Dessert. I don’t know if I even like ordering dessert at restaurants, but I’m fascinated by what chefs come up with at fancy restaurants. For instance: on the menu at The Bristol were items unfamiliar to me, so I made them.
I made the first item: Basque Cake — delicious, but the name is deceiving it’s cookie-like rather than cake-like. It has a filling of either pastry cream or a jam and a history that’s just as mysterious. There’s an entire museum dedicated to this confection in the Pyrenees, but the internet yields very little information about how and why it was derived. At the Bristol, it’s served with poached pears and butternut squash mousse. Apparently the pastry chef there sees things I cannot imagine. Maybe it’s a fine pairing? My instincts say no.
The other item I made is the Chocolate Cremeaux. Holy moly is this good. It needs nothing to enhance its magnificence. Maybe a glass of port or an espresso, but its velvety chocolateness is fantastic on its own.
It’s basically a very dense, creamy chocolate pudding.
I adapted the following from Food & Wine’s recipe.
The original called for two teaspoons of salt (think: salted caramel) — it was great for the first bite but way too salty for an entire dessert. It’s not that hard, it just requires a lot of refrigerator time.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 9 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped.
Whisk together the salt, sugar and egg yolks. Set aside. Combine the cream and milk in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk the milk mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.
Return the mixture to the sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of the spoon — about six minutes.
Quickly strain the mixture through a fine sieve and into a glass bowl.
Add the chocolate to the bowl and let it sink. After two minutes, quickly whisk the mixture until all the chocolate is melted and smooth. Divide among four 8oz ramekins. Cover in plastic — making sure the plastic goes directly on the pudding so a skin doesn’t form.
Refrigerate for five hours. Serve cold.
It’s creamy and it’s dreamy.
I also doubled the dessert by turning the extras to a chocolate tartlet by folding whipped cream into the pudding and putting it into my gluten-free crust experiment (chickpea flour, potato flour, brown rice flour — It was pretty good, but will cut back on the chickpea flour next time — very strong flavor for tart crust). The cremeaux is excellent for the cream pie filling.