Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sweet Pleasure

I buy cookbooks at a far faster rate than I actually cook from - given my predilection, being in a bookstore is akin to letting an alcoholic loose in the bottle shop. What used to take up a mere two shelves has grown into a collection housed in two bookcases. A fair number are fancy cookbooks I pour over more for appetite stimulation rather than cooking from. A notable exception is Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan. Besides the sumptuous photography by Jean Louis Bloch-Laine, the recipes work a treat - rare indeed for what is beautiful enough to be a coffee table tome. Thanks to Ms Greenspan, seemingly daunting recipes are broken down into clear, precise instructions and do-able steps.

Last night, I finally got round to building the Plaisir Sucre - chewy hazelnut dacquoise, luscious chocolate ganache, airy chocolate whipped cream, thin sheets of chocolate, and scrumptious praline are stacked together to form a prescription-strength treat for the unrepentant chocoholic. Essentially, it's a deconstructed incarnation of The Cherry On The Cake - Pierre Herme's legendary creation from his days at Fauchon. And with typical irreverence (not to mention helpfulness to the home baker), Herme swaps the hazelnut paste and crushed wafers called for in the praline layer of the original recipe with storecupboard basics like Nutella and Rice Krispies.

Now, few things give me quite the same oral gratification as spooning Nutella neat into my mouth. Plaisir Sucre, however, certainly does. And who doesn't need yet another reason to eat more of the habit-forming chocolate and hazelnut spread?


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