Storified by Arya McLean· Sat, Apr 06 2013 18:57:18
Indulgent chocolate ganache is paired with luscious vanilla cream in this simple and decadent gourmet cooking recipe served in the luxurious hotel Lucien Barriere in Deauville, France. The deep black ganache chocolate sits on top of a pool of creamy white custard for an elegant minimalist contrast reminiscent of an abstract suprematist painting by Kasimir Malevich. Paired with a glass of Pineau des Charente rosé wine, this lovely dish is sublime.
Chocolate ganache is made of pure dark semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream and can be used in various ways—as a glaze, frosting, icing, filling for pastries, sauce, decorative piping, or as a decadent alternative to whipped cream or chocolate fudge. To make ganache, the cream is heated and poured over chopped dark chocolate and stirred until smooth. Some like to add a little extract or liqueur for flavor. This recipe adds butter to the mixture to make it more sensual in taste and in texture. To make this recipe, you can use heavy cream or whipping cream for a thicker ganache or light cream for a lighter dessert. Heavy cream is high in fat content, with a percentage of about 36% to 40%. This kind of cream adds moisture and tenderness to the chocolate, and is best for whipping because it holds its structure well and produces a stabilized and stiff icing. This high milkfat is also preferred when making ice cream because it prevents the cream from freezing too much, producing a creamier outcome. Heavy cream makes a silky and light chocolate ganache similar to mousse. When poured on the vanilla cream, it floats like a pretty feather.
In this recipe vanilla cream is made in the English style. Also known as crème anglaise, English-style cream is a light pouring custard made with egg yolks, milk, sugar, and vanilla. The egg yolks and sugar are whipped together with a whisk until the eggs are almost white. The hot milk is gradually added while whisking the mixture consistently. The resulting liquid is carefully cooked over a bain-marie or on very low heat so as not to cook the eggs (which will result to scrambled eggs). At this point, the mixture is constantly stirred with a spoon until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon and taken off the heat. The cooking temperature should be between 156 and 185 Fahrenheit and should never reach the boiling point.