutes.

Have a colander ready to strain mixture, making sure to reserve the liquid. Add solids to VitaMix and some liquid to adjust for consistency as its blending. Finish with crème fraîche and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Once fully blended and smooth, chill over an ice bath to preserve its green color.

Sample dishes:

Recipe: Corn Purée

In the culinary world, we make a lot of purées and it’s basically baby food. So why does restaurant baby food taste so good?

  • 5 ears of corn, kernels removed, cobs scraped of all “milk”
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk, more if needed
  • Butter, as needed
  • Salt

Sweat leeks and shallots in butter with thyme until aromatic. Add corn and cook out some of the starch. Then add the cream and milk, and cook until creamy. Season and taste. Remove thyme sprigs and blend in a VitaMix (blender).

Sample dishes:

Speck on Pumpernickel Toast

Meyenberg’s European Style Goat’s Milk Butter is one of the best products out there. You have to get your hands on this stuff! Luckily for me, I can order this via my job. I can eat this butter on some toasted bread, non-stop, everyday!

But for this little amuse bouche, I whipped the butter so that I could squeeze it out from a pastry bag. This was Smoked Italian Speck on Pumpernickel Toast with Whipped Goat’s Milk Butter and Micro Parsley.