Bombe au C’ChoColat

Weekend getaway to Paris North – pourquoi pas? Why not, indeed, to a fab Canadian stay-cation worthy of good eats in beautiful Montréal, Québec. Arriving ‘tout à l’heure,’ I waste no time and make my way downtown where ‘le centre-ville’ is home to several locally authentic French cuisine finds. Forgoing ‘foie gras’ – this time – I have reason for travelling through the hustle and bustle of the city’s artery, and it’s prime – believe me!

C'ChoColat 2 arrGood company and good times! And, as for the weather? Certainly, ‘je me souviens’ – a city to be remembered. But, don’t let the clear skies fool you! Brisk air to some, I would comparatively rate the weather as well below freezing temperature. Nonetheless, this trip was never about the windchill. Food shopping on the mind, this chocoholic-epicurean – that is ‘moi’ – landed in front of the doors of 1255 Rue Bishop for one precise item: C’ChoColat’s signature house dessert, the C’Wow.

Wowed – 100% – by this memorable chocolate bomb, this sweet plate is truly unlike anything I’ve yet had the pleasure to witness. Scanning the menu, the composition of listed ingredients for the C’Wow already sounds pleasantly familiar. Just imagine, a plated dish that includes: a scoop of artisan gelato surrounded by broken pieces of waffles, brownies, pecans, fresh berries, and crumble that is then encapsulated in a chocolate dome. But wait, this dessert gets better when served table side – ‘à table,’ chocolate lover!

Like a page stolen from history, suspenseful anticipation for this Trojan horse is no where near reached until post delivery of this gorgeous cocoa structure. Don’t worry, however, this sweet invasion equally makes for one delectably welcome fateful ending. In a nutshell: the C’Wow came, was seen and conquered – by caramel! Ultimately covered by heated caramel sauce, behold: a demolished collapse of layered confection toppling over a rocky bed of waffle and brownie bits. Jaw dropped, bearing witness to a fantastic chocolate demise, a moment of fascination is soon replaced with reality and the realization that it’s taste-testing time – finalement!

C'ChoColat 10 arrAs hoped, every bite of the C’Wow encompasses a mélange of delightful flavours. Inclusion of fresh berries justly brighten the flavours of the dense and rich cakey components. Generous in size and highly caloric, this select is a feat to finish. As such, here’s word to wise: the C’Wow can easily be shared by two or ordered for one large appetite. Either way, this chocolate themed venue offers more than meets the eye and is sure to appease many a sweet tooth.

C'ChoColat 6 arrSatisfying the chocophile-in-anyone, enjoying the finer things in life – if only via chocolate – is a dream come to fruition at C’ChoColat. Never ceasing to disappoint, there’s something for everyone from chocolate-infused beverages dubbed ‘choctails’ to Hong Kong style honeycomb waffles and savoury dishes. Too tempting not to try, the pistachio gelato is truly divine. Still in vacay mode, adding accompaniments like a latté and the Matcha Matcha Man frappé make for an accepted and extended guilt-free indulge-a-thon. Between green tea and herbal varieties, the assortment of milkshakes, ‘chocolat chaud’, hot/cold coffee beverages and Parisian crêpes run plenty. Heart happy in #MTL, C’ChoColat’s C’Wow is a clear winner to be experienced for yourself, ideally in person or just a click away.  It’s seriously, ‘the bomb’ of chocolate desserts!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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Keep Calm & Panda On

Pandaron 1 arrIt’s panda bear pandemonium! Rightfully so, everyone loves these adorably playful creatures. But if you don’t get why, here are two cute and cuddly reasons to explain: Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue. Literally translating to Canadian Hope and Canadian Joy, the aforementioned Canadian born male and female pandas cubs are recent additions to the Toronto Zoo. Beyond endearing – not to mention G.T.A.-close – I, like many other animal lovers, couldn’t miss the chance to gain a glimpse of these cuties while they’re still small-ish and in these part of the woods.

Ooh’s” and “awes” in full effect, lucky visitors get to see not one or two pandas but, the whole family. Sighting mama bear, papa bear and the twins, it’s no wonder why this rare viewing is worth the lineup. Bearing witness to panda-style habits – eating, sleeping, and repeating – I learn the charms of living the simple life. Clearly, as in this case, less is more – more pampering of the senses, that is. Pandaron 6 arr

Similarly catering to one’s desire to see and explore further, other ‘mini’ sights to admire include: the polar bear cub, white lion cubs, a couple of Canadian Lynx kittens, and Nandu the Indian Rhino calf. Observing as much as time allows, I leave this excursion with both appreciation for nature’s four-legged beauties and inspiration to re-create baked replicas of my own.

Pandaron 8 arrDusting off a reliable French Macaron recipe, anyone can make their very own ‘pandaron’ – panda macaron. Irresistibly sweet and soft – to the palette and eyes – these round delights are sure to please any panda or cookie lover. Doubling down, those who like both – fans of pandas and cookies – are definitely in for a twin-of-a-treat.

Getting my hands on the necessary ingredients coupled with elbow grease, there’s no pampering or ‘spaw’ treatment involved for this tedious task. Pandaron 7 arrMeasuring, sieving, whisking, folding, piping, and the list goes on, I feel taking a panda nap – almost, only after the cookies are done. Like the cubs’ namesake, I’m both hoping for a blotch-free outcome and joyful upon glance of completed baking sheets of bashful faces – no hot messes here, thankfully.

Pandaron 10 arrGrateful that my interpretation of the Canadian born panda cubs turned out right, I’m left as elated as the showing of the real cubs. Truly mirroring the characteristics of genuine macarons – round with a smooth domed top, and standing tall on ‘feet’ – these sugary ‘pandaron’ babies don’t fall short nor flat. Ideal in taste, size and texture, it goes to show that a trusted recipe and precision is all you need to render quality macarons. To finish my display, I couldn’t resist but to keep my ‘pandarons’ company with matcha green tea biscuit sticks – the perfect snack to complement this cookie round table.

Pandaron 9 arrFor those who are adventurous, try making other animal-inspired macarons. For the creation of lions, tigers, bears or other, simply use your imagination and follow your preferred recipe. From here, add a few drops of food colouring gels and design your cookies accordingly. Ideally, detailing is best using a contrasting colour to reveal and highlight signature lines, spots or markings of your favourite zoo animal. Though the making of macarons measure higher in difficultly than the average chocolate chip cookie, they are undeniably fun to make- for this baker, at least. All the same, the choice to buy or make is yours. Staying zen about the issue, there’s no debating what everyone will do ‘chez-moi’  all can keep calm and eat ‘pandarons.’

© DISHFUL, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

French Souvenir

Madeleines 1 arrMad for Madeleine? More than a name, madeleines are synonymous with ‘la nostalgie.’  Remembrance of past moments, this distinctive French cake brings back a flood of memories for me, and perhaps others.  Courtesy of Marcel Proust’s work, Swann’s Way, my first introduction to this light buttery treat is found in the timeless pages of the aforementioned classic.  Clearly reminiscing of days spent reading French literature ─ food scenes, in particular ─ breaking into some “petites madeleines” of my own seems pretty ideal, right about now.  Only dilemma is:  there are no small cakes or a local pâtisserie in sight.  Fortunately, there is a ‘way’ to go from here and that’s to the kitchen ─ where the creation of nouveau memories commence.

Madeleines 3 arrReliving a wrinkle in time ─ à la baking ─ I gather the necessities for the remaking of this molded plump sweet. First thing’s first, you need the right pan ─ molded madeleine cake tin ─ and the right ingredients.  Similar to butter or yellow cake recipes, you’ll need all the basics:  flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder, salt, honey, lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Following Martha Stewart’s instructions specified for ‘madeleines,’ I prepare two separate zesty batches:  one to include grated lemon rind ─ like Martha’s original ─ and a second batter that solely consists of orange citrus.

Madeleines 5 arrWhile I found this madeleine recipe easy to prepare, the process involved is quite time-consuming. In brief, you must chill the batter for an hour prior to pouring it into the hollows of the buttered and floured cake pan.  And, from here, you must set the cake batter-filled pan in the fridge ─ that’s right, there’s a second chilling time ─ and, not straight into a preheated oven just yet.  There are plenty of recipes available, so you can definitely stick with your preferred “go-to” recipe.

On the plus side, I did like the simplicity of the ingredients required, and did not mind the multi-step procedure involved with the making of Martha’s recipe. Madeleines 4 arrThe beauty of this recipe also lies in the delicate yet sponge-like texture of these cakes.  Undeniably fine in quality, I brush the ridged surface of the finished and cooled lemon madeleines with lemon glaze for some added zing.  For an alternate citrus twist, I primarily adhere to the original recipe but replace lemon zest with grated orange peel.  Madeleines 6 arrOnce baked and inverted onto a cooling rack, I lightly dab the little cakes with edible perfume ─ a.k.a. fragrant orange blossom water ─ and, as a last touch, give these perfectly individual tea time indulgences a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.  ‘Et voilà,’ resurrecting the senses is as achievable as getting lost in time via the delighting of one’s very own afternoon snack.

© DISHFUL, 2016.  All Rights Reserved.

An Éclairation of Dependence

Persian Profiteroles 1 arrRevelling in the dual arrival of spring and Persian New Year, I must declare: I love ‘choux’ ─ choux pastry, of course.  And given my affinity for all French ‘pâtisseries,’ this blossoming time beckons good eats to fuel an upcoming two week marathon of ancient-rich festivities.  Making an appearance on my Persian dessert table, then, I forecast a sweet year ahead with plentiful ‘choux’-inspired delights.

Baffled, by the correlation? You’re probably wondering how French pastry and Persian ‘shirini’ ─ sweets, desserts ─ relate, and rightfully so.  Persian Profiteroles 5 arrThe answer’s quite simple.  In one word:  PROFITEROLES!  Not news to Persians, we absolutely L-O-V-E heavenly clouds of light and airy cream puffs.  Clearly a highly favoured treat, profiteroles are to be seen in the display case of many Persian bakeries.  This year, however, shortcuts are not the way to go.  Instead, the baker-in-me calls for the making of homemade “Persianified” cream-filled pastries ─ I’ll tell you how ─ that’s easy to make, and even easier to enhance to suit varying tastes.

Praline Paris Crest arrStarting with the basics, I follow Martha Stewart’s dependable recipe for ‘choux’ pastry. Once the ‘choux’ is made, you can pipe classic domed rounds, rings or rectangular strips for the making of éclairs.  You can stick with one shape or the other, or both ─ the beauty with this recipe lies in that it’s your creation, and ultimately your choice.  Once my ‘choux’ pastries are baked, I set them aside to cool and begin with the fillings.

‘Choux’ shopping in mind, appetizing possibilities are endless. Envisioning dessert trays abound, my decision is made:  I must-indulge in a baking session that allows me to experiment and create everything.  Seriously settling on handfuls, I deduce the following selects will ─ for now ─ pleasingly suffice:  individual mini praline Paris-Brest, sea salted dulce de leche éclairs, and a flavourful trio of cream-filled profiteroles.  Dulce de Leche Eclairs arrUnique in both shapes and palatable accompaniments, an array of different sized ‘choux’ pastry shells and a range of luxurious cream fillings ─ almond praline pastry cream, Chantilly, raspberry and “Persianified” whipped creams ─ are a tall order to fill.  But, then again, these hollow pastry shells are designed to be packed with an assortment of divine filling.  Word to the wise:  advanced preparation of Martha’s vanilla pastry cream is recommended that leaves ample time for it to chill in the fridge, and later use either as is or to blend with almond praline.

Persian Profiteroles 3 arrAs for Chantilly cream, what is it exactly? Essentially, it’s heavy cream that is whipped with confectioner’s sugar and pure vanilla essence.  Wanting vanilla-infused Chantilly cream in addition to raspberry whipped cream and a distinct “Persianified” flavour profile, I obviously want it all.  And for this dedicated foodie, the response is clear:  all is possible, and so it shall be done!  Heeding to Martha’s directions, I measure precise amounts of specified icing sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract to ensure consistency, and whip the aforementioned contents using an electric mixer.  Chantilly complete, I remove half of the mixture into a separate clean bowl and blend it with raspberry purée for a berry wonderful alternative.

Persian Profiteroles 6 arrSaving the crowd-pleaser for last, the “Persianified” cream filling is as follows: start with a plain canvas of sweetened whipped cream ─ first whip 1 ½ cups of heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar ─ and then proceed to add ½ teaspoon of rosewater and a generous pinch of ground cardamom.  Being careful not to over mix the whipped cream, delicately blend the perfumed addition and spice into the already whipped mixture.  Purely rich and intoxicating, a little goes a long way with these aromatics that make for a fragrant cream puff.  Also unlike other desserts, taking my sweet time to decorate these time-sensitive cream-filled pastries does not apply.  Persian Profiteroles 7 arrWorking in a meltdown-free zone, I hasten to pipe as many profiteroles as possible and quickly enrobe some with finely chopped pistachios.  Last pastry filled and third tray set into the fridge to chill, the end result is this:  I’m triumphantly tired!  Rejoicing in a successful mission complete, witnessing family and friends delighting in the fruits of a laborious baking endeavour is reward enough.  Starting another Persian New Year with sweet tidings, Happy New Year to all!!  P.S., you don’t have to be Persian to celebrate a new start ─ or to enjoy “Persianified” profiteroles, cheers!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2016.  All Rights Reserved.

Pithiviers aux Amandes

Pithiviers 1 arrWhen I think of aromatic breads, divine pastries and scrumptious cakes, French recipes and masters of the trade definitely come to mind. Truly synonymous with all things deliciously baked, it’s no wonder I celebrate this year’s Epiphany with ‘galette des rois.’  Loosely translated to ‘king cake,’ this regional favourite is made and enjoyed to commemorate the arrival of the Wise Men.

More pleasing for foodies, ‘pithiviers’ generally refers to a filled puff pastry pie that can be either sweet or savoury. For the making of this particular ‘galette,’ I decide to encase two sheets of puff pastry with almond frangipane.  Just like Martha Stewart, I follow her frangipane recipe and baking instructions ‘to a T.’  Keeping things real-ly honest, however, I forgo the making of ‘pâte feuilleté’ from scratch and stand by a very good purchase of pre-made ‘quality’ frozen puff pastry.  Great news is:  “You can too!” Still buttery, flaky and rich, store-bought puffy pastry is my kind of “good thing!”Pithiviers 2 arr

Recipe, now simplified, I expedite the process slightly further by spreading refrigerated ─ not frozen ─ frangipane filling onto one of two cut rounds ─ 9 inches in diameter ─ of puff pastry. Being sure not to spread the almond filling right to the edge of the pastry dough, I continue by brushing egg wash along the circumference of the first disc, then cover it with the second cut sheet, and finally seal the two.  Adhering to the remaining steps, I remove the chilled encased ‘pithiviers’ from the icebox and prepare the final stages.  For its completion, here’s what to do:  brush the domed exterior with the remainder of egg-wash, score the top with a pattern of choice, and finally bake the ‘galette’ into a preheated oven for the specified time.Pithiviers 4 arr

Time-elapsed and house-filled with the scent of victoriously baked sweetness, here’s the end result: it looks, smells, and tastes nothing like “store-bought!”  Golden on the outside and delicately perfumed with a creamy nutty interior, this take on almond ‘pithiviers’ is indicative of ‘kingly’ flavour and desired light crispy texture.  Also saving time and exceeding expectation, celebrations are clearly in order with this share-worthy pastry ─unequivocally, a piece of cake!

© DISHFUL, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

To Choux Beginnings!

New year, and more resolutions? ─ “mais, oui!”  Evading déjà vu ─ or not ─ fulfilling delicious goals via classical desserts promises to be the ‘solution’ to make, and keep this year.  In pursuit of a sweet-er life, I start 2015 right with my very own wheel of fortunately scrumptious Paris-Crest.

Profiterole4 arrFar from a coat of arms, I’m referring to the creation of an edible profiterole ring ─ a.k.a. ‘crest’ ─ courtesy of Martha Stewart’s pâte à choux recipe.  Highly achievable, the making of light as air choux pastry requires a happy medium between precision, some elbow grease and simple ingredients:  sugar, salt, water, flour, butter and eggs.  Void of complications, just heed to instructions ─ step-by-step ─ and amaze yourself with a delectable display of soon-to-be sweet or savory cream-filled ‘puffs.’

Profiterole2 arrFrench pastry sounds divine, and is nothing to be feared.  So, pause and pace yourself.  If you feel overwhelmed and want to back out of this baking feat, consider this:  despite its sophisticated appearance, yielding celebratory bites of ‘fancy’ are more than likely, as long as one adheres to outlined procedures ─ no shortcuts.  Quest ─ presumably ─ settled, let’s get baking!  Between gleaming éclairs, towering croquembouche, or layered St. Honoré cake, I’m ready to tackle profiteroles.  After all, there’s something to be said for understated beginnings.  And regardless of desired dessert, the start of all the above encased indulgences boil down to preparation and use of the same enriched, glossy, and light dough ─ choux pastry.

Profiterole5 arrRemember:  fret not, get organized and stay golden!  Recreating the very possible Paris-Crest is a breeze, and practically half-way done with advance preparation. Separate batches of pastry and homemade fillings once made, scoop choux contents into a piping bag while refrigerating the creamy whip and silky custard.  In continuance, pipe 16 pastry rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and brush each circular surface with a coating of egg-wash ─ essentially, a prelude of shiny ‘ringed’ domes to come.  Skipping no step, this sweet bread should bake to an expansive state, and ultimately reveal a hollow interior.  Profiterole1 arrPost-cooling, use a serrated knife to slice the pastry wreath ─ horizontally ─ and proceed by filling the bottom layer with a spoonful of pastry cream in addition to a generous piping swirl of sweetened whipped cream.  To finish, cover the filled dessert with the second half of baked pastry.  For a final touch, decorate the ‘cupolas’ of this gorgeous circular structure with a heavy dusting of confectioner’s sugar.  ‘Et voilà,’ there you have it ─ abundance at its best!  Equally befitting for any occasion, Paris-Crest is more than a delicate round of cream-filled ‘clouds’ ─ it’s the ‘crowning’ reward for a mission thoroughly accomplished.

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.


“That Monsieur, is a Load of Croque!”

croque-monsieur 3 arrWhich came first, the ‘Cuban’ or the ‘Croque’? Either way, it doesn’t matter!  When it comes to the oozing, gooey and stringy stuff, all you really need is an affinity for coagulated dairy – say, “Cheese!”  All smiles, most do respond to the call of hunger, especially when it includes fondue-happy melting pots of ‘gold’ or marble slabs of sophistication.

“Is it Gouda or Havarti, for you?” Certainly nutrient-rich, there’s no denying of this ancient food’s benefits.  Even better, there’s something for everyone!  Going international, cheese knows diversity.  An arduous process left for experts, production methods are uniquely complex as are endless varieties.  Still, there’s no fooling a connoisseur or their acute senses; incredibly, despite the year or origin, genuine cheese whizzes accurately distinguish among cured, wheeled, and curdled artisan favourites.  Between aged pungency and sharp carvings from an old block, cheesemongers highly revere the object of their trade – inarguably, an epicurean admiration that amicably stinks! croque-monsieur 1 arr

Proudly made or devoured, enthusiasts of all sorts rejoice in impressionable national darlings – possibly, more than ‘la vâche qui rit.’ As seen and delighted in a Parisian boulangerie, one soon learns nothing beats the aroma and taste of steaming hot and crusty – baked on premise – French baguette.  But then, the French outdo themselves and entice you with something exquisitely simple:  torn baguette that is buttered and filled with mildly fragrant rind-encased soft-ripened regional Brie.  In essence, a semi-soft ivory treat that evokes pure AOC certified authenticity.   croque-monsieur 2 arr

Fortunately, a sumptuous Parisian snack need not be in-house or ‘à emporter’ – to go (food) – from a local bistro. Like the American grilled classic, pairing bread and fine quality cheese can easily be prepared in the comforts of one’s own kitchen.  As for my take, and in ode to a cheesy memory, my menu is set on recreating the one and only ‘mister’ of widely popular sandwiches – le croque! Precisely, it’s ‘Monsieur’ – le Croque Monsieur.

Definitely getting bites of ‘crunch,’ this sandwich is typically pan-fried to a golden crisp exterior from which it derives its name – ‘croque’ is for crunch. As multifaceted in texture as in flavour, a true croque-monsieur is an irresistibly elevated ham and cheese sandwich.  Equally non-partisan, Emmental or Gruyère are traditionally the choice of hard yellow Swiss cheeses to be used in the making of this ‘tosti.’  croque-monsieur 4 arr While some give their sandwich a French toast-like treatment – an egg and milk batter coating prior to frying – I forgo the making of a Monte Cristo.  Courtesy of Béchamel sauce, a generous pouring of lusciously creamy nutmeg-kissed roux instantly enriches undressed deli.  And for added elasticized pull, sprinkling more crafted cheese shavings makes for a successfully honed day of cookery.  ‘Mister-men’ lined-up and enrobed with dairy accompaniments, the prepared tray is baked-off into the oven until the bread’s toasted and the sauce reaches a bubbling boil.  Once cooled, anticipated bites of infused personality allow for an incidence of welcome déjà vu.  Clearly, if ‘cheese-eyes’ or holes – as prominent in Swiss types – are the windows to a glutton’s soul, there’s no refuting the obvious:  a croque-ful will goes hand-in-hand with a touch of ‘whey!’

© DISHFUL, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

A Lesson in Palmistry

“Tell me your name, and I will tell of your fortune.”  Believer or not, I’m a clairvoyant of sorts.  After a mere glance, the reading of one subject resulted in a predictable fate.

Palmier arrLooks demystified, I found complex lines to be revealing; they run close, tight, and high in number.  As for origin, it beckons French.  Capricious in nature, it can be described as both delicate yet malleable, and must not be overworked.  Foreseeing a luxuriously rich outcome, I proceed to handle ‘pâte feuilletée’ with care.  As seen in Napoleon – the dessert – the same multi-layered butter and flour pastry correlates well with its translation, ‘thousand leaves.’  Talking about dough, one glimpse of ‘puff’ is enough to anticipate a promisingly delicious near future – let’s make ‘n bake!

PuffLog arrEvading flouring messes and time constraints, I conveniently use pre-made overlapped pastry sheets as my “go-to” for the creation of sweet and savoury flakey morsels.  Easily enhanced with fruit or vegetable fillings, ‘buttered bundles’ are equally versatile in shape and can be folded into triangles, crescents or pinwheels.  Tearing a page out of past travels, however – Barcelona, Las Vegas and San Diego – I feel inspired to transport the tropics into a present-day baking session of ‘palmiers’ (palm leaves) – the other sugar cookie.  Sometimes taking the appearance and title of “elephant ears,” reincarnated sugar-coated rolled pastry stands tall among nature’s finest offerings – delectable edible flora. PuffSlices arr

California-palm-dreaming, I shape the fate of my foreseen golden leaves by taking a hiatus from strenuous scratch-work, and use the ‘essentials’ – a pack of frozen ‘puff’ and sugar.  Simple and sweet, the plain ‘palm’ calls for a generous sprinkling of caster sugar over a partially defrosted pastry sheet; ideal blends of sugar and spicy cinnamon or aromatic vanilla-infused sugar can be used as alternative additions.  Intensified or not, fold opposing ends of the flavour-coated pastry inward until they meet at the center; and freeze the roll for twenty minutes.  Time-elapsed, evenly spread cut pieces of the log over a parchment-lined cookie sheet, then bake for (unknown time) and at (unknown temperature).  What?  Quite the psychic, right?!  Seriously, brands vary and so, too, will their instructions.  Flipping ‘palms’ half-way through, my magic numbers  included a baking temperature of 375 F for about 10-12 minutes.  Fingers-crossed, quick consumption of your short-lived ‘palmiers’ will echo a victorious finale – sumptuous bites of crisp success!

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Off to Work We Go!

MendiantAngle arr“Diamonds are forever!”  Timeless treasure that it is, anyone who has a keen eye for all that sparkles is certain to learn the “4 C’s” – cut, clarity, carat and colour – and quickly, myself included.  Even if you’re already feeling fabulous, wearing blinding pieces of lustrous carbon unquestionably illuminates one’s natural glow.

Like a good friend, ‘Diamant’ always encourages one to shine bright.  It’s no wonder the brilliant appeal of this lump of coal lures one to befriend its companions, ruby and emerald.  Highly captivating, my attraction to the elegance and beauty of these earthly gems has inspired me to excavate my own precious stones.  Upon laborious execution of deshelling and the “4 S’s” – soaking, segmenting, separating and studding – I formerly present the result of my hulled efforts, in a holiday collection:  pomegranate and pistachio ‘mendiant’ (chocolate disc). MendiantIngredients arr

Traditionally, dried fruits and nuts are used to bedazzle this French confection.  Entering the chocolate business – for a day – I, however, chose to pass on the passé.  Getting my hands dirty with more than tempered chocolate, I take chocolate rounds to new heights.  Out with old and wrinkly, the arduous task of mining through pith and peel is worth the sought-after prized reveal – rubies in the rough.  Unlike readily dehydrated specimens, my adaption and use of Persia’s finest – edible red and green cultivations – does require extra heavy lifting.

MendiantCloseup arrBefore you divide and conquer, however, remember:  input is equal to output!  Preparation, then, is the key to achieving success!  My advice, handle pomegranate seeds with care – a “Gusher” fruit burst effect is not the aim.  Though amicable, I also suggest avoiding Lucille-type mis-haps by creating an organized and efficient work station; arrange desired toppings in separate bowls, place a parchment-lined baking sheet aside, and leave melting of premium quality chocolate for last.  All ingredients ready-to-go, spoon tempered chocolate onto parchment, decorate the discs, and leave sufficient time for the ‘rocks’ to set.

Work hard, eat well and be amazed!  Post-cooling, it’s time to reap the fruits of your labour.  One bite, and there’s no comparison – fresh is best!  Though time-consuming, you can’t deny the depth in vibrant taste; sweet, tart and rich flavours are no match to dull and unpolished dried alternatives.  Ultimate reward for the day:  dripping in mineral-rich jewels with the latest hand accessory – adornment via ‘mendiant.’

© DISHFUL, 2013.  All Rights Reserved.