Gosh, one month melds so rapidly into the next and before you know it the just-begun year is more than half over. Time does indeed fly: Easter now feels as distant as the outer reaches of the solar system yet was only three months ago. Now that summer has hit its stride Easter also seems like a different planet, one where the days were colder and central heating was needed as a talisman against the evening chill.
Easter is chocolate egg season. Now, I am fond of chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, but this year instead of buying an Easter egg I made an Easter treat of a chocolate-y desert called Saint-Émilion au Chocolat. I meant to post the recipe on the blog an age ago but forgot to do so until now. It’s my kind of desert because: it contains chocolate; it is incredibly easy to make being more assembly than cookery; and it tastes delicious.
I used a recipe that I found in one of my best-loved cookbooks, Simon Hopkinson’s ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’. The intro to the recipe gives a potted history of the desert, the original recipe comes from Elizabeth David’s French Country Cooking. It was apparently fashionable in the 1960’s appearing on menus all over the place, a fashion that’s obviously faded because it’s never seen (or I’ve not noticed it) these days on restaurant menus.
Just to clarity the macaroons required are not the posh-ified multicoloured ones but the more basic and rustic plain coloured ones. As these are difficult to source I used Italian amaretti biscuits instead.
Anyway enough of me rambling on, here’s the recipe:
100 g/4 oz unsalted butter, softened
100 g/4 oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk
200 ml/7 fl oz milk
225 g/8 oz dark chocolate broken into pieces
12 – 16 macaroons or Italian amaretti biscuits
a little rum or brandy
1. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until the mixture is well creamed.
2. Beat the egg yolk into the mix.
3. Put the chocolate pieces and the milk into a saucepan and put the saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool slightly. Then add it to the butter/sugar/egg yolk mixture and beat throughly.
4. Line the base of a souffle dish or four individual ramekins with some of the macaroons/amaretti biscuits and sprinkle over some rum/brandy. Cover with a layer of chocolate and then add a further layer of biscuits and a further splash of rum/brandy, top this with another layer of chocolate. Keep going until all the biscuits and chocolate mix are used up (the number of layers will depend on the size of your dish).
5. Chill for at least twelve hours before serving with dollops of whipped cream.
Have a good weekend!