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!