RECIPES: Delicious Desserts From Francois Payard

Chef Francois Payard's latest cookbook, "Chocolate Epiphany," includes simple recipes to nurture home chefs who also happen to be chocolate lovers. Look below for Charlie's Afternoon Chocolate Cake, Triple Chocolate Financiers (on page 2) and Chocolate Brioche Pain Perdu, also known as Chocolate French Toast (on page 3). To see all of the recipes at once, click on the 'print' button at the right and all three will appear on the same page.


Recipe courtesy Francois Payard

Makes one 9-inch cake

Serves 8 to 10


Vegetable cooking spray, for the pan
All-purpose flour, for the pan
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces 60 percent chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the sides and bottom of a round 9-inch cake pan with vegetable cooking spray. Dust it with flour, shaking off the excess, and set aside.

2. Bring the butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir a couple of times to prevent it from burning. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

3. Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix well.

4. Add the chocolate to the batter and stir until the mixture is just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 300°F and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan. Unmold, and serve.


Recipe courtesy Francois Payard

Covers one 9-inch cake


8 ounces of 61 percent or 72 percent chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream


Place the chocolate and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Use immediately.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and place a wire cooling rack on top of the paper. Place the cake to be glazed (make sure it has been chilled) on the rack, and pour the glaze over its top. Use a spatula to even out the glaze and help it run down the sides of the cake. Let it cool at room temperature and serve within a few hours to make sure that the glaze retains its shine.



Piece of marble (at least 1/2 inch thick, kept in freezer overnight, or for at least 3 hours)
1/2 pound (250 grams) of dark chocolate, melted and kept hot at about 100 degrees farenheit.


Remove marble from freezer and clean with metal spatula and/or cloth to remove any frozen condensation.

Pour melted chocolate over marble and spread evenly. Watch for the coloration to change and the chocolate to begin to set. Remove from marble very quickly with spatula -- one quick motion and begin to shape. You will have a few seconds to mold the piece of chocolate to desired shape. Place on top of the glazed cake.


Recipe courtesy Francois Payard

Makes about 40 financiers


1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or finely ground blanched almonds
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 large egg whites, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon dark rum, such as Myers's
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
Vegetable cooking spray, for the molds
About 3 tablespoons semisweet mini chocolate chips
About 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs


Steps to make:

1. Sift together the confectioners' sugar, almond flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder over a large bowl. Whisk in the egg whites, rum, and vanilla extract, until just combined.

2. Whisk the honey into the butter, and whisk the mixture into the batter until everything is combined and lump-free. Cover the batter, and refrigerate it overnight or up to 4 days. This allows the flour to relax.

3. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray two 20-count financier molds with vegetable cooking spray. If using silicone molds, arrange them on a baking sheet.

4. Sprinkle 8 to 10 mini chocolate chips in each cup. Spoon the batter into a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag, and cut a ¼-inch opening in the tip or corner of the bag. Pipe the batter almost to the top of each cup, and sprinkle cocoa nibs over the top.

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the financiers spring back when you lightly press on them and the sides tightly pull back from the edges of the molds. Remove the molds from the oven and leave them on the baking sheet. Let the financiers cool in the molds. They can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry environment for up to 2 days.


Recipe courtesy Francois Payard

Serves eight

Ingredients (custard):

4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
5 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 quart whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients (pain perdu):
Two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaves brioche or chocolate brioche, cut into sixteen ½-inch-thick slices total
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, or more as needed
2 tablespoons honey, or more as needed

Ingredients (sautéed bananas):
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
4 bananas, cut into ½-inch pieces
3 tablespoons dark rum, such as Myers's
Confectioners' sugar


Steps to make:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and cocoa powder. When the mixture is smooth, whisk in the sugar, half the milk, and the vanilla bean or extract. Whisk in the remaining milk. Do not whisk in all the milk at once, or you'll risk having lumps in the custard.

2. Pour the custard in a shallow container. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. You will need 2 slices of brioche per serving. Soak each slice in the custard for about 1 minute, then turn it and soak the other side for 1 minute.

4. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon chocolate chips on 1 slice, and cover with a second slice. Press the top slice so that it adheres to the bottom remaining slices, to make 8 sandwiches. Place them on the baking sheet, and place it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, until the sandwiches are frozen enough that the two slices of bread stick together. This will help the pain perdu keep its shape while cooking and will ensure that the chocolate chips won't fall out.

5. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and remove the brioche sandwiches from the freezer.

6. Put the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, and let it melt until it begins to brown. Stir in the honey.

7. Place 3 or 4 brioche sandwiches in the pan, and cook each side for about 1 minute, until it turns golden brown. The center will still be frozen, but it will cook while in the oven. Remove the pain perdu to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining sandwiches. If necessary, clean the pan in between sandwiches with paper toweling, heating up more butter and honey before proceeding with the next sandwich.

8. Bake for about 10 minutes, until each sandwich is cooked all the way through.

9. While the pain perdu is in the oven, put the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, and let it melt until it begins to brown. Add the sugar, and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the sugar is melted.

10. Add the bananas, and stir so that they are completely coated in butter and sugar. Immediately pour the rum in the pan (see note), let it warm up for a couple of seconds, and ignite it with a match to flambé the bananas. When the flames die down, remove from the heat. The bananas should be warm when you serve them, so do this just before serving the pain perdu. Do not overcook them before flambéing, or they will be mushy.

11. Place 1 sandwich on each plate, and spoon some bananas over it. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately.

NOTE: Never pour alcohol directly from the bottle into a hot pan. The flame might be sucked into the bottle and make it explode. Pour the rum into a heatproof container or small saucer, and then pour it into the pan for flambéing.