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SethG

"Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 1)

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I did Nayla's tart for Christmas. While it tasted great, I had a problem with rolling out the crust and hope someone else had a similar problem and can tell me how I should have adjusted for it.

I made the dough and chilled the disk in the refridgerator overnight. When I tried to roll it out, it broke into five pieces. I rubbed some water on the breaks and tried gluing it back together and rolling more. After arm wrestling with the dough for quite a while, I finally slid it over the tart ring. It then broke into a zillion pieces, so I patted it back into a ball, pressed it into a disk and rolled again. It was warmed up a good deal by then and rolled out more easily, but still with a number of repairs. I used a peel to place it and then formed it over the tart ring. It was still so brittly crumbly that I could not trim the excess evenly with the rolling pin; it ended up with an uneven, but not exactly jagged edge.

When it came out of the oven a section of the edge of the crust broke off in such small pieces that it was not practical to patch it with cooked crust, so I patched in a piece of aluminum foil to keep the ganache from flowing out.

I am sure this is an elementary question, but can anyone shed any light on what I could have done with the dough to make it easier to roll and less likely to crack when baked?

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I don't mean to gush, but I also own all of your books, Dorie. In fact, yours is one of only a handful of names on a book cover which will cause me to purchase sight-unseen. Keep 'em coming please!

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Nightscotsman, while you're gushing, I'm blushing. Thanks -- lots.

Richard, your chocolate crust for Nayla's Tart has me stumped, but I can think of a few things which make tart crusts, in general, behave the way yours did:

1) Rolling the crust out when it is very cold. Crust dough needs to be chilled and chilling it overnight as you did is a good thing. But, a dough that's very cold will crack when rolled. The best thing to do is give the dough a good chilling, then leave it on the counter for 15 or 20 minutes before starting to roll it out.

2) Having a dough that is too dry. Dryness can be a result of the type of flour used, or, more likely, a mis-measurement. Richard, is there any possibility that you were too generous with either the flour or the cocoa?

3) Having butter that is too cold. While cold butter is usually just what you want for crusts, with this crust you need room temperature butter that can be beaten until it is soft and airy enough to blend with the sugar and take in the flour and cocoa.

4) The crusts gods are feeling mischievous. Crusts are such tempermental things and often, even crusts you've made regularly will give you a hard time. When the gods are against me, I often stop rolling and just pat the crust into the pan.

Wish I could be more helpful. Looking forward to someone else's ideas on what might have happened.

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I made the Linzer tart for Christmas eve - it was a HUGE hit!!! I've made jam before, but I never put raspberries in the food processor before cooking, as directions in this book suggest. It really helped the jam come together; I think I'll do that from now on.

I also made the chocolate mousse, the texture and flavor of which is "absolutely to die for," as my mother-in-law exclaimed after tasting it. I couldn't believe how easy it was, having never made mousse before.

PS - A big thanks to all of you who are posting pictures. It really helps a non-pro get ideas on presentation.

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This thread inspired me to finally cook from this book. Made the lemon-chocolate caramels for Xmas and had some of the same notes as others:

a) It took a really long time to get the post-caramelized mixture to come up to 243 (it was boiling like mad)

b) The caramels came out not quite as soft as I would have liked.

c) The lemon isn't discernable (but perhaps it contributes to the taste at some level).

Still, these were delicious-- I'll have to try them again with a lower final temp.

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Thanks for the ideas, Dorie. I think the measurements were spot on given that I was using a scale, though I wondered if it was too dry myself. And I did let the butter sit out and warm up, and it easily blended with the sugar. Not letting the dough sit for long enough after bringing it out of the fridge seems to be the most likely culprit at this point.

If, however, "too dry" was the problem, what would be the best thing to do after I took it out of the fridge, let it sit for the 15 - 20 minutes, and then came to that conclusion? Let it come up to room temp and blend in a little more butter, and then put it back in the fridge?

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I have to add my compliments to the rest on that wonderful looking "Foret Noir" and the pine cone. Fabulouse.

I am still reading through this fantastic brown book and so far have only tried the classic hot chocolate drink. It was very good, chocolaty, frothy and rich. I actually polished off the whole recipe by myself (I guess it really helped that it was snowing outside in Houston!!).

Elie

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You really have to use a lot of force to roll out dough taken straight out of the refrigerator thats been throughly chilled. It probably will break up as you put force down on it. BUT, then the effort of patching it together into one mass and re-rolling should warm up the dough enough that the next time you roll it it's at the right temp.. It seems to me that you rolled it 3 times and it still crumbled, is that correct? At the third roll out your dough definitely would be the right temp. and texture for rolling, possibly too soft even. Typically a dough too cold doesn't crumble, it breaks or rips in larger pieces then a "crumble." A dough that is too dry will crumble when rolled.

When you first rolled this and it broke apart you should have kneaded it back together into one mass and re-rolled it. Don't patch together a crust with h20, it's not highly effective and it's likely to break in all those places when you cut into it. If you can't roll it nicely and easily pick it up, stop and pat it into your tart pan. I pat most of my doughs into my tart shells instead of rolling them and lifting them. My tart doughs aren't as glutenous as pie doughs and I too struggle with lifting them.

If your crust crumbles once it's baked, it's probably too dry. I've made some really really tender short doughs and they don't crumble when cut. The best way to handle a crust that's crumbling as you cut it is to leave it overnight to soften up from the fillings.

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I finally got the right pans for the Pave, so I'm thinking about making it this weekend. Anybody else wanna do it?

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Wow

Both the black forest cake and pine cone cake look so good it's hard to find the words to say how good.

I may join you on the Pave Seth(although I do not have the exact pan size-I saw one that looked about right but only had metric on it and then I thought do I really want to spend 15 dollars just to make a cake???). I figure I can just use one bigger and one smaller pan and go from there. Maybe I'll make it for New year's Eve.

Sandra

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I thought the Pave is made in a regular loaf pan, no? What is the proper pan?

Elie

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It's a regular pan if you have the size: 7.5 by 3.5 inches-- I've had a hard time finding this size in the stores. But as I mentioned a few pages back, I did find them at kitchencollection.com, pretty cheap.

I bet 8x4 pans would work fine.

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My first recipe from this book, I made the chocolate macarons:

gallery_5404_94_1104379155.jpg

gallery_5404_94_1104379653.jpg

I have tried making macarons numerouse times and results varied from disasterous to edible. These beauties were my first success. They domed nicely with those wonderful frilly edges. The taste and texture were also excellent, crunchy soft and chocolaty. Trust me they looked much better in person.

In comparing them with the picture in the book, these were a lot darker, probably due to the use of a different cocao and they were not as...perfect, probably due to my "technique" or lack there of. With some practice I will get to the perfect macaron someday.

Elie

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Ellie -- Your macarons look spectacular! It's not easy to get a dome as perfect as yours or "feet" as frilly. In fact, just yesterday, my husband and I were looking in the window of a pastry shop in Paris and commenting on how motley their macarons looked -- they were flat topped and wrinkled! Bravo.

Just a note -- this recipe was the hardest one for my to get. I made it 13 -- count'em -- 13 times before I thought I'd gotten it right. And even now, when I make them -- a rare event -- I'm sometimes faced with the dread wrinkled top. Again, congratulations.

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Pave bakers-to-be -- You're right, you can make the pave in any size pan and just adjust the baking time accordingly. If you make one larger cake, you should have enough syrup, ganache etc. to finish it properly, since the original recipe makes two small cakes. This was one of my favorite cakes from the book -- it's hard to beat the combo of chocolate, caramel and apricots and the caramel ganache is so, so good -- but I haven't made it in a while because I've been working on new recipes for my next book. However, now that I see it again, I want it again! If only I didn't have tons of people coming for New Year's -- maybe I can bake it next week, in which case I, too, will have to make a pan-size adjustment, because I don't have the right size pan in Paris!

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Thanks all for the comments, and Dorie like I mentioned earlier I tried several macaron recipes with no real success. So I want to thank you for this very-well-13-fold-tested recipe :smile:. Even the steaming process to remove the delicate macarons from the parchment, of which I was very scared, worked like a charm.

The Pave does look and sound great, so it might be the next project.

Elie

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Nice job on the macarons Elie. I've been wanting to make those as well, but haven't gotten around to it. Yours look great!

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Those macarons are going to come soon for me, I can feel it.

As to the pave, I'm still planning on making it, mostly tomorrow, and I'll finish it up on Saturday. I have a question. The picture in the book appears to be of the variation in the box on the facing page, in which the pave is not sprinkled with cocoa powder, but is instead coated with chocolate glaze. I'm not sure which way to go, but I'm wondering: Patrick, did you coat yours with the ganache AND the chocolate glaze? Are you supposed to do both? That's what it looks like the book says, but that just sounds ridiculous to me, and it appears from your photo that you went with just the ganache, and no cocoa powder. I like the look of just the ganache.

Anyone else have an opinion? I may go with the powder just to see how it looks and tastes, but I'm afraid that won't look as impressive as the shiny pave in the book.

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Patrick, did you coat yours with the ganache AND the chocolate glaze?  Are you supposed to do both?  That's what it looks like the book says, but that just sounds ridiculous to me, and it appears from your photo that you went with just the ganache, and no cocoa powder.  I like the look of just the ganache. 

I used the caramel ganache only. But it probably would have been shinier if I had not cooled it so much before applying it to the loaves.

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The pave came out really well. It was a huge hit, even with my wife, who has found Herme's desserts a bit to intensely bittersweet in the past. The inclusion of milk chocolate in the ganache can't have hurt.

gallery_6941_401_1104635097.jpg

gallery_6941_401_1104635124.jpg

This may be my favorite of the Herme recipes I've tried; I will definitely make it again. It's a great do-ahead cake. You can make all the pieces the day before and assemble the cake many hours before you need it.

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Man, that looks sinful. I gotta try that one next.

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Seth -- the pave looks terrific! You're right about it being a good do-aheader. Not only can you make all the elements ahead, you can make the whole cake ahead and freeze it.

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Looks delicious, Seth! Congrats. I don't know about you, but I liked the cake best served right out of the fridge, when the ganache is slightly firm. When I made my two pave on Dec 4, I froze one of them. I defrosted it on the 31st, started eating it on the 1st, and it was every bit as good as on the 4th.

gallery_23736_355_1104683833.jpg

EDIT: Seth, I'm also curious how much sugar you used in your cocoa loaves. Did you use 1 1/4 cups, or 150 grams of sugar?


Edited by Patrick S (log)

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