When I finally got to visit Paris this year, I of course had to visit Pierre Herme’s shop, and go crazy inside! Besides trying various macarons, I definitely wanted to purchase a cookbook of his in the shop as a keepsake. That cookbook turned out to be his “Larousse du Chocolat.”
This book truly is incroyable! It has many categories- cookies, cakes, tarts, confections…and each is divided into “simple” and “for impressing.” Although my French is a little lacking, I figured I could just use an online translator for whatever I needed… and if not, well, looking through the much adored Herme’s recipes and pictures would be enough for me.
Fortunately, I was able to piece together instructions well enough, and made my first thing out of the book today: Gateau de Reine de Saba. This is a fairly simple cake, especially when it comes to Pierre Herme, but simplicity is sometimes just what you need. I paired it with fantastically sweet strawberries, and it was a wonderful way to end a summer meal.
There is a slight crispy crust on top that gives way to a moist interior, and thanks to the almond flour, has a firm, yet soft texture, all at the same time. The gateau is not too rich or sweet, with a strong chocolate flavor that really shines with the cocoa powder on top. I can’t wait to tackle more recipes from this book!
Gateau Reine de Saba
From Pierre Herme’s “Larousse du Chocolat”
125 grams 60% bittersweet chocolate
60 grams butter
125 grams powdered sugar
40 grams potato starch
75 grams almond flour
20 grams cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and mix well.
Separate the eggs, and in a stand mixer, whip the egg yolks and sugar for 3 minutes, until lightened in color.
Add the potato starch and almond flour.
Stir with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula and add the melted chocolate and butter.
Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt, and gently mix in to the chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture into a buttered and floured 18 cm charlotte mold (I used a 9 inch springform pan, which is probably why mine came out so flat), and bake for 40 minutes (due to my much wider pan, I only baked for 30 and that was still a bit too much).
After taking it out of the oven, unmold the cake on a cooling rack and let it cool.
Sprinkle the cocoa powder on top when cool to serve.