I am lucky enough to have owned a copy of Rose’s “A Passion For Chocolate” in which Rose translates and adapts the recipes of Maurice and Jean-Jacques Bernachon. It is a wonderful book filled with fantastic chocolate recipes from the simple to the sublime. I think over the years I have made everything in it. This succes is used throughout the book as a base for many recipes and fillings and frostings. All are wonderful.
I have always viewed this recipe as a bit of a contradiction. It is very simple, only 4 ingredients and the batter comes together in just a few minutes. However, it is a bit tricky. The egg whites need to be beaten stiff enough or once the almods are added the batter becomes runny and it is hard to pipe. The baked cake is thin and flat. It isn’t that hard to do but then once done correctly comes another tiny problem. The layers are very fragile and soft and sticky and great care must be taken when handling them or you end up with crumbs. This really isn’t a problem unless your like me and not at all patient. I like to get them off the parchment and onto the cooling rack and sometimes I rush it and have a disaster on my hands. So, while this is a very simple recipe with very simple techniques I always approach making a succes with trepidation. Always keeping in the back of my mind. “Slow down, take your time, be patient”. I think it worked this time.
The recipe is simplicity itself. Egg whites are whipped until foamy and then the cream of tartar is added. The egg whites are then beaten on high speed until doubled in volume. Sugar is added and they are whipped until stiff and glossy. Then the almond/sugar mixture is folded in and the batter is piped onto a baking sheet in three 8 inch circles. Mine baked for 15 minutes at 325 degress in my convection oven. Then they sit for a moment or two and then are carefully (and I stress carefully) removed from the parchment sheets and set to cool completely.
Then on to the ganache. I was intriqued by this tea ganache. I wondered what the lemon flavored tea would do to the taste and also what the addition of creme fraiche would bring to an already decadent frosting. I was quite surprised. I am not sure if I tasted the tea at all but I did notice the slight lemon flavor in the background and the subtle tang that the creme fraiche added made it well worth the cost you have to pay for it (or the time it takes to make it yourself) if you can find it at all. All in all I loved this ganache.
No offense intended to Rose but I flatly refuse to drag out a food processor to make ganache. It is just too easy to make it the old fashioned way to be bothered with getting out the processor and then having to clean it and put away when I can make this in one bowl. Here is how I did it.
I chopped the chocolate and put it in a bowl. I combined the cream and creme fraiche and scalded them in a small sauce pan. Then I added the tea and stirred to make sure it was disolved. Then I poured the cream mixture over the chocolate and let is stand for a few minutes. Then I stirred it with a wire whip until it was smooth. I let is sit for one hour and then covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit for a few hours until it was a smooth spreading consistency.
Assembling the cake is easy but takes a bit of waiting time. I anchored the first layer to my serving plate with a bit of ganache. Then I spread a layer of ganache on the succes layer, topped it with a second succes layer and refrigerated it for and hour. I then spread the second layer with ganche and added the top succes layer and refrigerated it for an hour. I then evened my layers around the edges and covered the top and sides with ganache and finsihed decorating.
This is a totally rich and heavenly dessert for a small amount of effort, a little (or in my case alot) of patience and a bit of waiting time. All it takes is a little patients and you are in for a heavenly treat.
Next up: Sybil’s Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream