If you happen to be reading this, you most likely cherish chocolate as much as we do. When something is as beautiful and beloved as chocolate, it is natural to wonder exactly how it came to be. Besides the obvious inclination that chocolate was given to us by the gracious gods of hedonism, there is still a scientific explanation to be sought.
Most are aware that chocolate comes from cacao, but where does cacao come from? Cacao trees, which are known binomially as Theobrama Cacao, are found in the tropical regions of Central and South America. They are categorized as a type of evergreen tree, and are considered to be small in stature, usually standing between 13 and 26 feet tall. The cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate are the seeds of cacao trees.
Cocoa beans are found within the cacao pods, which are classified as the fruit of the tree. Typically, a cacao pod will ripen yellow to orange and weigh about a pound or so. An average pod will contain somewhere between 20 and 60 seeds, more commonly called “beans.” When removed from the pods, the beans are embedded in a white pulp, which is sometimes used in various countries to prepare foods such as jelly, smoothies, and juice.
When seeking out any sort of food, it is important to be informed of the source from which it came. The dried cacao pods displayed atop the shelves in our shop serve as such-- they sit above the fully-realized confections we’ve created, representing a full circle in the life of the cacao. So, when a customer’s curiosity arises about the origins of the chocolate they’re going to eat, we have physical representation right there for them to see.
Bête Noire by Philip Duquette-Saville
Bête Noire. Literally, the “black beast”. Figuratively, the “bane of my existence”, my pet peeve, a bugaboo. This chocolate decadence with tempt you for just one more bite. And, like the apple Eve offered Adam, it is equally sinful and gluten free.
• 1 cup water
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
• 18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 6 large eggs
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350ÅãF. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment round; butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim. Combine 1 cup water and . cup sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Put chopped chocolate in a metal bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add sugar syrup to chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes to melt chocolate then whisk until smooth. Add butter and stir until butter is melted and mixture cools slightly. (This can all be done by hand or with a paddle on a stand mixer.) Add eggs to chocolate mixture and stir until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from water bath; transfer to rack. Cool completely in pan.
Bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake still in pan. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release sides. Cut cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream