Sunday, January 13, 2013

Save The Best To Last

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.
Ernestine Ulmer
Keeping in step with French cuisine the dessert and a cheese plate were served last though some would have loved seeing it first. How lucky for me I had a guest who volunteered to make Madeleines. She had the pan.

Madeleines are little cakelike cookies that are baked in special molds that give them a delicate shell shape. According to one story the name "Madeleine" was given to the cookies by Louis XV to honor his father in-law's cook Madeleine Paulmier. Louis first tasted them at the Chateau Commercy in Lorraine in 1755. Louis' wife, Marie introduced them to the court and they soon became all the rage at Versailles. Whatever the origins, they have become inextricably linked with the author Marcel Proust, who described them as "...little shell of cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating."
By  the time I remembered to take a photo there were only 3 left.  A dusting of powdered sugar made these a yummy treat.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup regular sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  •  1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 6 TB. butter melted and cooled
  • Beat the eggs with sugar, vanilla and half of the milk until thick and light yellow. Add the flour and baking powder bit by bit and continue mixing until smooth. Stir in the rest of the milk and the melted butter. 
  • Grease Madeleine tray if necessary
  • Spoon about two tablespoons of batter into each mold
  • Bake 375 for 14 minutes
  • Cool on a rack
Options: consider flavoring Madeleines with orange or lemon zest and ground nuts

Chocolate and Cointreau Mousse
Mousse in French literally means froth or foam. This melt in your mouth mousse marries the flavors of chocolate and orange. It makes a grand finale to a meal. The dessert can be served in a large bowl or individual glasses. For something different use a martini glass to serve the mousse in.
Recipe serves 10-12
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 6 TB. butter
  •  1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 TB. cocoa powder
  • 5 large eggs separated 
  • 3 -4 TB. Cointreau (could substitute Grand Marnier)
  • 3/4 of a pint of whipping cream
  • 3 TB. sugar
  • Separate egg yolks from whites
  • Break the chocolate into squares and place the chocolate, butter and orange juice in the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water
  • When the chocolate starts to melt whisk the mixture to blend it (tip place bowl in sink each time you whisk the mixture)
  • After the chocolate and butter have melted remove from heat, stir in the cocoa powder
  • Whisk in egg yolks and Cointreau  and simmer all of this over water for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Remove from heat to cool
  • Beat egg whites with sugar
  • Beat whip cream
  • Fold whip cream that has been whipped and beaten egg whites together
  • Fold this mixture into cooled chocolate mixture
  • Refrigerate till serving if more than a few hours cover with wax paper
Paris Diner Wrap up next blog

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