This will be the third book I have cooked/ baked my way through (first was Dorie’s Around my French Table and the second was David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen) – without missing a posting week (and cooking/ baking all over the world – here at home in Canada, in France, England and Australia!).
This book was notable in that it is the first exclusively BAKING book that I have completed – I was hesitant to begin this project because I wasn’t sure I could keep up with it all (and all the food!) but have managed just fine… with the help of some math!
That’s right – you see, when you are working through a few different cookbooks at the same time (and, later, developing recipes for your own book!), you are faced with the problem of what to do with all the food you make (especially if you live in a 2-person household!).
Luckily for me, until March this year, I had willing colleagues to take my baked goods off my hands – most Mondays there was always a little something for them waiting on the staff room table (oh, how I miss those days!). My neighbours always enjoy my baking so there’s always that option too. But there comes a point where it seems silly to make SO MUCH of each recipe all the time. Enter MINIFYING.
Minifying (making smaller versions or smaller quantities of recipes) has been my saviour over the course of the last few years, made possibly by ingredients listed by weight and some math. The first thing I look at when a recipe is chosen for one of these groups is the recipe yield and for the most part, I immediately halve it (though sometimes if there are, say 3 eggs, I will make 1/3 of the recipe. Though I have been known to weigh eggs and divide them up by weight if necessary too…). My .digital kitchen scale. is my friend!
Often when I will post photos of what I am making, you can’t really tell that it’s a smaller version either. You might not know that the 12 cookies I photograph is all I made from a recipe that typically yields close to 50. Or that cake ^^^ looks like a regular size in that photo but you pull away a bit and voilà:
Yup it’s a tiny 4-inch cake (made with my favourite 4-inch springform pans)! Because, well, I have less people to share my baking with these days, I’ve known for a while that I wouldn’t make the full-sized cake…
I made 1/2 the quantity of the cake batter (for two 4-inch pans), chocolate shards on top and the chocolate glaze (though I had to add extra chocolate so the glaze was thick enough to coat the cake) and 1/3 of the chocolate pastry cream filling (there were 3 eggs in that recipe and it just seemed neater to divide by 3!). I also didn’t make a sugar syrup to brush the cake with – I used Kahlua since we had a tiny bottle that needed using up on hand. Loved the coffee flavour that imparted! And yeah, maybe I could have gone a little easier on the salted chocolate shards (Dorie’s version doesn’t have nearly as many LOL!) but they were hard to work with and I didn’t feel like getting my tweezers to place a few shards strategically so I just kind of let them fall where they did!
I ended up with two tiny cakes, not so high (per Dorie’s note, these are not towering layer cakes) but so packed with flavour – it really was a treat (and we happened to enjoy it as the election results had just been announced so it seemed a fitting choice!).
This is a complex recipe but not a difficult one – there are a lot of components – cake, syrup, glaze, chocolate shards, pastry cream – but none of them are particularly hard. It just requires planning (and, if you are me, some math!). It’s a lovely project over a couple of days and the result is pâtisserie-worthy (well, I think so, at least!).
I’m sad to shelve Baking Chez Moi – it’s been a wonderful, comforting project, a constant in my life over the past 6 years and boy have I learned a lot! Between Around my French Table and Baking Chez Moi, I think we’ve covered a fair amount of French recipes, so many of which, had you asked me 10 years ago (when we started with AMFT), I would have said straight out “OH I can’t possible make that”. Well here we are, 2 books and 10 years later.
I’m a much better cook and baker thanks to Dorie. And thanks to the fabulous group over at Tuesdays with Dorie who show up, rain or shine each week to share what they’ve made, their thoughts and opinions, their successes and not so successful ventures into the recipes. As I said, it’s a constant in my life that I appreciate so much. Thank you, friends.
And thanks to Dorie, whose recipe just work. Whose recipes make me feel like I’m in the kitchen with Dorie, listening to her encouraging voice telling me what to do. Telling me it will be ok and that I can do it. I don’t know about you but I need more of this in my life, especially now. So I’ll keep cooking and baking though Dorie’s books (Dorie’s Cookies and Everyday Dorie are still on the go!).
Thank you, Dorie
Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Carrément Chocolat, The Fancy Cake on page 75 of Baking Chez Moi.
Tuesdays with Dorie participants don’t publish the recipes on our blogs, so you’re encouraged to purchase Baking Chez Moi for yourself which you can do on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store in your country) or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links from The Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!
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