Valrhona: Hot Chocolate Festival

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Last night the hubby and I, along with my dear friend (and talented pastry chef) Kimberly Barrett, attended the Valrhona Hot Chocolate Festival in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

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The event was hosted at L’École Valrhona Du Grand Chocolat located on Water Street in the super trendy Brooklyn neighborhood at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, and just 5 minutes from Manhattan. The facility boasted state of the art equipment, and a very modern, clean, and polished aesthetic. The school offers a place where the public can take basic classes such as Intro to Chocolate and professional chefs can brush up on their Plated Desserts and Chocoart.

The event was full of chefs, media, and chocolate fanatics. There were seven booths set up for each company to showcase their product.

Marie Belle NY had a sweet and salty caramel hot chocolate. It was the first one I tried. It had a really nice flavor, and the kick of salt helped it from being overly sweet.

One of my all time favorite chocolatiers and brands is FIKA. FIKA is a chocolate brand from Sweden with bold flavors and some of the most delicious truffles I have ever had the pleasure to eat. At the showcase, FIKA made a hot chocolate with ancho chile and served a truffle with chile powder and lingonberry. It was beyond delicious and just the right amount of spice and sweetness.

Ladurée was there in full force. Armed with delicate patisserie and a luscious orange scented hot chocolate. Their offering was by far my favorite of the night. Delicate, complex, yet luscious – they transcended me right back to Ladurée in Paris. Je t’aime Ladurèe.

The best part of the event was catching up with my dear friend and talented Chef, Diane Stopford and drinking way too much decadent hot chocolate and sharing laughs with my husband and friend Kim.

To learn more about Valrhona’s new products and initiatives head over to Valrhona-chocolate.com and be sure to check out L’École Valrhona Du Grand Chocolat to be in the know about the latest happenings in the chocolate world.

Cheers

Chef Sean Patrick Gallagher

Chefseanparickgallagher.com

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Effortless Baking: French Apple Tart

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When I was in Paris I had this apple dessert, similar to a cheese danish. It was beyond delicious, and I haven’t stopped thinking about since. I couldn’t remember exactly what made it so special, except that it had crème fraîche in it.

So I set out over New Years weekend to make something similar that would bring me back to my time in France.

 

Rustic French Apple Tart

1 package puff pastry

4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 cup crème fraîche

Frangipane: 6 ounces Almond Paste, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 stick salted butter

Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Crust:

  • Take one sheet of puff pastry and gentry roll in out to fit a 9×9 french tart pan
  • Cut any remaining pastry off the tops to make an even, flat base for the dessert.

Frangipane:

  • In a food processor, add almond paste and butter. Whip for a few minutes until combined, light and fluffy.
  • Add sugar, and whip for 1 minute.
  • Add egg, and let whip for another minute until combined and smooth.

Apples:

  • Peel, core, and slice apples about 1/2 an inch thick. If you want to do them ahead, toss them in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to keep from oxidizing. If you will make tart right away, you don’t need to do this step. image2

Assembly:

  • Take your tart pan with pastry already laid into it.
  • Spoon frangipane over the dough evenly.
  • On top of the frangipane layer, spoon the crème fraîche. Smooth it evenly over the top not to combine layers.
  • Next, lay the apples into the crème fraîche, evening in rows of three. They should overlap each other just a little.
  • Brush the top with your egg wash lightly, not to put too much or it will pool over the dessert.
  • Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the dessert evenly.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes, rotating 2 times.image1(3)

The tart will be done when it is golden brown, the crust has puffed and is cooked all the way through, the apples are soft, and the sugar has caramelized on top.

Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the tart pan.

Place on a cooling rack another 10 minutes and serve either warm or room temperature.

This tart takes a small amount of time to assemble, but is super impressive to guests, and absolutely delicious. The flavors of rich almond and tart apple go so well together and when the crème fraîche bakes, it becomes a creamy, almost cheese-like layer in this dessert, making something completely unique and memorable.

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I hope you try this dessert out, and more of my recipes available here on Homegrownmeals.com

Bon Appetit!

 

Sean Patrick Gallagher