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The Meritage Collection

MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT

Vincent Lesage | Executive Chef | Meritage Resort and Spa | Vista Collina Resort

Very easy and simple dessert, but very nostalgic dessert for me, is mousse au chocolat. Every Sunday my grandmother would make a big bowl of it and we would eat it with either some cookies or fresh fruit from the farmer’s market. The best is with raspberry or blackberry towards the end of the summer when they are very ripe and sweet. It is a very classical dessert and you will find it in most restaurant all over France, yet a good mousse au chocolat is hard to find. Here is the recipe for a perfect one that is also very easy to do.

Servings: 6 people:

  • 180g of dark chocolate – need a good chocolate – single origin preferable at 70%
  • 20g of butter
  • 150g heavy cream
  • 30g of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 50g of sugar
  • Extra dark chocolate for décor

Chop the dark chocolate and put it in a bowl. Pour heavy cream and milk in a pot and bring to a boiling point. Then, pour over the chocolate. Add butter and start mixing softly until all smooth. Separate egg yolks from egg whites. In a mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until you get stiff peek and then add sugar at the end. Finally add egg yolk and combine with chocolate mix in 3 steps: slowly whist first, then gently fold with a spatula. Pour the mix either in individual container or in a big bowl and cool down for at least 5 hours. Serve with either fresh fruit or cookies, biscotti.


MACARONS

Vincent Savignano | Executive Chef | Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

My wife and children were diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years back and we had to adjust our lifestyle to say the least. We love desserts and had to experiment with recipes or search out ones that we can enjoy. We love crème brulee and panne cotta but have been making macarons ever since. They do not last long in our house!

Note that the filling is usually a buttercream filling that is a bit technical, so we adjusted it to work so that anyone can do it. Also remember that after you pipe the macaron, let is sit and form a skin. This is crucial to getting the perfect cookie. We have fun with colors with the food coloring.

Macaron Shells:

  • 1 cup confectioner sugar
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of your favorite food coloring

Macaron Filling:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp whole or almond milk
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp favorite food coloring

Macaron Shells:

  1. Combine almond flour and confectioners' sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Pass mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on clumps.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites using a hand-mixer or stand-mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high for 2 more minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  3. Add vanilla and beat on high for another 30 seconds.
  4. Gently fold in dry ingredients and repeat until mixture is smooth and shiny, (with no visible dry ingredients) and begins to run a little but not too runny. Think lava consistency. Do not overfold.
  5. Take a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch round tip and fill with the batter.
  6. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone pad and pipe batter into 3/4-inch round circles, 1 inch apart. You can also purchase a macaron template. We found ours at Sur La Table.
  7. Tap the baking sheet firmly against the counter to release any air bubbles.
  8. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until they form a skin.
  9. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway, until cookies have risen and just set. The cookies should be able to just come off the baking sheet when you try to lift them.
  11. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream Filling:

  1. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, cream butter until soft and smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Make the Macarons:
  4. Transfer the buttercream filling into a piping bag with a round tip.
  5. Pipe a swirl of filling on half the cookies.
  6. Sandwich cookies together with the remaining halves.
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