These decadent chocolate recipes are elegant and filled with consideration—just the thing for showing Mom how much you care. She’s sure to feel spoiled, along with everyone else around the table. (Hello, favourite child status.) With dessert sorted, that leaves plenty of time to arrange the flowers, set the table, and fold some beautiful napkins.
In a medium saucepan on medium-high, heat cream, milk and ¼ cup (60 mL) sugar together. Stir in tea, then take saucepan off heat and let mixture steep for 10 minutes.
Strain the tea and milk mixture into a bowl, clean saucepan, then pour it back into the saucepan. Heat until hot and steamy, then pour it over chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Let mixture stand for 1 minute, then stir to melt chocolate. Whisk in egg yolks.
Place 4 ramekins in a 9-inch (23cm) brownie pan. Divide chocolate custard between the 4 ramekins. Pour boiling water carefully into pan until water reaches halfway up sides of ramekins.
Bake crème brûlées for about 45 minutes, until set but still jiggling a little in centre when moved. Take ramekins out of water bath and let crème brûlées cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Just before serving, evenly sprinkle tops of the cold crème brûlées with remaining 4 tsp (20 mL) granulated sugar and, using a kitchen torch, caramelize sugar, slowly moving torch flame back and forth across the surface of sugar. Serve immediately.
Lindt Maître Chocolatier Tip: Chocolate is delicate and burns easily. That’s why it’s important to add the hot cream to cold, chopped chocolate instead of trying to melt it directly on the stove.
Chocolate Crepe Cake
Prep time: 90 minutes (+1 hour resting)
Cook time: 30 minutes (for crepes)
Servings: 1 10-inch (25-cm) cake
Crepes (makes about 30)
4 cups (1L) cold whole milk
3 cups (750mL) all-purpose flour, sifted
½ cup (125mL) unsalted butter
¼ cup (60mL) sugar
2 tsp (8mL) salt
½ cup (125mL) (approx.) butter for the pan, softened
2 tbsp (30mL) brewed espresso or 1 tsp (4mL) fine espresso powder
Place the first six ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until the consistency of cream. If using a whisk, strain batter to make sure all lumps are eliminated.
Allow to rest for 1 hour or overnight. You may need to thin the mixture slightly the following day by adding 1 to 2 tsp of milk or water.
Have everything set up before making the crepes: Place a 10-inch (25-cm) fry pan over low heat so it will heat evenly while you prepare the batter. Place crepe batter on one side of the pan, along with a ladle or ¼-cup measure, and a plate on the other side to receive cooked crepes. Have butter and a brush ready. The most important thing when making crepes is to attain the right heat, which happens while cooking the first 2 to 3 crepes — these are for the cook to eat, not for the cake!
Raise heat to medium. Brush pan lightly with butter, then ladle in ¼ cup of batter, swirling the pan in a clockwise motion to coat. The batter should set almost immediately as you swirl. Once coated, place pan back on heat and allow to cook for another 30 seconds. Then, using a spatula and lifting a slightly browned edge, flip the crepe over and allow to cook for another 30 seconds. The crepe should have brown ridges across it but not be fully browned and crisp. Turn out onto the plate and continue with remaining batter until it is finished or you have about 30 crepes. They can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
Espresso Chocolate Buttercream
To melt chocolate bars, break them apart by hand and place in a heatproof bowl.
Microwave in increments, about 15 seconds at a time, until melted, stirring gently each time. The chocolate should be warm, not hot. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until soft and slightly fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add cooled chocolate and mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add icing sugar, ½ cup at a time and, in between, add cooled espresso. Depending on humidity, buttercream will take more or less sugar. The consistency should be stiff but not thick and should hold up but not feel heavy. If you add too much, simply add 1 to 2 tsp of milk or coffee to thin slightly.
Stir in coffee liqueur if desired. Keep any unused frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Put 1 inch of water in a medium pot and bring to a simmer.
Place sugar, cream, chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over the water to gently warm the ingredients. The bowl should fit snuggly over the pot (alternatively, use a double boiler). Let ingredients melt and combine without stirring for 10 to 12 minutes. The sugar should be fully dissolved or the sauce will have a granular texture.
Stir in espresso or espresso powder until well combined. Allow to cool slightly before using, or keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and warm before using.
Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, cover with a thin layer of chocolate espresso buttercream (2 to 3 tbsp), leaving a ¼-inch border. Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 30, with the best-looking crepe on top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve, warm chocolate ganache to a nice pouring consistency and pour over the top in front of guests. Alternatively, pour sauce over beforehand and let it set slightly in the fridge. There will be extra sauce to dollop over each slice when serving. As an additional garnish, you can use freshly whipped cream and chopped nuts.
Lindt Maître Chocolatier Tip: Tempering is the method of melting chocolate that prevents cocoa oils from separating while encouraging a smooth, glossy texture.
1 cup (135g) toasted hazelnuts, peeled and chopped
Sugar Cookie Crust
In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or with a bowl and a wooden spoon), cream together butter, icing sugar and ground almonds. Add yolk and mix.
Add flour and salt to mixer bowl. Mix together until a crumbly dough forms. Mix in milk to form a thicker dough.
Press dough together into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours.
Butter a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out sugar cookie dough in a large circle about 12-inches (30cm) in diameter. Transfer rolled dough to prepared tart pan and gently fit/press it into pan. Trim excess dough.
Chill tart shell 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180°C). Place tart pan on a baking sheet, fit a sheet of parchment overtop and fill with pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes with pie weights, then remove weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and cookie tart shell looks dry. NOTE: While tart is baking, watch to see if tart shell has puffed or bubbled up in the centre; if it has, immediately prick with a toothpick and press down carefully.
Let baked tart shell cool completely, then pop it out of the rim and slide onto a serving plate.
Roasted Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache Filling
When tart shell has cooled, prepare the ganache filling. Heat whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it’s hot and steaming. Place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and pour hot cream overtop. Let mixture stand for 1 minute, then stir to melt chocolate and form a fluid ganache. Let the ganache thicken for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every so often, then pour into baked and cooled tart shell. Let ganache tart set for at least 2 hours in refrigerator. Serve topped with whole or chopped hazelnuts.
Lindt Maître Chocolatier Tip: When it comes to ganache, patience is a virtue. Once you’ve added the hot cream to the chocolate, give it a minute to melt before you start stirring to assure a smooth, glossy texture.