a Friday fondue night AND a chocolate cake

It’s snowing outside. Large style. We’re expecting a metre of snow this weekend. Brrrr but beautiful. I can’t see across the valley today, it’s all cloud and snow. So I’m tucked up indoors, and generally making mischief, otherwise known as baking.

Back in the summer in Charente we were treated to Marie Chien’s chocolate mousse cake. Why Marie Chien? Well there are two grandmothers both called Marie, so a difference is needed to separate one from the other. So Marie Chien was born, or maybe re-born. She has a miniature white poodle, who is soft and gentle and playful. Now Marie Chien’s pud is a tad exciting for me, I don’t bake a lot but it means I finally get to buy and use a cake ring. Silly I know, but fun nonetheless.

We’re off for our annual Fondue night. A night hosted by our friends on the other side of the valley. We’ll feast well tonight. A rich Savoyarde fondue, some good wine and great company. The evening will probably include a game or two of backgammon, lots of ohhhhs, and ahhhhs, and you “jammy so and so” will be heard.

My favourite bit of the eventing though is when everyone has had their fill of fondue, our hostess will take the fondue pan and the remains of the fondue and crack a couple of eggs into it, and then add the leftover bread, ripped or sliced into small chunks. This will all be gently warmed up until the eggs are cooked through and the pieces of bread are all coated with the cheese and egg mixture. We will be served this divine concoction with our green salad to end our meal. In fact I’ve started to drool at the thought of it.

So to thank my hosts, I decided to recreate the Charente cake. A quick email and the recipe is with me. It’s a bit of a tall order with only one working hand and arm, but with a lot of preparation, some jiggery pokery, and the occasional use of my dodgy arm I made it.

The cake? It’s a rich, chocolatey confection. Not overly sweet. I added the zest of an orange, as Emmanuelle forgot to mention that bit. I’ve copied her instructions verbatim. Including her sarcastic jokey comments. We plan to catch up with them in the half-term holidays, they will be skiing too. Maybe we could ski and eat cake? That’s what I call multi-tasking 🙂

Marie Chien’s Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ingredients ~

  • 140g plain dark chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 4 eggs – yolks and whites separated
  • Zest of an orange
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 50g flour

Method ~

  • Melt chocolate and butter (gently … no boiling for God’s sake)
  • Add the 4 egg yolks one by one and please remove the pan from the burner before you do so
  • Add the zest of the orange
  • Add sugar and flour in turn, stirring well and gently.
  • Whisk the egg whites (with an electric whisk which you obviously don’t have in the Alps have you ?) and add them progressively to the chocolate mix.
  • Pour in a buttered tin.
  • Put into oven (about 200°C) for 18 minutes – The cake must be soft.

Cooking Notes ~

I melted the chocolate and butter in a glass salad bowl over a fondue pan with several inches of boiling water in it, on a very gentle heat. It worked a treat. I’m discovering a lot of uses for fondue pan’s and not all of them immediately obvious – they make a perfect dal / curry pot too 🙂

I had to cook the cake for a few minutes longer, after all I’m cooking at altitude. However I’m wondering if I should rename it as cooking au ineptitude!

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