February 4, 2011

French Fridays Twofer

I fell impossibly behind with my French Fridays with Dorie project. For the most part, I've made the recipes each week, but I haven't taken the time to get lots of photographs or blog about the results.

To play catchup, I'll tell you about these two Around My French Table recipes I made in January: Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake and Chicken B'Stilla.

First, the chocolate mousse cake: a fairly basic mousse recipe, which is divided in half, then you pile half into a springform pan and bake it. After it comes out of the oven, you put the rest of the mousse on top and chill it. Different method, right? And I didn't have the greatest results.

Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

I thought the mousse tasted great before baking. While it was baking, I started to smell something burning, and though I cooked it several minutes less than the recipe directed, the mousse had burned. I tried to cut off the burned parts, and then I piled the remaining mousse on top and chilled it. When it came time to serve, I dusted it with three varieties of cocoa powder, for some color contrast.

Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

I had high hopes for this one after reading the ingredients list and doing a preliminary taste test on the mousse, but the finished product was mediocre. I would rather have served the mousse as it was before baking.

I had much better success with the Chicken B'Stilla. You start with chicken thighs marinated in garlic and spices, then boiled in broth, then shred the meat after it's so tender it's falling off the bone. The chicken is mixed with onions, lemon, eggs, honey, pepper, and chopped herbs and served in a filo dough pie topped with cinnamon and sugar. Very beautiful and delicious!

Chicken B'Stilla

February 1, 2011

San Diego Extraordinary Desserts

You know what was as good as the food and mild winter weather in San Diego? The desserts. Check out the flavor selection at Pappalecco: Stracciatella, Pappalecco, Nutella, Arancia, Fragola, Nocciola, Cioccolato Fondente, Banana, Cioccolato, Pistacchio, Mocha, Vaniglia, Coco, Limon.

Pappalecco Gelato

I tried Arancia and Pappalecco. Arancia was a blood orange sorbetto, and their house flavor, Pappalecco, was a chocolate amaretto gelato with chocolate amaretti folded in. Amazing!

Extraordinary Desserts

As soon as I found out I was going to San Diego, I knew I'd have to make a pilgrimage to Extraordinary Desserts. They have some of the most beautiful desserts I've ever seen. Their display case was filled with beautiful cakes, pavlovas, shortcakes - all adorned with ribbons, fruit, gold leaf, flowers, etc.

Extraordinary Desserts

Luckily I was able to convince a couple of liberry buddies to accompany me, which was good because I got to sample more desserts. One of my friends tried the Gianduia Cake that I'd ordered last time and tried to recreate. I have to brag and say that I've mastered it. Mine tasted as good as the original. Another friend ordered the Truffe Framboise, described as "Fresh raspberries and kirsch moistened chocolate cake layers are surrounded by bittersweet Valrhona chocolate mousse, with fresh raspberries bursting inside and out."

Extraordinary Desserts

I opted for the Passion Fruit Ricotta Torte, an anti-chocolate option. "Ricotta cake layers, soaked with passion fruit juice and layered with passion fruit whipped cream, kiwis, strawberries and bananas. A tropical explosion!" It was lighter than my friends' rich chocolate desserts, and the tartness of the kiwi and passion fruit was just right.

Extraordinary Desserts

And the last thing I ate before getting on the plane home was the Coppa Croccante at Chocolat Cremerie. More gelato, this time Pistachio, Hazelnut, & Coconut, topped with amaretto cookies and fresh whipped cream. The gelato bars could give Extraordinary Desserts some good competition.

Chocolat Cremerie San Diego