Friday, December 14, 2007

On The Fourteenth Day of Christmas: Sweet Like Chocolate, Girls

A couple weeks ago, I had a veritable Chocolate Extravaganza get-together at my place. The occasion? Oh, I don't know. Isn't wanting to eat a lot of chocolate enough? Do we NEED an occasion? I didn't think so.

Actually, I was convinced I had to throw this party-of-a-kind by my two cousins. Those of you who's been around for a while know I have a weird family tree, so naturally, these two aren't my real cousins, but my Bonus-mom's nieces. They're 15 and 20 years old, respectively, we battle each other in SingStar and on top of that, they're gorgeous, tall, blond, funny girls and one loves food more than the other. They get all of that from their Mom, my Bonus-Aunt, I'm sure. It's a tough family to like, eh?;)

In October last year, we all, bonus-mom, my dad and my younger siblings, bonus-aunt and bonus cousins, me and Martin, had the good fortune to spend a couple days, courtesy of Bonus-Granddad, at a beautiful place on Fyn. Fyn is where Hans Christian Andersen was born, and yes, it is kind of fairytale-ish, if you ask me. I mean, we stayed at a castle fer crying out loud!

What we also did while there, was to go to Falsled Kro, one of the best restaurants in Denmark, to have hot chocolate and croissants. They served proper hot chocolate there - as in "you can stand a spoon upright in this, and it'll stay put upright" hot chocolate. The girls were swooning. And that was when I made the minor faux pas of mentioning I could certainly make this, too!

Then, during this summer, we went on a brief stint to Skagen (the northern-most point of Denmark), and had lunch, just Martin, the cousins and me. We went to Ruth's Hotel:

- a cute, old hotel and brasserie, run by one of the best chefs in Denmark. We had Gâteau Marcel. And F, the older cousin, almost cried. It was soooo good. And I told them why, I have the recipe for that cake at home in one of my books. And that was how I was lured...

Fast forward more than a year, and I finally pulled myself and 1 kilo (!!!) of Valrhona chocolate together and made them awesome thick, hot chocolate. And chocolate cake. Just to make sure we all got the theobromine we needed. It is a womans right, you know.

Gâteau Marcel - from Michel Micheaud

For some reason, I wasn't quite pleased with this. It wasn't as dark and heavy as I remembered it from Ruth's Hotel. It was probably the chocolate I used (which, silly me, I'm not that much into really dark chocolate, so I used half 70% and half milk chocolate) so I URGE you to try it with all dark chocolate - it was AWESOME back at Ruth's. I've never tried making chocolate curls before, but it was easy and fun, and I love the sophisticated look.

140 g. dark chocolate (70%)
140 g. sugar
140 g. unsalted butter
7 egg whites
5 egg yolks

One 24 cm. spring form cake pan, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, add the butter and 80 g. sugar.
Take of the heat, then stir in the egg yolks.
Whip the egg whites until just stiff. Add the last 60 g. sugar, then whip until peaks form.
Mix the egg whites into the chocolate mixture - gently, gently.
Use three quarters of the batter for baking - gently pour it into the prepared spring form pan. Bake for about 40 minutes. Cover the rest of the batter, and leave in the fridge until later.
Once the cake has cooled, add the refrigerated batter to the top of the baked cake. Serve with chocolate curls on top, or sift a little cocoa or powdered sugar on top.

Proper Hot Chocolate
Chop 200 g. of best quality dark chocolate. Put in a big container. L, the younger cousin actually had me add 100 grams more chocolate, it just wasn't thick enough, she thought. That girl is crazy about her chocolate...;)

Gently heat 500 ml. milk and 200 ml. whipping cream in a pot, together with 3 tablespoons sugar. If you like, throw in a split vanilla pod, too. Once it's just below boiling point - do NOT let it boil! - pour over the chopped chocolate, while whisking gently. You're just whisking to melt the chocolate, so small circular motions will do. Leave to cool. You can easily make this a day in advance, in fact, it will leave the flavors time to develop. It'll keep in the fridge.

Once you're ready to drink, gently heat the chocolate-mixture, again, taking care not to let it boil. Lightly hand whip 2-300 ml. whipping cream (yes, it does make a difference whether you whip by hand or with a mixer. In my book, anyways)

Serve the hot chocolate with a spoonful of whipped cream on top, and more on the side. This portion will make enough for 8 small cups, but it really is crazy rich - you can't drink more than a small cup. Even though you really, really want to.

The cake here in the last picture is not the Gâteau Marcel - it was a chocolate cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting, and while it looked good, it was a disappointment - therefore, you get no recipe. Yes, I actually made two chocolate cakes to go with the hot chocolate. When you're going do it, you might as well go all the way!


Jennie said...

Yeah! Me likey this post!!!

I must try Marcel's cake! My flourless chocolate cake is a tad on the runny side. Yours looks perfect.

I splurged and bought Valhrona cocoa powder at Irma's for this year's hot chocolate experience, but I've been too afraid to try it yet. Scared I might go into choco-shock...

Love, Hvedholm! A girl should definitely sleep in a bed with a canopy once in her life.

Pedrsn™ said...

sooo what's with the white stuff on top?


ser lækkert ud - og jæs det er nemlig vigtigt med den mørke choko! :) SÅ BLIR DEN SUPA DUPA..

word out

Zarah Maria said...

Jennie - The Valrhona cocoa powder is great, I haven't used it in hot cocoa yet, though (don't tell anyone, but I like my O'boy/Nesquick in cold milk, and when I'm going for the hot stuff, I want CHOCOLATE proper in it) Oh, and if you do try the cake, let me know how it turns out!

Pedrsn - mener du det hvide ovenpå kagen i det sidste billede, med den varme chokolade? Det er en anden kage, ikke Gâteau Marcel'en - det ville da være en synd uden lige at komme cream cheese frosting på gâteau Marcel! (også selvom jeg er STOR fan af cream cheese frosting - men hver ting til sin tid, ik?) Skrev bare ikke om den anden kage, for den var så'n en skuffelse, men må hellere lige rette det i posten, så folk ikke tager fejl... Eller vent, mente du the white stuff på chokoladen? For jo, guilty as charged: jeg er SÅ glad for flødeskum :D I øvrigt godt at vide det bare er mig, der har lavet en upser med kagen - ku' heller ikke forstå det. Den får en ommer!

Pedrsn™ said...

ajaa ! det var det sidste billede dér jeg fik luret på - kagen med den fine hvide frosting.. ;)

.. Ved bare ikke hva' jeg tænkte - men troede nok lige det var Gâteau Marcel i nye klæder! hehe


Emma said...

I was actually, some years back in Ruth's hotel and we were big fans of famous Marcel!
So now it's in the oven but the colour of the cake didn't look quite right, it's just too light, even with 70% choco' and a bit of cocoa powder... we'll see on the taste!