Friday, February 10, 2012

Flowers & Chocolate

Symbols of love have varied over cultures. In the 21st century, the most stereotypical are roses and chocolate. Both are thoughtful presents for our beloveds. I salute you with two of the same in the form of a recipe for a Chocolate Gateau served at Claude Oscar Monet's home, Giverny. And, the flowers are from his personally designed, colorfilled garden. The warm colors of the tulips bespeak love. Happy Valentine's Day.

Giverny’s Chocolate Gateau

This recipe uses equal quantities by weight of eggs, butter, chocolate and sugar, so these ingredients will have to be weighed to find the exact amount to use.

Serves 8

2 eggs, separated

About 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

About 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

About ½ cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Weigh the eggs then weigh out an equal amount of butter, chocolate and confectioner’s sugar.

Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler with 2 tablespoons water. After it is melted, remove from the heat and beat in the butter. When the mixture is smooth let it cool.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat the egg yolks well then stir them into the chocolate mixture. Add the confectioner’s sugar and the flour.

Beat the egg whites into stiff peaks (I add ¼ teaspoon Cream of Tartar) and fold them into the mixture. Pour into a well-greased cake pan, round or square, and bake for 20 minutes.

I found this recipe  in Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet by Claire Joyes. I like to imagine Monet and Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas, Cezanne, Rodin, and Whistler, all illustrious artists of the 19th century, enjoying this cake after lunch or at tea in the gardens of Giverny, Monet’s colorful home.

A friend recently advised me to add a copper penny inside each tulip to help them stand upright longer.


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