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"Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 1)

Chocolate Dessert Cookbook

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598 replies to this topic

#121 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 01:07 PM

Sorry about your cake, Richard.

I decided to make the Grenobloise tomorrow.  I'll make the Pave when I get the right pan.

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Don't feel too sorry. It's still quite good, and better today than yesterday. I'll look forward to seeing your Grenobloise.

#122 SethG

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 08:39 PM

I thought the Grenobloise was really sensational. It is an over-the-top dessert. The (really great) cocoa crust, plus the creamy ganache, plus the caramel-coated pecans add up to a dessert that is almost unbearably good. My wife found it too rich and couldn't eat more than a few bites. This is a problem I'll continue to face, I fear, as I continue to work my way through the book. I love desserts that showcase rich, dark chocolate-- but my wife is not as big a fan. She prefers things more toward the milk chocolate end of the spectrum.

Another problem I continue to struggle with is that I tend to snap some photos quickly, just as I'm about to serve dessert, and then I later discover that the pictures just don't do justice to the dish. Here's my best shot of the Grenobloise:

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You'll have to take my word on this, but the caramel and nuts are covering a perfect, shiny ganache. I'm very happy with how that came out.

I'm inexperienced at making caramel, and I had a little trouble with it here, although it worked out fine. Dorie doesn't say anything in the recipe about the dangers of crystalization and how to avoid it. I had a couple lumpy caramel crystals at the end of the process but they were easy to remove, so it was no big deal. I also found that my sugar took a long time to melt, for some reason, and by the time it melted my cream had cooled enough that I had massive clumpage when I poured the cream into the hotter caramel. Dorie warns about this, and says all will smooth out as you heat and stir, but I found that this required quite a bit of effort and acutually took several minutes, not the seconds she predicts. Again, I think my ingredients were cooler than they should have been, although I don't know how it happened.

My caramel at the end was lighter in color than the caramel in the book. I'm guessing I should have browned it longer before I added the cream. But it tasted great, so whatever.

The caramel-covered toasted pecans are really a revelation. I think they could make a dessert all by themselves.
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#123 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 09:35 PM

That tart looks great, Seth. I'll have to try that.

Here's an image of the the Apricot-Ginger Cake from yesterday.
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#124 kthull

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 08:33 AM

Seth, it does take practice to get your caramel groove. This recipe is one of the few caramels I've done that has worked very well for me. Others clump or crystallize badly on me and it can get really frustrating. Just the other day, I went through three batches of caramel on a cookie recipe before finally deciding to strain it and move on.

I'm glad you liked it. I share your opinion on the over-the-top-ness and have eaten loads of that topping plain. When I pre-slice the tart and then top it, I only go through about 3/4 of the caramel pecans. And I don't think there's a dessert out there that's too rich for me.

#125 Patrick S

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 08:45 PM

Seth and Richard, once again your creations look lovely. Hopefully after the holidays I can jump back in here!
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#126 momlovestocook

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 06:18 AM

I concur-Seth and Richard, great looking desserts.
After seeing the Grenobloise, I am toying with making that next over the Pave(plus I bought a huge bag of pecans that I have not opened yet).

Sandra

#127 ravum

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 09:46 AM

I made the french banana split over the weekend.I wanted to try the Ice cream as it was very unusual.Once i made it,I had a few bananas and decided to give the split a try.

It is better than any split I have ever had.I did caramelise the bananas over high heat as he suggests,but they still were a little mushy.The ice cream is like creamy sorbet but very very chocolatey and light.Along with the rum soaked raisins and chocolate sauce, its very delicious and yet not too heavy.

#128 FoodMan

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 01:03 PM

I just got my copy last night. SO hopefully I will be joining this discussions soon.

However, I am not going to invest in several different Valrohna varieties at the moment. My cooking chocolate and cacao of choice is Ghirardelli :shock:. It is affordable and tastes good. Am I banned from the PH Chocolate Desserts thread yet?

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#129 kthull

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 01:18 PM

I just got my copy last night. SO hopefully I will be joining this discussions soon.

However, I am not going to invest in several different Valrohna varieties at the moment. My cooking chocolate and cacao of choice is Ghirardelli  :shock:. It is affordable and tastes good. Am I banned from the PH Chocolate Desserts thread yet?

Elie

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You're fine. I've only used Valrhona once before and I've many of his chocolate desserts from the first book and the few on this thread from the chocolate book. Even Dorie mentioned that while Pierre prefers the specified chocolates, that doesn't mean you will too.

Glad to have you on board!

#130 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 01:29 PM

Welcome, Elie. When you run out of your current stock, you might check with some wholesalers in Houston and see if they will sell you some Vahlrona. You would have to invest in bulk quantities, but the price comes down appreciably.

#131 FoodMan

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 02:01 PM

Thanks for the tip Richard, I will check into that.

Elie

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#132 lemon curd

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 08:50 PM

I completed my black forest cake today. I was making the cake for my parents who were supposed to arrive today from Ottawa. Unfortunately, they didn't make it due to severe winter conditions in Ontario - guess my neighbours just got lucky...

It was really easy to put together. The only change I made was with the kirsh flavoured cream. I tripled the kirsh amount to three tablespoons. I consider it to be the best black forest cake I've eaten - the actual cocoa cake itself was really good as well.

Here's my pictures:

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and

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Great job on the apricot cake Richard and the grenobloise SethG. I think my next project in January will be the grenobloise.

Edit: picture references fixed.

Edited by lemon curd, 23 December 2004 - 10:08 PM.

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#133 Patrick S

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 08:58 PM

LemonCurd, I can't get the pics to display. Im getting an error message.
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#134 Patrick S

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 09:21 PM

Nice, nice nice! I am suddenly interested in black forest cake for the first time. Magnificent job, Lemon Curd.

Edited by Patrick S, 23 December 2004 - 09:26 PM.

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#135 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 09:33 PM

Beautiful, lemoncurd. Great job. Pardon the drooling.

#136 kthull

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 11:33 PM

lemon curd, that cake looks outstanding! Way to go!

#137 Ling

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 02:12 AM

lemoncurd, that cake looks really professional! Are you a pastry chef?

#138 kthull

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 02:32 AM

Well, I think I actually did it. I'm still in a mixed state of disbelief that it came together and awe at the man who conceived this creation. Herme is pure genius in my book. In case anyone missed my post earlier in this thread, the dessert is called Pine Cone and it's from the pro book, not the Chocolate Desserts to which this thread is devoted.

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I almost didn't make this. I'm sooooo glad I did. And having made the autumn meringue and carioca desserts from Herme's first book was a huge help as some of the components were very similar among the desserts.

The finish is supposed to be sprayed on chocolate. I had everything but the cocoa butter to make the chocolate spray mixture. So I just did a light dusting of cocoa powder instead. At 2:30 a.m., I'm sort of glad I didn't have the ability to spray on chocolate. Plus the kitchen's already a wreck. (So close to getting that tempering thing down.)

Needless to say, I think the family will be impressed though I have no idea how to cut this thing. And I made a bunch of mental notes on what to do differently, since I have a second one to make for Christmas Day.

#139 Swisskaese

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 03:30 AM

Lemon Curd and Kevin your cakes are beautiful.

Lemon Curd, what was the technique to make the cream look the way it does around the top?

Kevin, are the pine cone leaves (what do you call those things?) made out of meringue?

#140 lemon curd

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 08:19 AM

OMG kthull that is beautiful! Can you bear to cut into it? I think I would cry if I had to cut into it since it's such a beauty! :biggrin:

I still have a borrowed 'La Patisserie' at home and your pine cone cake is an absolute replica. Did you end up doing the scales the same way as described in the book (i.e. using a spatula to make the small tongues on acetate or parchment out of tempered chocolate). If you have time I'd also be interested to hear what you would do differently. You've motivated me to perhaps venture into actually doing some from the pro book (instead of just dreaming about making them) but I'd like to work my way through many more from the 'Chocolate Desserts' book first.

Swisskaese - I piped the whipped cream with a 11mm star tip on the top of the cake as close to the outside edge as possible. I then did an second row at a 45 deg angle beside the first row but right on the very edge of the cake.

Ling - I'm not a pastry chef, but I took a four month pastry/desserts course a while back. I rarely get to put much of what I learned about cakes and decorating into practice so this thread is great for getting me back into it.

Edited by lemon curd, 24 December 2004 - 08:31 AM.

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#141 kthull

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 08:54 AM

Swisskaese, the pine cone leaves are just tempered chocolate spread with an offset spatula onto wax paper or acetate (in my case, I had neither, so I used foil). Ok...almost tempered chocolate (I swear I'm soooo close).

Lemon curd, I love cutting into stuff like this. For me there's a bigger payoff in people's reaction to the flavors than to the look of the piece. My goal is to get those two elements to be equal. And I want to make so many more desserts from La Patisserie. Quite a few have ingredients that will be a challenge to find since I don't have a commercial supplier available to me. But the desserts in that book just blow away the two 'mainstream' books.

Yes, the scales were done with a spatula. They definitely took some practice, but they worked out great. And I used the overlapping parts to cover the fact that about half of mine were seriously misshapen compared to the picture in the book. I'm so glad that I have cotton gloves for working with chocolates. A real necessity with this dessert.

What would I do differently? Well for sure I still want to try to spray the chocolate on at the end. The book doesn't give a size for the cake layers, and mine was too big (and I trimmed the second cake layer too much so that is too small). I couldn't cut a cardboard piece to sit under it, so I had to work on my serving platter ruling out pouring the ganache. I worried on that one for a while, but by the time I was ready to ganache it, it was a spreadable thickness which actually helped. I ended up using it as glue and gap filler for some of the top/back scales. And I have a better handle on how to place the scales. That took a couple re-dos to get close to the picture in the book.

Surprisingly, it's a forgiving cake to make. The decoration is more organic than most of the photos in the book. I'm still trying to fine tune my precision.

#142 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 10:02 AM

That is one fine looking cake, Kevin. I have not looked at the pro book yet, but you're tempting me.

#143 bloviatrix

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 10:35 AM

I'm in awe of you guys. Your guests are very lucky.

Edited by bloviatrix, 24 December 2004 - 10:35 AM.

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#144 SethG

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 06:27 AM

Ditto! Richard, lemon, Kevin-- great stuff. That pineapple looks insane.

Happy holidays to all of you (and Pierre & Dorie, wherever you are).

I can't bake from the book this weekend (i.e., today or tomorrow), but next weekend I might be up for something.
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but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#145 Patrick S

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 09:01 PM

Ditto what SethG said -- great looking cake, Kevin. Maybe I missed it, but what sort of cake is under the pine cone leaves?
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#146 kthull

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 11:48 PM

The actual pine cone cake is made up of layers of soft almond cake and chocolate mousse. Oh man.

#147 Dorie Greenspan

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 12:28 AM

Joyeux Noel to all -- a little late but I only got back to Paris and my computer last night. The holiday pix look sooooooooooooooooooooooo great.! The oohs and aahs must have been deafening.

#148 albiston

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 05:37 AM

lemoncurd and Kevin,

I just logged on to quickly check my forum and have a look at this thread and I was just flabbergasted by your cakes! Great work!

...and Kevin, maybe I'l curse you for this one day :wink: , but I have just decided I have to get the pro book :biggrin: !!
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#149 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 12:51 PM

You'll never regret that purchase Albiston!

Dorie can you reveal what your currently working on? I own all of your books and look forward to buying many more.

Kevin and Lemoncurd, NICE WORK!!

#150 Dorie Greenspan

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 01:16 PM

Sinclair, I thought only my mother owned all my books. Thank you.

Right now I'm working on a book which, for the moment, is called "Baking, From my Home to Yours" and will be published in 2006 by Houghton-Mifflin. It will have tons -- i.e. 300 -- recipes, mostly very simple, homey, make-em-everyday kinds of sweets, a fat glossary of terms, ingredients, techniques and gear, and some baking stories. It's been a while since I've done a book "sans chefs" and it's a very different experience, but one I'm really liking -- I'd almost forgotten how much I love recipe development.





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