Pros: great recipes and photography
Cons: poor choice of typeset
By Pam Grant
Everyone thinks diamonds are a girl’s best friend right? Well I, a girl, am here to tell you that is wrong! CHOCOLATE is better than diamonds in my book and usually cheaper too. Women love chocolate and I hear tell that men are fond of it as well. That is why this book Intensely Chocolate by Carole Bloom is such a wonderful book. It not only shows some ingenious and inventive ways to serve chocolate, but it also did something I didn’t think was possible. It taught me things I didn’t know about chocolate.
This book starts off with an extensive look at chocolate and all that makes it what it is. This is not to be passed over on the way to the recipes. There is a lot of wonderful information here, not only about chocolate and the related terms but also a lot about different types of chocolate and its properties. This is crucial information to you as a cook about to make a scrumptious chocolate desert. The section on understanding chocolate goes into some great explanations between the different types of chocolate and all of its variety of forms and it very interesting and informative.
The 100 recipes in this book are the real story. They are perhaps the best collection of chocolate inspired heaven slices I have ever had the pleasure to salivate over. Although the book does cover some of the more mundane chocolate delights, even the ordinary recipe has a very creative and new flair to it that makes it a truly unique experience for the chef as well as the diner. To give you an idea of what I mean, the brownie recipe is not your typical squares found at the elementary school bake sale. The authors’ rendition was Triple Chocolate Toasted Coconut Brownie Wedges are something special. I chose to make the White Chocolate Mousse and Blueberry Sauce Parfait. Simple elegance is the best way I can describe this dish to you. This recipe is easy to prepare and a true delight to devourer.
Each recipe included instructions for making changes as well as instructions on any early preparation that could be done. Special equipment is listed and easy to plan for before the recipe is begun and easy to follow step by step instructions spelled out in a manner that is easy to understand and perform.
Normally I like to see nutritional information in a cookbook that I use but in the case of chocolate recipes nutritional information is better left out. The pictures in this book make each recipe look like something you just HAVE to try. Glenn Cormier, the photographer made each dish very warm and inviting looking.
This book is a must have for those of us in the world who love chocolate and those of us who cook for those who love it. It will not disappoint even the most discerning chocolate foodie.
White Chocolate Mousse and Blueberry Sauce Parfait
Makes 4 servings
Special Equipment: 4 tall wine glasses 1 ¼ cup capacity
White Chocolate Mousse
5 ounces white chocolate (31-35% cacao content), finely chopped
2 tablespoons water
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cup (7 ounces) fresh or fresh frozen blueberries
2/3 cup (4 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher or fine grained sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE MOUSSE: combine the white chocolate and water in the top of a double boiler over low heat and melt together, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting. Or melt the chocolate and water in a microwave safe bowl on low power in 30-second bursts, stirring after each burst. Remove the top pan of the double boiler, if using, and wipe the bottom and sides completely dry.
Whip the cream to soft peaks in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment or in a mixing bowl using a handheld mixer. Fold ine cream into the white chocolate mixture in 3 stages, blending thoroughly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until set, about 2 hours;.
FOR THE BLUEBERRY SAUCE: combine the blueberries, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring often, until the berries burst. Continue to stir and cook and mixture until it is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the sauce to a heat safe bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill.
TO ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS: Spoon half of the mousse into the 4 tall wine glasses. Spoon half of the blueberry sauce over the mousse. Add the remaining mousse to the glasses and drizzle with remaining blueberry sauce. Serve the parfaits immediately.
STREAMLINING: Store the mousse tighly covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator up to 1 day. Store blueberry sauce in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
MAKING A CHANGE: Replace 1 tablespoon of water with Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur. ( I did this. Very good.) To make the Blackberry Sauce, replace the blueberries with the same amount of blackberries.