Petites Boules de Neige
Tips: Individual portions of a rich, dark,
flourless chocolate cake are baked in foil muffin cups, chilled,
peeled, then inverted and covered in whipped cream, hence the snowball
effect. Nice for an ending to a Passover meal, and, unlike a large
cake, you neednt serve all of these at once. Theyll
keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days if stored airtight, and
they freeze well. They are not too sweet and very definitely chocolate.
Youll need a standard muffin tin, with cups 2-1/2 inches in
diameter. Youll also need foil muffin cups; I havent
tried to bake these in paper muffin cups, but my guess is that,
because the boules are baked with steam to keep them moist, the
results would not be good. If you dont want to use liqueur,
substitute an equal amount of pure vanilla extract. I have made
these both with and without liqueur, and theyre delicious
- 4 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 ounces best-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch Salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water
- 3 eggs, graded large, at room temperature, beaten
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla OR a compatible liqueur, such as orange or coffee
- Heavy cream
- Superfine granulated sugar
- Finely shaved OR grated semisweet chocolate
- Mint leaves
- Fresh raspberries OR orange slices
Adjust one rack to center of oven and another to lowest position
in oven. Have ready a 13 by 9 baking pan, at least 1-1/2 inches
deep; if pan is aluminum, sprinkle about 1 tsp. cream of tartar
into bottom to prevent discoloration during baking. Have ready enough
simmering water to fill baking pan about an inch deep. Have ready
a standard (cups of 2-1/2 inch diameter), 12-cup muffin tin; line
each cup with a foil baking cup. Set all aside.
In medium heatproof bowl, combine finely chopped chocolates and
butter. Set over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch
bottom of bowl); stir often until about half-melted. While chocolate
mixture melts, combine sugar, salt, and water in heavy-bottomed
small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase
heat to medium-high; stir often until mixture just comes to a boil.
Remove from heat.
Remove chocolate mixture from heat and hot water. Stirring constantly,
gradually pour hot sugar mixture into chocolate mixture; stir or
whisk gently until smooth. Cool 15 to 20 minutes, stirring or whisking
While chocolate mixture cools, pour simmering water into 13 by 9
inch pan to a 1 inch depth. Carefully set pan on lowest rack of
oven, then preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
When chocolate mixture has cooled (it may still be slightly warm),
add beaten eggs in three additions, stirring or whisking after each
just until incorporated (you dont want a lot of air in this
batter). Finally, stir in vanilla or liqueur. For ease in handling,
transfer to liquid measuring cup or small pitcher of at least 3
cup capacity (there will be about 2-3/4 cups batter).
Divide batter evenly among foil cups (cups will be about 3/4 full).
Prick any obvious air bubbles in batter with toothpick or tip of
hot knife. Bake in preheated oven for 14 to 15 minutes. At the end
of that time, the edges of the individual boules will have risen,
while the centers will be sunken and look uncooked. Do not bake
any longer. Remove to cooling rack. Cool until just warm. During
cooling, edges of boules will sink somewhat; center will still be
sunken--OK. These wont look great now, but dont worry.
Refrigerate boules, still in muffin tin, until cold. When cold,
remove boules from tin (leave in foil cups for now). Store airtight
in refrigerator for up to 5 days; freeze for longer storage.
For Serving: If these will be served for Passover, confectioners
sugar cannot be used to sweeten the whipped cream, as it contains
cornstarch. If you do not have superfine granulated sugar, make
your own by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor
fitted with a steel blade until it is finely ground. If the boules
have been frozen, defrost, still in wrappings, in the refrigerator.
Decide how many boules you want to serve and remove them from the
refrigerator. Gently peel the foil cup from each, then gently invert
each onto a dark-colored serving plate (dont forget theyll
be covered in white whipped cream). Cover each boule tightly with
plastic wrap (dont squash it) and leave at room temperature
for 30 to 45 minutes. Its important to get the chill out of
these if you want the fullest chocolate flavor.
While boules stand, figure out how much cream youll need.
In my kitchen, 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
of superfine sugar is enough to cover 4 boules. Chill a small or
medium bowl (depending on how much cream youll be beating)
and beater(s) from a mixer for at least 20 minutes during the standing
time of the boules.
Beat cream at high speed in chilled bowl with chilled beater(s)
until you can see traces of beater marks in it. Add sugar. Continue
beating at high speed until cream stands in very stiff peaks. Working
quickly, cover top and sides of one boule at a time with a thick
layer of whipped cream, dividing cream evenly among boules. I spread
the cream with a flat knife or the back of a spoon. Mound cream
into a snowball shape if you wish. Sprinkle each boule with a bit
of finely shaved chocolate; garnish with mint leaves and a raspberry
or orange slice (keep the decorations minimal and dainty). Serve
Yield: 12 servings in total
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