A beautifully photographed book full of luxuriously decedent easy to follow recipes that is sure to become a must have for all those the a passion for chocolate.
Master Patissier Eric Lanlard shares more than 100 of his favourite recipes that use the ingredient he loves the most – chocolate.
As a young patisserie chef, Eric was taught how to make chocolate and he went on to train as an apprentice chocolatier. He has since been fascinated with this ingredient, making it his mission to master the techniques of moulding, blending, shaping and baking with chocolate. Now you can share Eric’s passion as he reveals his tried-and-tested techniques with this new selection of chocolate-based recipes, from quick bakes, cakes and simple sauces to show-stopping party pieces and after-dinner treats, all with easy-to-follow methods and helpful tips.
With foolproof recipes and gorgeous photography by Kate Whitaker, this is a must-have cookbook for chocolate-lovers everywhere.
Master pâtissier and chocolatier Eric Lanlard recently took some time to answer a few of our questions about a passion in his life which also happens to be the subject of his latest book Chocolat.
Was there a moment that you knew you had to become a pastry chef?
I wanted to be a pastry chef since the age of six. I lived in a small town in Britanny and like most towns and villages in France it was full of the most beautiful patisserie shops. Every weekend my mum would buy a selection of patisserie and I was mesmerised by the whole experienced – the beautifully crafted cakes and desserts, the packaging – in France patisseries are like jewellery shops.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Like anyone, who is creative, in everything that I see and experience – I travel a great deal and am lucky enough and live in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. You don’t have to look very far for inspiration.
What is it about chocolate that you still find so inspiring and fascinating?
Chocolate is such a versatile ingredient – it’s luxurious and it’s adaptable – it really is my favourite baking ingredient and can add a touch of decadence to cakes, desserts and even cocktails. I chose Le Grand Patisserie in Quimper my home town to do my apprenticeship because they made their own chocolate. I am a Chocolatier as well as a patissier – I feel very fortunate to have walked through a fertile hacienda in South America and a plantation in Trinidad to touch, taste and smell the raw ingredient and then witness the long process of the cocoa beans being roasted, conched and blended and moulded into delicious chocolate bars, eggs and other fabulous confectionary.
Best way or technique to melt chocolate?
Use a good quality chocolate this will give you the best results. Melting chocolate using a bain-maire – in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. The secret is to melt the chocolate slowly and gently over a very low heat – ensuring that the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Alternatively, you can put chocolate into a a microwavable bowl and zap it in the microwave on high power for a few seconds at a time, stirring gently in between burst, until melted.
We are launching the Cake Boy baking app – which will be available globally – it’s really exciting and we’ve been working on it for most of this year in between launching books, making cakes and appearing at Cake shows and demos.
Double chocolate macaroons
Salted butter caramel cake
Double chocolate macaroons
Macaroons are still popular and fashionable, with more and more extraordinary flavors available. For me, you cannot beat a rich dark chocolate macaroon. I call these ones double, because they are sandwiched together with chocolate filling, too.
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus standing and cooling
Cooking time: 25 minutes
12⁄3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1¼ cups ground almonds (almond meal)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons superfine sugar (or the same amount of granulated sugar processed in a food processor for 1 minute) red paste food coloring
finely chopped semisweet chocolate, to decorate
For the filling
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Start by making the filling. Melt the chocolate and butter with the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Stir well until smooth, then let cool until thickened and a piping consistency but not hard.
Meanwhile, make the macaroons. Line four baking sheets with parchment paper. Put the confectioners’ sugar, ground almonds, and cocoa powder into a food processor and grind to a fine powder. Sift the powder into a bowl.
In a separate, clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the superfine sugar a little at a time. Just before the whites are peaking, add a point of a knife of red food coloring (to enhance the natural reddish color of the cocoa powder). Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold the almond mixture into the egg whites until smooth and glossy but not runny.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain piping tip, then pipe circles about 1¼ inches in diameter onto the prepared baking sheets. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature to let the tops start to dry. (In France, this is called croutage.) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300°F.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the parchment paper peels off easily from the macaroons. Let cool completely on the baking sheets, then remove them from the parchment paper.
When the macaroons are cold, spoon the filling into a pastry bag, then pipe some ganache onto the bottom of a macaroon. Sandwich together with a second macaroon. Repeat with the remaining macaroons. Sprinkle with finely chopped semisweet chocolate to decorate before serving. Store the macaroons in airtight containers for up to a few days. It is best not to put them in the refrigerator, because this makes them sticky.
Salted butter caramel cake
I am a huge fan of salted butter caramel, and after plenty of experiments, I’ve come up with this delicious recipe, which is made of layers of salted butter caramel cookie baked into a rich and dark chocolate cake, a winning recipe.
Preparation time: 35 minutes, plus chilling and cooling
Cooking time: 45 minutes
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150ml (¼ pint) milk
4 eggs, separated
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
pinch of sea salt crystals, to decorate
For the caramel cookie
8 ounces graham crackers (about 2 cups when crumbs)
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
½ cup light cream
1 stick salted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 pinches of sea salt
For the chocolate glaze
8 ounces semiswseet chocolate, chopped
1 cup light cream
First, make the caramel cookie. Grease two 8½-inch diameter cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Put the graham crackers into a food processor and process to fine crumbs. Put the sugar and water into a heavy saucepan and dissolve over low heat. Increase the heat and cook until it forms an amber caramel. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream, followed by the butter and salt. Stir the cookie crumbs into the caramel, then divide equally between the prepared pans and press down with the back of a spoon. Place in the freezer to set.
To make the sponge cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a deep 8½-inch diameter loose-bottom cake pan and line with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter with the milk in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.
In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar, using an electric handheld mixer, until pale and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
Remove the caramel cookie circles from the freezer and remove them from the pans, discarding the lining paper. Place one of the circles on the bottom of the prepared loose-bottom cake tin and spread with half of the cake batter. Lay the other cookie circle on top and cover with the remaining cake batter.
Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the cake is just cooked—it should be almost undercooked for extra gooeyness. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a saucepan and heat to simmering point, then pour one-quarter over the chocolate. Let rest for 1 minute, until the chocolate starts to melt, then gently stir in the rest of the cream until smooth and glossy.
Cover the cooled cake with the chocolate glaze and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the top and down the side. Lightly sprinkle sea salt crystals on top of the cake, then chill it in the refrigerator until set before serving.
Recipes from Chocolat by Eric Lanlard, Mitchell Beazley 2013, photos by Kate Whitaker