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Chocolat by Eric
The world loves chocolate, and combine that with a dashing
chef with a rich French accent and recipes for goods that have graced
many a French patisserie window, and one has the makings of a
successful cookbook. Yes, it's true that one can’t actually hear Eric’s
Gallic tones but one can imagine.
Eric has impeccable culinary credentials having trained in France and
moved to London to run the patisserie side
of the business for the celebrated Roux brothers, Albert and Michel.
Eric now has his own enterprise called, unsurprisingly, Cake Boy, which
is a multi-functional cake shop, café and cookery school.
Chocolat is a book to tempt any home cook. The recipes are simple to
follow and include classics as well as family recipes. They range from
sophisticated milkshakes to romantic desserts, from timeless cakes to
whimsical truffles coated with popping candy. Everything contains
chocolate in some form, along with some imagination.
Harlequin is a striking layered confection of sponge with both white
and dark chocolate creams. Granted, the text for the recipe takes up a
whole page and that might at first be off-putting, but if one reads the
ingredients and the method for each element then it's evident that it's
easy going and just a matter of assembly to create an amazing and
A dessert that one finds in almost every French restaurant, bistro or
café is chocolate pots. It’s an unfussy preparation that appeals
to both adults and kids but Eric’s version has a little brandy so one
might want to leave that out if there are strong feelings about
children getting the taste for alcohol. I would personally leave in
this small volume as the kids won’t notice and it's hardly likely to
corrupt them. I am not suggesting that you give your 9-year-old a cigar
to follow, but an introduction to fine food can never come too early.
Indeed, an individual serving of anything always seems more special
than a slice of a communal dessert. The decoration remains pristine
till your own first bite and there is never an argument about who gets
the bit with the garnish or who gets the end with the most frosting -
it's democratic. Mini Red Velvet Cakes with White Chocolate Frosting
are snowy mountains capped with red. The interior is just as red as the
summit but this traditional American cake has been given a twist with
that addition of white chocolate frosting. That icing would work well
on chocolate cupcakes or as a topping to individual chocolate tarts.
My pick-of-the-book is a must-try recipe that one will want to use to
impress weekend visitors. It’s a make-ahead Hazelnut and Chocolate
Spread. Yes, one can buy jars of commercial spread but that won’t get
you praise from the in-laws. This morning treat contains the best of
ingredients and can be made and potted a couple of weeks before your
guests arrive, so all that’s needed are some large French bowls of hot
milky coffee, some crusty bread and a copy of Le Monde (or The Radio
Times for the linguistically challenged).
Author: Eric Lanlard
Published: Mitchell Beazley