Sunday, June 21, 2009

C’est Marron, non?

Okay, okay…so once again I have jumped to conclusions…thus, I take back everything I said about Tresor being the oddest cake we made.

Dome aux Marrons was also a ridiculous looking cake. A large hemisphere of chesnut mousse interleaved with graduated layers of hazelnut dacquoise, then topped with chestnut cream and a lot of cheesy looking marzipan decors. The only thing that was missing, in my humble opinion, was the upper half of a Barbie torso.

It was hard to stay focused during the demo. It was late afternoon and late in the week, the room was so stuffy, the row of Latino students were chattering endlessly and everyone’s mind seemed to be elsewhere. Chef Tranchant began to assemble the cake into the dome shape and apply the chestnut cream. The translator was droning on about the spatula movements of the chef when a simple mistranslation saved the day. Instead of describing the chef’s method of applying the chestnut cream as ‘spackling’, her translation came out as ‘spanking’.

Suddenly the room sprang back to life, people were laughing and making innuendos about spanking the dome and other funny comments. Even the Asian students were nudging each other, giggling and making jokes. The row of Latino males had completely stopped their chattering and their attention was now riveted on the chef.

Chef Tranchant just smiled and used the renewed level of energy as a segway for his next installment: spraying the dome with chocolate! We watched in awe as plastic trash bags were laid across the workbench and hung from the ceiling to protect all surfaces from overspray. Then an electric power painter was plugged in, filled with a 50/50 mixture of chocolate & cocoa butter, and used to spray the dome with a light coating. The spray gun made a lot of noise while coating the dome with chocolate, which seemed to further impress everyone and hold their attention (or maybe jolt them awake if they’d totally missed the spanking translation).

Despite all the fun we had in the demo and practical, this is probably a recipe I’d only make once. I found the overall taste and texture quite heavy and sweet, begging for more texture and contrast. It was a lot of work to build the cake up and get an even dome shape. And, with all due respect to any future daughters who are yet to be born not to mention Barbie herself, there is no time in the foreseeable future when I’ll be feeling energized to clean power-sprayed chocolate off my kitchen walls. Some things are best left to professionals.

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