Monday, June 01, 2009

The Sweet Life in Paris: On a chocolate bender


"Don't expect a light airy cake," David Lebovitz writes of his chocolate spice bread. "Pain d'epices is meant to be dense and packed with flavor." And so it is, just not a flavor anyone in this family relished. Too chocolatey for me, too "weird" for everyone else. I think they were referring to the anise. 

Also made Lebovitz's chocolate mole  which I served with chicken.
 
Ugly picture. Sorry. It tasted better than it looked, though as with all the moles I've attempted, this one struck me as less than the sum of its parts. Children did not appreciate, but I didn't expect them to. 

On the other hand, they loved the basic, severely chocolatey chocolate mousse. I had forgotten how easy it is to make chocolate mousse. 

Perhaps because I don't like chocolate.
 
Finally, I baked Lebovitz's cheesecake, which only looks like chocolate because our oven is so dysfunctional.
Despite the charred appearance, it was actually very delicious.

Here are the remaining desserts I'd like to make before finishing with Lebovitz's book:

-absinthe cake
-chocolate chip cream puffs
-lemon-glazed madeleines
-cinnamon vacherin with espresso caramel ice cream, chocolate sauce and toasted almonds
-floating island
-fromage blanc souffle
-salted butter caramel sauce
-chocolate-coconut marshmallows

Given that I want to move on to a new book after Thursday, what should I definitely do and what should I drop? 

16 comments:

  1. Put a poll on your sidebar, and allow multiple votes. It's too hard for me to remember all of them, and I am overly emotionally invested in the choice you make. Food is important!

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  2. Clearly the caramel sauce. A floating island sounds cool but time intensive. And as many others as you can squeeze in of course!

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  3. I love being asked for my opinion!
    So, i feel strongly that you should omit anything involving chocolate- no reason for you to be a martyr about the chocolate, when you are in charge! And you've cooked a lot of chocolate desserts lately it seems. So, i vote for:
    -absinthe cake
    -lemon-glazed madeleines
    -fromage blanc souffle
    -salted butter caramel sauce
    -floating island

    And what book is next?

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  4. I like the list above. Sounds most interesting. Could you save a bit for me? I've been missing a lot of special treats.

    Mom

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  5. I think the cinnamon vacherin with all the stuff sounds good, as does the salted caramel sauce.

    Absinthe cake just sounds silly, plus you probably don't want the kids to even try it. I'd go for the crowd pleasers.

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  6. Girl Detective -- I know. I just now ruled out the absinthe cake. Interesting idea and one of the recipes I was SURE I was going to try, but no one is going to like it except maybe me and the last thing I need is another cake i end up eating all by myself.
    One of the virtues of doing all this chocolate baking is that it's not so tempting to me.

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  7. floating island...! a treasured dessert from my youth..

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  8. floating island...! a treasured dessert from my youth..

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  9. Georgia Jewel6/1/09, 7:30 PM

    The weirder the better...
    -absinthe cake (Come on, it sounds cool...)
    -fromage blanc souffle
    -salted butter caramel sauce
    -chocolate chip cream puffs

    I love your family's reactions.

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  10. I vote for the caramel sauce, floating island and chocolate coconut marshmallows. I know Iwould love all of these.

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  11. I vote definitely for the caramel sauce (it looks like the crowd is with me there) and the madelines. Fromage blanc souffle sounds interesting too. Can't wait to see how they turn out. I've enjoyed your blog and am looking forward to adding some of the cookbooks you've cooked thru to my library.

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  12. the salted caramel sauce and any of his ice creams- he's also got a book just on them

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  13. Make the fromage blanc souffle. There's been enough chocolate in your life lately. (But is there a place to get fromage blanc in the US? Seems like one of those delicious European dairy products that don't exist here, but you do live in Bay Area market heaven.) Not sure what a vacherin is but those ingredients sound interesting together.

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  14. If you do the souffle, you can make your own fromage blanc--it's very easy. Page 71.

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  15. Laurie Muchnick6/3/09, 10:09 AM

    This isn't what you asked, but if you haven't tried David Leibovitz's Fresh Ginger Cake, you must bake it immediately. It's from one of his earlier books, but here's a link to the recipe on Epicurious:
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fresh-Ginger-Cake-103238

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  16. When I lived in the USA, I searched high and low for fromage blanc, but only found it at the end of my stay - Polish and Russian stores usually have it. I am always surprised that it is not readily available, as it a byproduct of cheesemaking - or rather, a first step towrd cheese. Not very fancy! It can be used in savoury and sweet dishes and is an Austrian basic... so I am all for the French Cheesecake, it sounds good.

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