Delicious Bites: Pavé aux Chocolat
Hello everyone, would you like an easy recipe for baking this Christmas? It’s Jillian here with a special Christmas Delicious Bites post for you. When Holly asked me to come up with a simple Christmas dessert, I have to say I was stumped. In the Leiboff household, we’re nothing but traditionalists when it comes to our Christmas Day menu. Despite the 32°C heat outside, we always have roast turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas lunch followed by a traditional steamed plum pudding, well spiced and heavy with fruit and nuts. My work holds a Christmas lunch each year where we’re asked to bring along a dish to share. I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that I always bring along dessert so today I’m sharing with you a recipe for a favourite dessert of mine, a Pavé aux Chocolat.
It’s almost a family heirloom recipe because my Mum used to make a version of this when I was growing up, which she called Biscotten and it was one of her dinner party staples. Mum used to soak sponge fingers in a mixture of brandy and milk, layered them with a chocolate cream filling then covered the cake with whipped cream. I found this version in an English magazine long ago, wrote it out by hand and it’s been in my recipe box ever since. Pavé aux Chocolat is more about assembly than cooking so it’s easy to put together once the chocolate cream has been made. It’s not a last minute dessert though. You do need to make it the day before it’s served to allow all the flavours to develop and for the sponge fingers to soften. The sponge fingers are lightly soaked first and you might want to do a practice run on a few. Soak the sponge fingers for too long and they’ll be too soggy. Don’t soak them for long enough and they’re too crunchy.
The recipe is pretty flexible as well. I used rum but you could alter the flavour of alcohol used to soak the sponge fingers or skip it entirely. For an alcohol free version you could use some vanilla extract instead of the rum or you soak the sponge fingers in coffee or coconut milk instead. If uncooked eggs are a concern, I’m sure you could leave the egg yolks out of the chocolate cream entirely. The egg yolks add richness to the cream so perhaps you could add 100 mls of cream while melting the chocolate to make it more ganache like or maybe fold 100 g of mascarpone through the filling. I topped the Pavé with some chocolate curls but you could always top the Pavé with a layer of whipped cream just like my Mum used to.
Pavé Au Chocolat: Here’s the recipe for you:
185g (6 oz) dark chocolate
125 g (4 oz) unsalted butter
125 g (4 oz) sifted icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
2 tbs Dutch process cocoa, sifted
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup milk
18 – 24 sponge fingers (Savoiardi)
Chocolate curls/whipped cream
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over hot, not boiling, water or in the microwave. Set to one side and allow the chocolate to cool a little. Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa and mix until well combined. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring them in thoroughly. Gently mix in the melted chocolate. Refrigerate the cream while preparing the sponge fingers.
Combine the rum with the milk in a shallow bowl. Dip the lady fingers into the milk mixture and make a row of one-third of the lady fingers down an oblong platter. How many sponge fingers you use is determined by the size of your platter. Cover the lady fingers with a third of the filling. Build up two more layers of lady fingers ending with a layer of chocolate. Refrigerate the cake overnight to allow the flavours to develop. Decorate the top of the cake with chocolate curls or cover with whipped cream if you like. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
Wishing all of you a wonderful Christmas and New Year with your family and friends. See you all again in 2014 with some more Delicious Bites. – Jillian
(images/text: Jillian Leiboff)