My first recipe from Pierre Hermé's 'Desserts'! Well ... not exactly first because I had made the Autumn Meringue Cake before I bought this book. I wasn't sure what to make, but I did know I wanted to start with a cake. So I decided to start with the 'Riviera' cake, which is actually the cake pictured on the cover, I found that appropriate to start with. Well unfortunately the cake is not as delicious as it looks. The flourless chocolate cake tastes lackluster, and the lemon cream (although delicious on it's own) is waaay too much. So dissappointing when you put so much work and effort into it! Rating: 2 out of 5.

Flourless Chocolate Cake Batter recipe:
Supposedly makes enough for 4 thin cakes, but I only got 3 out of the batter.

- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (preferably Valrhona Manjari)
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature

- Melt the chocolate over simmering water or in a microwave and cool it to 114°F.
- In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar and the cocoa powder together until creamy.
- Add the yolks and beat until well blended. Add the egg and then the melted chocolate, beating only until the mixture is smooth.
- In a dry, clean bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
- Gradually add the remaining 5 tablespoons of sugar and beat until the peaks are firm and shiny.
- Using a large rubber spatula, stir about ¼ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, just to lighten it: gently fold in the remaining whites. The batter is now complete and must be used immediately.
- Position the racks in your oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and fit a pastry bag with a plain ¼ inch tip.
- To make disks, pencil the outline of two 9-inch circles on each piece of parchment (total 4, but you will only need 3).
- Gently spoon half the batter into the pastry bag and begin piping the batter and the center of one circle. (I find it easier starting and the end of a circle) Work your way in a spiral to the penciled edge and try to have each coil of batter touching the preceding coil; if there are any spaces, you can fill them in by running a metal spatula gently over the disk. Pipe the remaining disks – you’ll have just enough batter for 4 thin circles. (I had enough for only 3)
- Bake the disks for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking period. The edges will be very brown and the cakes will seem drier and more baked than those you’re accustomed to. (mine were spongy when they were just ready, but hardened after they cooled)
- Transfer the cakes, parchment paper and all to racks to cool.
- To release the cakes, run a spatula between the cakes and the parchment. (parchment goes off really easily)

Lemon Cream recipe:

Ingredients: (you will only need 1 ½ cup of this)
- 1 cup sugar
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 sticks + 5 tablespoons (10 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened

- Put a saucepan of water heat and bring water to the simmer.
- Place the sugar and lemon zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic.
- Whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice.
- Fit the bowl into the pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring with the whisk, until the cream thickens and reaches 180°F. As you cook the cream, whisking all the while to keep the eggs from overheating and scrambling, you’ll see that at first the cream is light and foamy, then bubbles get larger, and finally, as the cream starts to thicken, the whisk leaves tracks; the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Keep whisking, check the temperature and keep your patience; it could take as long as 10 minutes for the cream to reach 180°F.
- Pull the cream from the heat as soon as it is cooked and strain it into the container of a blender or food processor.
- Let the cream rest, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140°F, about 10 minutes. Make sure it is not over 140°F, before you add the butter!
- Working with the blender on high speed, beat the cream adding the pieces of butter. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- When all the butter is incorporated, continue beating the cream for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a cardboard cake round and center an 9-inch tart or dessert ring on the cardboard.
- Spoon in 1 ½ cup of lemon cream and use an offset spatula to smooth the top.
- Freeze until firm, about an hour.

Mousse recipe:

- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (preferably Valrhona Manjari)
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water

- Beat the cream until it holds medium-firm peaks, cover and chill until needed.
- Place the eggs and yolks in a bowl fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at the lowest speed for a few seconds.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave or over a pan of simmering water.
- Remove the chocolate from the heat and cool to 114°F.
- Place the sugar and water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil the syrup over high heat without stirring until it reaches 257°F, about 8 to 10 minutes, then remove it from the heat.
- With the mixer on the lowest speed, beat the eggs and slowly add the syrup in a thin, steady stream.
- Increase the mixer to high speed and beat the eggs for 5 minutes, or until they are pale and doubled in volume.
- Using a large rubber spatula fold ¼ of the whipped cream into the chocolate. (make sure you’re chocolate isn’t too cool, mine was and it wasn’t pretty, I fixed it all by mixing it on high speed)
- Fold in the rest of the cream and then the whipped egg mixture.

- Center a 8-inch dessert ring on a cardboard cake round and lay one chocolate cake disk in the ring.
- Using an offset spatula or a rubber spatula, spread 1 ½ cups of mousse over the cake and smooth the top.
- Position a second layer over the mousse, pressing down gently and jiggling the cake to settle it in place. Give the top of the cake a light coating of mousse.
- Remove the ring from the frozen lemon cream and lift the cream onto the cake. Spread a little mouse over the lemon cream to act as glue and position the third cake layer over the cream.
- Using an offset spatula, cover the top of cake with a smooth coating of mousse, sweeping the spatula across the mousse to level it with the edge of the dessert ring.
- Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour to set the mousse.

Folding 6 egg whites into the flourless chocolate cake batter.

A chocolate disk piped on parchment paper.

All 3 done. They're very thin.

I've photographed melted chocolate like 100 times, but I can't help myself, I'm so mesmerized by this gorgeous, satiny, smooth mixture.

The lemon cream before freezing it. Next time I'm using less lemon cream.

Assembling the Riviera.

Et voila! See how thick the layer of lemon cream is? And how thin the other layers?

3 chocolate cake layers, 2 chocolate mousse layers & 1 lemon cream layer.


Snooky doodle said…
oh this looks delicious !!!
Anonymous said…
Sorry to hear that it didn't meet your expectations :(. I hate slaving away in the kitchen only to be disappointed in the results.
Eliana said…
I think this cake looks great!

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