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SethG

"Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 1)

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So my copy of Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan, finally arrived.

I'd like to work through the book (and maybe throw in some stuff from his other book with Dorie Greenspan). And it would be great to have some eGullet bakers along for the ride. Anybody want to make something this weekend? I'm thinking a cake or tart to start with? Maybe the Apricot & Ginger Chocolate Loaf Cake (p. 3) or the Chocolate & Raspberry Tart (p. 97) (if raspberries don't cost $5.00 a half-pint)? I'm totally open to other ideas.

I'm also thinking about making something in the middle of next week to bring to my sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving, maybe the Moist and Nutty Brownies (p. 61), or the Hazelnut Chocolate Sables (p. 69)?

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I got my book too. Umm I have to figure out where to purchase some of these ingredients. Williams Sonoma maybe??? We also have a Forty Carrots here in Memphis that might carry this stuff. Then we have a Fresh Market across the county. If something is more than a ten minute drive - it's an ordeal :rolleyes:who's spoiled??!! :laugh: Probably between those three I should be able to round them up. Oooh oooh we also have a Tropical Fruit & Nut place. They should be loaded up with Christmas & holiday goodies.

So these are like the extra fancy apricots, huh? But the garnishing ones look like regular dried apricots. I could soak 'em too to tenderize 'em.

I just mostly always purchased Baker's chocolate, but I'm gonna try out the Valrhona varieties assuming I can find them.

Hey how did you guys figure out the percentages on the chocolate in order to substitute??? Is it listed on the package???

So I'm in for the apricot & ginger chocolate loaf cake. This is completely outside of my familiar flavor repertoire. I've never had that candy type ginger and I've never mixed apricot with chocolate. Whooppee chocolate at that :laugh:

Hmmm, yah, I'm cool for the hazelnut sables - I only need to get hazelnuts for that one umm - they come out looking like abstract art piled up like that in the picture.

My own brownie recipe has a tad more sugar but is a spitting image of his formula.

So far I'm liking the more user friendly layout of the chocolate book much better than the dessert book. The chocolate book puts all the components in one list even the ones on other pages, rather than scattered about like the dessert one.

I actually got apples thinking I might try the apple galette with the puff pastry & 24 hour apples in the dessert book. I can always make the obligatory thanksgiving apple pie instead.

But wull, ummm on the Inside-Out Puff Pastry pg 21 in the Dessert book what does it mean when it says 'taking care not to rollover the edges' - like I know not to let the butter package ooze out and I need to keep it all level & even and I have to 'roll over' all of it including the edges - no??? Does the word 'rollover' mean something more specific than the obvious??? Doesn't it mean don't scew it up, dummy??!! :laugh:

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The book lists the percentages of all the recommended Valrhonas on p. 268. I think I'm unlikely to use Valrhona much because it's so dear-- at least in the one shop where I've seen it sold in NYC. I might look into internet ordering for future baking, though.

Don't go with Baker's-- if a dessert is really a showcase for chocolate then Baker's really isn't good enough. Many of the premium brands list percentages now, so you can sub any brand for Valrhona using percentage as a guide.

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Whole Foods should carry Valhrona in NYC Seth.

I'll go along for the ride and do as many of these with you as I can. But I am not going to be able to do anything between now and T-Day. I'll look forward to reading your reports, though.

Thanks for kicking this off.

As a reminder to others, you can often find the Heerme Chocolate book used on Amazon or in a local used book store for about $13.

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I don't have the Chocolate Desserts book but I do have the other one and would love to join in when I can on recipes from the Desserts book. Can't wait to see everyone's creations! Hmmmmmmmmmm guess I have a good excuse for any extra holiday pounds now?! :laugh:

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As a reminder to others, you can often find the Herme Chocolate book used on Amazon or in a local used book store for about $13.

Good idea. Try ebay too. Mine was new & $14 plus shipping. She had 4 more when I ordered.

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They put in a Fresh Market within the ten minute radius :biggrin: yah yah I need to get out more...

OK - I got Le Noir Amer which is 71% it's a 3.5 ounces for four bucks aheh. I originally had that Shaber whatever one - can't remember the exact name (forgot my pen) which was probably a better deal - more for less - but I got excited when I found the Valrhona. So that's only off a half percent I think.

So the ginger, wull, this isn't it, but I couldn't find it - I can find a zillion different kinds in the chinese store - of course I found the crystalized no no kind - I wound up getting this sliced stuff but it's not in a heavy syrup, it's not expensive. Hmm it's Kame brand sliced ginger in salt water. Wull now what.

I'm not making mine till I get the right stuff. I'm gonna go surfing for my ingredients - start with King Arthur. Wait wait - we got a Penzey's Spices here now too - forgot about that. Not too far outside the 10 minute radius :biggrin:

:rolleyes: Why didn't I think of that while I was out???

So I still need ginger and cocoa - Hershey's just won't do I suppose??

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Whole Foods should carry Valhrona in NYC Seth.

Whole foods has it for something like $13/lb. I buy Valrhona wholesale for $6-8/lb. If you get into chocolate making you go through one of those 3kg tubs of feves in no time.

So I still need ginger and cocoa - Hershey's just won't do I suppose??

I really like the Valrhona cocoa.


Edited by R Washburn (log)

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Make the Tarte Grenobloise. No tricky ingredients and you won't be sorry!

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I'll join you Seth. Something has to get me in the mood for holiday baking and a new cookbook would be just the ticket.

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So my copy of Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan, finally arrived.

I'd like to work through the book (and maybe throw in some stuff from his other book with Dorie Greenspan).  And it would be great to have some eGullet bakers along for the ride.  Anybody want to make something this weekend?  I'm thinking a cake or tart to start with?  Maybe the Apricot & Ginger Chocolate Loaf Cake (p. 3) or the Chocolate & Raspberry Tart (p. 97) (if raspberries don't cost $5.00 a half-pint)?  I'm totally open to other ideas.

I'm also thinking about making something in the middle of next week to bring to my sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving, maybe the Moist and Nutty Brownies (p. 61), or the Hazelnut Chocolate Sables (p. 69)?

Great choices! Having baked all 4 before I can be lazy for a while :biggrin: . I'll probably try the brownies and Loaf cake again anyway since I'm not too happy about how they came out the first time.

Let's just decide where to start and I'll add my comments and maybe a picture or two. I'd leave the raspberry tart for the moment, it does seem a bit late for getting nice tasting berries.

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I can't believe I found the ginger. (Wull why not you went to SEVEN freaking stores.) It's pretty good too I tasted the syrup - it's gonna' be amazing with the apricots someday when the cocoa gets shipped in aheh.. :rolleyes:

No where in all of Memphis wull ok no where in all of seven stores do they have valrhona cocoa. :huh: sniff

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I looked online at WS & din see it.

I won't be baking until the end of the month, sniff :rolleyes:

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K8, if I may call you K8, I got so caught up in your enthusiasm that I decided definitely to make the Apricot & Ginger cake this weekend! Surely there must be another good cocoa besides Valrhona, so you don't have to wait? You got the ginger, which must have been the greater challenge.

(I actually trooped to whole foods this evening, only to arrive ten minutes after closing. But I already have the ginger, and expect no trouble in obtaining cocoa/chocolate... I'm more worried that tomorrow I'll fail to find almond paste.)

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Also, you can try Jessica's Biscuit.  Sometimes they have some real deals.  I got the Desserts by Pierre Herme  book for $12. 

Jessica's Biscuit link

Last time I was in AtlanticBooks they had Chocolate. I think it was under 15.

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Of course you can call me K8, please do.

Umm - no no no almond paste is easy - even big grocery stores carry almond paste - Odense or Solo.

Wull, I just wasn't sure about any other cocoa nothing said Dutch-processed.

Hmmm decisons decisions. See if the family doesn't like the first one, then that hampers the idea of making the second one.

Wull no this will work I think - because chef-wanna-be-boy will be home for the holidays & I can make a second one for him if it doesn't go over with the family.

Hmmm, I don't know.

I could handily screw up the apple galette (page 126 in Dessert book) for Thanksgiving in the meantime :biggrin:

Btw - no problem on the raspberries they're not $5 - they're $5.50 :laugh: for the teensy box with two layers of fruit surrounded by the white fuzzzz...

I'm gonna call Williams Sonoma when they open up...see if they have Valrhona on site.

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Umm - no no no almond paste is easy - even big grocery stores carry almond paste - Odense or Solo.

Oh I know it should be easy. But the two supermarkets by my apartment are often out of the strangest things. Last week I couldn't find blanched slivered almonds.

As it happened, I got everything and made the cake. I got Valrhona cocoa. I was sure that it wasn't Dutch processed because it said only "unsweetened" on the label. Then when I got home I looked at Medrich's section on cocoa in Bittersweet, and saw that the Valrhona cocoa is Dutch processed, but the retail packaging for it doesn't say so (apparently the wholesale stuff is labeled more clearly).

The cake came out great-- I'd post a pic, but my camera's on the fritz. It looks pretty much just like the one in the book, except it's more rectangular owing to the shape of my pan. The ginger and apricot add nice sophistication to the basic cake-- I think there could be more of both. I think this cake would be pretty hard to mess up. It's a world away from the Carioca in the dessert book that I made last week. It also doesn't deliver the same kind of shock and awe. But it's a tasty little cake.

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Go, Seth!

Yes, Wm Sonoma has Valrhona cocoa :laugh: for TWENTY $IX DOLLARS :shock: I ordered the same thing plus shipping and vanilla & I have change back from $26. :laugh:

---ha ha ha ha! :angry: ha! :rolleyes:


Edited by K8memphis (log)

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As it happened, I got everything and made the cake.  I got Valrhona cocoa.  I was sure that it wasn't Dutch processed because it said only "unsweetened" on the label.  Then when I got home I looked at Medrich's section on cocoa in Bittersweet, and saw that the Valrhona cocoa is Dutch processed, but the retail packaging for it doesn't say so (apparently the wholesale stuff is labeled more clearly). 

The cake came out great-- I'd post a pic, but my camera's on the fritz.  It looks pretty much just like the one in the book, except it's more rectangular owing to the shape of my pan.  The ginger and apricot add nice sophistication to the basic cake-- I think there could be more of both.  I think this cake would be pretty hard to mess up.  It's a world away from the Carioca in the dessert book that I made last week.  It also doesn't deliver the same kind of shock and awe.  But it's a tasty little cake.

Just had the first slice off mine.

gallery_9330_174_1101042037.jpg

A couple of questions:

- The cake looks much paler than the one in the book. I didn't use Valrhona (hard to find here) but a good Dutch processed cocoa from a local German chocolate company, Sarotti. I'm wondering if the difference in color could depend on that.

- Did anyone else try to mix the almond paste and sugar with a mixer paddle attachment? It seemed to take forever till to get the two to mix. The food processor took about 5 seconds to get the proper result.

- Herme' calls for the egg-almond paste mixture to reach a thick mayonnaise consistency and claims it takes 8-10 minutes of whipping to do so. It took me maybe 2 minutes to get there :huh: . I stopped shortly after that to avoid overmixing: could that be a problem with this batter, or does it make no difference?

- could dusting the apricots and ginger with flour or cornstarch prevent them from sinking to the bottom? No0t that this is a big problem but I'd like the chunks to be more diffuse in the cake instead of being all at the bottom of each slice.

Seth, I agree with you, the cake is very simple and the ginger and apricot add a nice twist. I'd probably add more apricots, but no extra ginger, there's enough of that for my taste.

While I was waiting for the cake to cool down I made the following one in the book, Suzie's cake, just to avoid getting bored :biggrin: . It's still cooling while I wrote. If I have to judge from how the batter tasted, it's going to be a luscious cake.

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I had the same experience with the food processor-- my almond paste wasn't breaking up, so I gave the food processor a whir. Then my mixture was already like mayo by the time I finished adding the eggs. I kept mixing anyway, however, just to see if it got thicker. I don't thnk it made much of a difference.

About the sinking, If you look at the picture in the book it seems like the example cake also had all the fruit sink to the bottom. In my cake, though, that didn't happen. My fruit stayed pretty evenly spread throughout, although I can't tell you why.

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OK, I'm in too, but I can't start until next week. I have 7 of my husband's relatives in the house at present, and they have taken over everything, including my kitchen. :angry: There is Playdoh everwhere, and I don't think it would enhance the flavor of Herme's recipes.....

I do need to get back to my baking, though. I've been neglecting it too long.

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Go, Seth!

Yes, Wm Sonoma has Valrhona cocoa  :laugh: for TWENTY $IX DOLLARS  :shock: I ordered the same thing plus shipping and vanilla & I have change back from $26.  :laugh:

---ha ha ha ha!  :angry: ha! :rolleyes:

You're talking about this cocoa, right? $26! That is truly amazing. I paid $11.

How did Suzie's cake come out, Albiston? I want to make that one too. I'm glad you posted a photo. My cake is essentially the shape of yours, but the color of the one in the book.

And it's good to see you guys here, Heather and brngckn

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How did Suzie's cake come out, Albiston?  I want to make that one too.  I'm glad you posted a photo.  My cake is essentially the shape of yours, but the color of the one in the book.

Suzie's cake came out great, but messing this one up is seriously difficult.

gallery_9330_174_1101127375.jpg

I think it is a perfect example of those cakes your tastebuds cannot get enough of, while managing to fill your belly with the tiniest slice. It's moist, luscious, buttery: like a chocolate truffle, only it's a cake. It definitely needs to be made with very good chocolate to get the best out of the recipe. I should also mention that it is very fragile and tends to break very easily while unmolding, even after cooling two hours in the fridge.

A good simple match for the cake would be plain unsweetened whipped cream. Something slightly more fancy, maybe slightly acidic, like an orange flavored creme anglaise or a berry coulis would probably work well too, giving some contrast.

(edited to add image)

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