RECIPES: Jacques Pepin's Favorite Desserts

Jacques Pepin

Chocolate Raspberry Gratin

Serves 4

This gratin of raspberries is a cinch to make. I always have IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) berries in my freezer and cookies in the pantry. When unexpected guests show up, this is ready to eat in minutes with spectacular results.

Ingredients

2 cups IQF or fresh raspberries

1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled shortbread cookies

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate morsels (about 1/2-inch size)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the frozen berries in a 4-cup gratin dish and distribute the crumbled cookies on top. Sprinkle on the sugar and Scharffen Berger chocolate morsels, dot with the butter, and bake in the 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Serve lukewarm with the sour cream.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in "Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way," published by the Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Jacques' Chocolate Roulade

Yield: a 15-inch cake roll, for 10 to 12 servings

"This is the best chocolate roulade I have ever had, it really is. Sometimes I find that sponge roll cakes can be dry, but this one has a moistness that is lovely. Using the ganache as a soufflé base is a marvelous idea." -- Julia Child

For the soufflé

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, in small pieces (70 percent cacao bittersweet)

7 large egg whites, at room temperature

2 Tbs granulated sugar

For the crème chantilly filling

1 cup heavy cream, well chilled

1-1/2 Tbs granulated sugar

1 Tbs cognac

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbs butter for the pan and parchment

1 Tbs or so Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder

Powdered sugar

Scharffen Berger Cocoa

Strawberries

Special equipment

An 11-by-17-inch jelly roll pan; baking parchment; large oval or rectangular serving platter (at least 15 inches long)

Getting ready

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the baking sheet with buttered parchment paper.

Making the ganache and batter

Heat the cream to the simmer in a medium saucepan (1-1/2 quarts). Add the chocolate pieces all at once, lower the heat, and stir briskly with a small wire whisk to melt the Scharffen Berger chocolate thoroughly. As soon as the ganache is completely smooth and a uniform dark color, remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Whip the egg whites and the 2 tablespoons of sugar either by hand or in an electric mixer until they have formed stiff peaks with a glossy sheen—don't let them become dry or grainy-looking.

Scoop about one fourth of the beaten whites into the saucepan of ganache and stir briefly with a wire whisk to blend. Pour the lightened ganache back onto the remaining egg whites in the mixing bowl and fold them together gently with a rubber spatula. Work quickly, breaking up any lumps of egg white until the ganache is thoroughly incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer with a rubber spatula, against the rims and into the corners of the pan.

Baking the soufflé sheet

Place the pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven to bake for 10 to 12 minutes. When done, the cake should be nicely set and puffy. Remove the pan from the oven to a wire cooling rack, and allow the cake to cool, still in the pan, to room temperature.

Filling and forming the roulade

Whip the cream with the sugar, vanilla and cognac to make the crème chantilly filling .

Lift the parchment to remove the cake from the pan, which should be cool, and set it on a flat work surface, with a long side facing you. Using a fine-meshed sieve, lightly dust the top with cocoa powder, then spread all of the whipped cream over the cake evenly, covering the entire surface.

Lift up the near edge of the cake and parchment, fold it away from you about 2 or 3 inches over the whipped cream, and begin to peel the paper off the cake. Roll the cake another few inches, pressing against the parchment to make a tight spiral and then gently peeling it off as the cake layer rolls away from you. Complete the roll, keeping it just on the far edge of the parchment sheet. Cover the roll by tucking the loose parchment around and underneath so that the cylinder is well wrapped and can be moved easily. The roulade can now be refrigerated in the paper for 3 or 4 hours or transferred immediately to a platter for serving.

Serving the cake

When ready to serve, transfer the roulade to the serving platter. Remove the parchment paper, gently rolling the cake into the center of the platter, with the seam on the bottom. (If the roll has slumped or twisted, lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top and sides and reshape with your hands.)

With a sharp knife, trim both ends of the roll with neat crosswise or diagonal cuts. Dust the top of the roulade with cocoa and powdered sugar, and garnish with strawberries.

To serve, cut the roll into one-inch thick slices and lay them flat on dessert plates. Top with additional crème chantilly if you like.

This recipe appears in "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home," published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1999

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