The French summer holidays were over as fast as you can say "Ouh la la!".
We've arrived in Autumn and it's back to grey skies and cold temperatures.... excuse me "pas froid mais frais", and for some reason it's been raining more than usual.
I can not believe I'm making hot chocolate already! And drinking it under a quilt cover and I'm wrapped up like a mummy in a red woolen pashmina. This is crazy!
I don't know which part of the world you're reading this from but there is certainly a lot of us who are starting to feel the chill and it's time we get cosy. After all, the one good perk about the colder days is getting cosy.
Let's cosy and sip together one of my favourite recipes of French Hot Chocolate. So... What makes it French?
French hot chocolate is known for it's thicker more caramel texture, the liquid is less liquid and more like flowing lava. This is because rather than using chocolate powder, French recipes tend to ask for actual chocolate preferable dark, at least a minimum of 55% cocoa butter content. The quality of chocolate is very important. If you're looking for that French x-factor you won't find it at your local supermarket. What you want is to go with a brand of chocolate used by top French pastry chefs, brands like Cacao Barry and Valrhona.
French hot chocolate tends to use milk and not cream, why? Words come best from Paris' top pastry chef, Jacques Genin: "It’s not necesarry to use cream when making hot chocolate. When you’re using a good quality chocolate and you have a good density of cacao butter and a beautiful elegance between the cacao butter and cacao you have a creamier sensation in the mouth, you don’t need to add fat content.”
The high quality of French or Belgium couverture chocolate means you already have a texture that is what the french call “enrobing”, as it does that, it enrobes your tongue like silk to your skin. Couverture chocolate means you have a percentage of natural fat that is the cacao butter, therefore, using cream in the recipe is as Jacques Genin says, is unneccessary.
If you are not part of the professional sector, you can generally find these brands at the luxury department stores in the fine food section.
550 grams of full cream milk 60 grams of water 70 grams of caster sugar 115 grams of chocolate (my choice is INAYA 65% cacao by Cacao Barry)
1. Bring the milk and water to boil. Put it to the side off the heat.
2. Caramilise the sugar until the sugar takes on an amber colour. Don't have your stove too high! Or you'll burn the sugar.
3. While mixing, pour the hot milk-water over the caramel.
4. Add the chocolate 64% continually whisking, Keep whisking until you get the first bubbles at the surface.
5. Remove from the heat and use a handheld mixer to achieve a smoother consistensy.
6. Serve immediately if you like the hot chocolate more a thinner liquid. Alternatively, if you like a thicker creamier lava texture then leave the hot chocolate on the stove on low heat. Stir every now and then, and serve when you have your desired texture. Before serving I strain through a sive to get a hot chocolate liquid that is perfectly fluid. The hot chocolate is even better the next day!
Tips: I like to add the grains of a vanilla pod, and sometimes I infuse with cinnamon pods, even a Tonka bean.
This recipe is the origin of Chef Patissier Pierre Herme which has been adapted by MadCharlotte. Merci beacoup PH.
Book in photo, Chasing a dream by Carla Coulson.
Mug in photo, Miss Etoile bought from the boutique at the Chateau de Versailles.