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"Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 1)


SethG
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Oops, Richard, sorry I attributed your dessert to Elie. (I could've sworn I said this already, but I guess I didn't.)

I made the mousse last night. I didn't take a picture, since I let it set in a big bowl and then scooped it out to serve. (I was pressed for time.) Not very impressive-looking.

But wow! That is the best mousse I've ever had. Even after reading the comments here, I was taken by surprise. It really seems like nothing. Then it sets and... shazam! It is so easy, too. I threw it together in about ten minutes, using only the microwave and my mixer.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Hi

I made the brownies yesterday. They came together fairly quickly and I baked them in a 9x13 pan. I can't tell you what they looked like or how they tasted since I took them to school for my dd's class and not one came home. I used chocolate chips instead of nuts since the school is nut free. Dd said they were good. Guess I'll have to make them again so I can get a taste.

I'll be making the tart Grenobloise for valentine's day(dh and I are celebrating saturday after kiddies go to bed)

Sandra

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I made my cocoa cake for the Pave today. I ended up baking it in an double height 8x8 inch square pan (two loaves in one sort of...) which certainly increased the baking time but seem to work well. It is now in the freezer and I'll be putting it together in two weeks. In the meantime, I was wondering if any one who has sampled the Pave has suggestions regarding what would go with it.. some kind of ice cream...a passion/apricot coulis.... or it is better simply served by itself?

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Seth, isn't the mousse just a revelation? a definite keeper!

I made the Chocolate Sparklers today (sorry, no picture capabilities here).

This was not a friendly dough to work with. The directions say to stir until the flour is just combined, handling the dough as little as possible. Well, the dough was so dry I thought it wouldn't come together at all. I finally clumped it together to chill, sure I had over-handled it. Then I was worried that it would just crumble apart again when forming the logs, which indeed it did. However, I did manage to form the logs and chilled them. A few of them crumbled when I sliced the dough, but all in all they survived.

I was surprised that they baked up nicely and the initial taste test was positive. The crunchy sugar on the sides is nice (I used demerarra). A sophisticated ice box cookie, I think they will go nicely alonside the lemon-poppyseed shortbreads I am making for V-Day. However, I don't think I'd make them again because of my problems with the dough.

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Jumping on the bandwagon

Made the chocolate mousse because it's so easy. As I scraped the bowl to lick it, it didn't taste that great, but after chilling for 2 hrs it tasted much much better! I guess patience rewards. I put some toasted almond slices on top.

The Valrhona from TJ seems a bit too strong. Might try something different next time. They have a new chocolate now...but I threw away the wrapper...it's from Venezeula, I tasted against the Valrhona and it's quite good with a little fruity note. I used that for 1/2 of the chocolate.

Since there are 3 yolks left, should make the raspberry tart.

"Mom, why can't you cook like the iron chef?"
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I made my cocoa cake for the Pave today.  I ended up baking it in an double height 8x8 inch square pan (two loaves in one sort of...) which certainly increased the baking time but seem to work well.  It is now in the freezer and I'll be putting it together in two weeks.  In the meantime,  I was wondering if any one who has sampled the Pave has suggestions regarding what would go with it.. some kind of ice cream...a passion/apricot coulis.... or it is better simply served by itself?

Dare I think I will be tasting this on the 20th? :wub:

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Seth, isn't the mousse just a revelation? a definite keeper!

I made the Chocolate Sparklers today (sorry, no picture capabilities here).

This was not a friendly dough to work with. The directions say to stir until the flour is just combined, handling the dough as little as possible. Well, the dough was so dry I thought it wouldn't come together at all. I finally clumped it together to chill, sure I had over-handled it. Then I was worried that it would just crumble apart again when forming the logs, which indeed it did. However, I did manage to form the logs and chilled them. A few of them crumbled when I sliced the dough, but all in all they survived.

I was surprised that they baked up nicely and the initial taste test was positive. The crunchy sugar on the sides is nice (I used demerarra). A sophisticated ice box cookie, I think they will go nicely alonside the lemon-poppyseed shortbreads I am making for V-Day. However, I don't think I'd make them again because of my problems with the dough.

Hmmm, I have had good luck with this recipe. The dough was firm but not overly dry. I roll them in sparkling sugar and give them a single tiny rosette in the center. I sell them at our local farmer's market and the kids love them. They might be worth another try.

Another Herme recipe for chocolate sables (out of a NY Times Mag. article) was a delicious disaster for me. Completely dry dough (with chunks of dark choc.) that I could not slice one cookie from the log without crumbling. I baked most of them as crumbled pieces of dough. They tasted great, probably would have been good on ice cream. That leads me to think . . . wouldn't a chocolate streusal topping be tasty. . .has anyone ever had or seen a chocolate streusal?

Patricia

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I got around to doing the chocolate madeleines. Here they are with the batter in the silicon forms.

gallery_7582_414_69129.jpg

Cooling on the rack.

gallery_7582_414_832064.jpg.

And the finished madeleines.

gallery_7582_414_289264.jpg

They turned out with holes on the ribbed side. What do you think this was due to? The mini-madeleines got humps, but the larger ones did not. I think I should have baked them a couple of minutes longer. The dough rested and chiled in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours.

I will simply echo what Dorrie says in the book and what others have said here: it's amazing how chocolaty these are using only a small amount of cocoa.

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i made chocolate decadence cookies for a function last week , everyone raved about them! i had a few left over last night, they were a little dry, so i popped them in the microwave for about 7 seconds. They were awesome!!!warm,Fudgy,yummmmmmm!!!!!!!

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Made the Pave this weekend. I used small disposable loaf pans and made half the recipe. The first pic shows the two just baked cakes (excellent, basic chocolate cake recipe. I loved it.) with a 10 inch chef's knife to give you an idea of their size. Sorry fopr the bad quality on some of these pics, I'm usually better than this :smile: :

gallery_5404_94_32526.jpeg

gallery_5404_94_40270.jpeg

gallery_5404_94_36364.jpeg

gallery_5404_94_18770.jpeg

As you can tell (hopefully) I glazed one cake and dusted the other one. I think I like the glazed look better. The taste was formidable, moist, rich and deeply satisfying. I was a little surpised by the owrk involved. From reading the instructions they "sounded" easier. Next time I want to make the full recipe in a larger loaf pan. I bet that would look impressive and half the work :wacko: .

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Looks good, Elie! I think I also like the look of your glazed pave. That's gives me a good reason to make another one --this time with the glaze (as if I needed an excuse).

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Elie -- the paves look wonderful. I think they're really lovely when they're small. You're right that the pave will be more impressive if you make it larger, but I think there's something very elegant about the smaller size.

And, Richard -- the madeleines look very good. I, too, get some holes in the ribbed section of my shells and I've seen holes in professionally made madeleines as well. Personally, the holes don't bother me, but I think they are the result of air in the batter and you should be able to knock the bubbles out of the batter by rapping the filled molds on the counter (once should do it) before you slide them into the oven. See if that helps.

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Dorie-

The small size sure make them look cute and classy. However, it really makes working with them (slicing, filling, frosting, glazing) much more labor intensive. I'll tell you one thing though, my skills definitly improved working on these two.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Patricia, I liked the lemon chocolate combination quite well but if you're not a big fan then I would recommend having a lot of people around to share the cake with as it's very very rich. I think it would freeze nicely though.

PatrickS & Patricia, I had at least some trouble with each of Riveria cake components but I think I was trying to rush through it too quickly.

The lemon cream you already know about, I think my bowl was suspended too high and there wasn't enough bowl surface to steam exposure. I'll probably try making this again, probably for the lemon tart.

For the flourless chocolate cake, I got three discs out of the batter instead of four. I had never made a cake like that before, with the whipped whites and the piping, so I gave each disc a bit extra so that there would be no chance of holes. In the end, that turned to be a lucky coincidence because the batter spreads as it bakes and apparently my oven has a slight slant so the rounds didn't bake up in perfect circles. Once the darkened edges were trimmed off, I got three near-perfect useable rounds of cake.

Patrick, do your other flourless chocolate cakes use a similar method? I was surprised at how these cakes baked. When they were done, they were very flat and quite dense, about 1/4" in height. Chewy and chocolately.

I should mention here that the lemon disc took about two hours to freeze solid in my fridge freezer.

The chocolate mousse was, by far, the most stressful component. When I folded the chilled whipped cream into the melted chocolate, the mousse seized! Panicking and freaking out but determined to salvage it, I set the bowl over low heat and melted the whole thing back down to a ganache consistency, stuck it in the stand mixer and whipped the heck out of it. Got it to the point where it was roughly twice its original volume (noticably less than it would have been had it folded together properly) and set it aside. Whipped the egg/sugar mixture without any problems (really neat to see it come together) and folded that into the seized-melted-whipped chocolate/cream mixture.

But despite all the previous hiccups, it assembled and unmolded like a charm and the finished cake was really tasty (hard to go wrong on that part though). And unless someone had seen the book, seen me make it or made it themselves, they wouldn't have known that it didn't come out like it should have.

Drats, I wish I had taken pictures. Comparing mine with the picture in the book, my mousse is denser (due to the salvaging), my lemon cream is lighter (due to not coming up to 180F) and I'm not sure about the chocolate cake. Probably denser too.

I'm glad I made this cake, it was a great learning experience. The seized mouse is still bothering me though. Based on what I read in Shirley Corriher's Cookwise, what happened was not unexpected. I was adding a cold compenent with liquid to warm chocolate that was not melted with additional liquid or butter like other mousse recipes I've made. Anyone have any ideas about this?

Edited by plunk (log)
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Richard, it looks as if you may not have made the batter very smooth before hand. There are ways to alter the rpcedure you did to make it better. Also if your batter was done right, allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes on the counter before pouring and baking... that should help a bit.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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The seized mouse is still bothering me though. Based on what I read in Shirley Corriher's Cookwise, what happened was not unexpected. I was adding a cold compenent with liquid to warm chocolate that was not melted with additional liquid or butter like other mousse recipes I've made. Anyone have any ideas about this?

When your folding a cold item into warm chocolate it is a bit tricky. But theres a couple things you can do to assure success. Your chocolate should be rather warm, just finished melting (around 110F to 115F) . When it's very warm it gives you the time you need to incorporate the whipped cream into the chocolate before the chocolate tightens up from the cream. If you use just slightly warm chocolate (at 100F or lower), it will sieze up before you can throughly fold in your whipped cream. You also might find it easier to add the whipped cream in 2 stages. Putting only half in at first gives you a smaller volume to handle and throughly blend into the chocolate. The mixture won't look light and fluffy, you have to give it some force to blend throughly. Don't stop, then add the second half of your cream and that half will lighten it up.

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Patrick, do your other flourless chocolate cakes use a similar method?

I've used maybe half a dozen flourless chocolate cake recipes, and none of them involved piping the batter, I guess because they had a much higher proportion of wet ingredients. Also, none of them came out chewey, I suppose for the same reason. When I get around to trying this recipe, Ill be sure to post pictures.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Richard, I think you madeleines look nice, holes and all. One observation I made, and I have no idea if this has anything to do with why you got those holes, is that your batter in the molds looks warmer/wetter/shinier than mine did. My batter was stiff like peanut butter, and I just had chunks sitting in the molds before I baked them. When I put them in the oven, thats when it got warm and filled out the molds.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Richard, I think you madeleines look nice, holes and all. One observation I made, and I have no idea if this has anything to do with why you got those holes, is that your batter in the molds looks warmer/wetter/shinier than mine did. My batter was stiff like peanut butter, and I just had chunks sitting in the molds before I baked them. When I put them in the oven, thats when it got warm and filled out the molds.

That may be it, Patrick. The batter was cold from chilling for an hour, but I thought perhaps it got too stiff, not knowing how it should fill the molds. So I smoothed it out in the mold to fill them and noticed that it was getting warmer as I did that.

Chantiglace -- you may be onto part of it too. The butter did not get as warm as I hoped, and you could see small but distinct chunks of butter throughout the batter. Would that account for the holes?

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I made the Simple Chocolate Mousse just now. This will replace my old fallback mousse recipe--Pierre's take on it is so incredibly easy, and so delicious! It will be a real struggle to not make this every night.

(And six servings? Try two! :laugh: )

edit: One thing I did was cut up some of my leftover chocolate and strew them evenly in the mousse. I loved the unexpected shards of chocolate mixed in with the creaminess!

Edited by Ling (log)
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edit: One thing I did was cut up some of my leftover chocolate and strew them evenly in the mousse.

:huh:

You're kidding, right Ling? There couldn't have been any leftover chocolate at your house. :wink:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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