Rome update on the way..meanwhile I will tantalize you by talking about cream and chocolate.
Last weekend I went to Edgar’s first communion.
The church (Notre Dame in Boulogne – not THE Notre Dame) was beautiful and the service was good. I was proud that I understood all the French, although a little less so after I found out the pastor was from Australia so he’s not a native speaker. After the service, the family was generous enough to invite me to their house for lunch. Myrtille made me try tuna sauce (I didn’t hate it but I would never cook it for myself) and we drank Veuve Cliquot to celebrate!
But, the highlight for me was the cake, which was Le Saint-Honoré from La Pâtesserie des rêves, (the best bakery in Paris according to Myrtille). This cake – OMG. What an indulgence! A base of puff pastry is covered in pastry cream (SO thick, SO creamy, SO perfect) with little cream puffs hidden throughout; then you encounter MORE cream but this time it’s the whipped variety (again, perfectly executed); there are cream puffs lining the edges, and covering each cream puff is a thin, shiny, crunchy layer of caramelized sugar, which is a great contrast to the creamy, divine middle. I’ve had many a great cake in my life and hope to have many more, but this one I will remember for a LONG time. The pain of having to babysit Sunday night, the next day, was severely lessened by the fact that there was leftover cake and I got another slice!
I was invited to a friend’s cousin’s house for dinner last night. I decided I wanted to make some truffles to bring as a host gift so I flipped through one of my birthday presents, Trish’s French Kitchen by Trish Deseine. I didn’t end up bringing the truffles because I had a texture problem – I didn’t chop the chocolate up small enough, so it didn’t melt all the way and they weren’t smooth. Also, I just realized I used 200g less chocolate than the recipe called for. Oops! They taste amazing which is why I am sharing this recipe, but I couldn’t bear to offer them to someone I just met for fear they would judge my cooking skills (wow, I don’t sound vain at all!). So, don’t be like me and read everything through and make sure you have the right amounts of everything and that you follow all my instructions!
Chocolate Truffles (Truffes au Chocolat)
slightly adapted from Trish’s French Kitchen
Notes: I used 2/3 normal chocolate from Monoprix and 1/3 of a 99% Lindt and the taste was great! Use what your budget can handle, except don’t use something like Hershey’s. Trish gives the options of using powdered sugar (icing sugar in Europe), powdered pistachios, and powdered piment d’Espelette as additional coating options. If you have them available, go for it, because they look pretty! If you use all four, you will only need 1 tbsp of each (including the cocoa powder).
-450g or 1lb good chocolate
-250ml or 1 cup heavy cream (crème legère in France)
-4 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Break the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a large, heatproof bowl. Very small means smaller than the squares that they will break into naturally – use a serrated knife and really chop it up.
2. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir together until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
3. Cool until the chocolate is hardened significantly and will be scoopable. You might need to put it in the fridge or freezer to help it reach the right consistency. (Trish says to stay away from the fridge but I had to use it because I didn’t use the right amount of chocolate.)
4. Place the cocoa powder in a bowl. Sift it first, or use a fork to break up any clumps.
5. Use a small spoon or cookie scoop to grab little balls of chocolate. Roll them in between your palms to create a smooth ball. Place the ball in the cocoa powder, then use a fork or your fingers to coat the whole ball with the powder.
6. Repeat until all the chocolate is gone. Store in a tupperware in the fridge or in a cool place until ready to serve.