Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Concorde might change my life

That's a pretty bold statement... a dessert changing my life? But allow me to explain. If you actually read the words in my blog as opposed to merely gazing at the photos (*ahem*Ellis) you have read that I'm not a chocolate person. I'm really not. I LOVE most sweets and desserts but I don't want chocolates on Valentine's Day, I don't order chocolate desserts in a restaurant and I'd rather spend money on vanilla than Valrhona. BUT - the Lenôtre Concorde may have just changed my life. I might now have to say that I'm a chocolate person because of this one dessert!

The Lenôtre Concorde (created by Pierre Hermé)

Paul & Vickie (yup, this Paul & Vickie) invited us over for dinner last night and I offered to bring the dessert. One of the reasons I love to cook and bake for people is because food, GOOD FOOD, can bring such pleasure to people. The look that crosses someone's face when they're eating something they love - it's priceless! I find that I get that reaction more often from cooking for someone than... say, buying them a gift card to Banana Republic (don't get me wrong - I'd grin widely if you got me a GC to BR). It's one of the best gifts I can give! So, I decided to push Paul for Vickie's favorite dessert. He told me she loved the chocolate vacherin at Coco500 so I worked from there.

Fobbin' it!

The Concorde is very simple in elements - only two: Meringue and Mousse. 3 layers of chocolate meringue and 2 layers of chocolate mousse all covered with a thin layer of the same chocolate mousse (which is a bit more like a buttercream than a mousse).
Meringes: Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder to beaten egg whites,
then pipe onto
a circle drawn on the back of parchment paper

Mousse: Melt chocolate and mix with soft butter then fold egg
lightened with a bit of yolk into the chocolate

I'd read about The Concorde in my Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé book and it fascinated me. Perhaps because it was this famous dessert yet looked very -- rustic. Hermé created this dessert when he was apprenticing for Gaston Lenôtre over 20 years ago. It was not a vacherin but it resembled one with the layers of meringue. And since I still have egg whites to use up... I thought it was the perfect dessert to make on my Sunday afternoon!
Piped meringue disks and lines

3 layers of chocolate meringue sandwiches with 2 layers of chocolate mousse - it's decadent!

The dessert is really very easy to make. The most difficult part was piping circles and lines - and I think any of us who colored in Kindergarten could manage that. It's kind of a shame how intimidated people are by tackling "fancy" desserts. When you really sit down and read recipes you'll likely discover they're not all that difficult. It's more about planning the execution than complex pastry-art techniques. For example, since this Concorde required sitting in the freezer overnight and then defrosting in the fridge for a day - I knew I had to complete it at least 24 hours prior to serving. Not a difficult thing to plan for...

Polish it off with a thin layer of mousse

After the first freezing (~2 hours after covering with mousse) you warm
outsides to adhere the smaller meringue pieces

Paul & Vickie somehow managed to whip up a beautiful dinner for us on a Monday night complete with chips & guacamole, artichoke & leek soup, grilled corn & tomato salad and ribeye steaks with truffle oil mashed potatoes!

Vickie & Paul's artichoke & leek soup and roasted corn & tomato salad -
I was too busy eating to shoot the rest!

The Concorde went down fabulously with cups of coffee and some 80's music. Paul captured its description perfectly with his "it's light but deceivingly rich" comment. The textures contradict each other since it's crisp while being chewy. I really can't believe I'm saying this - but I'm craving more!! WHY did I leave them the leftovers?..!!
Oh I remember - it was that look on their faces as they took their first bites. Makes it all worthwhile...


  1. Just thought I'd let you know, Lise, that I am enjoying the left overs, right now. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm...... I'd share, but I don't want to.

  2. Wow, the different layers and textures sound so scrumptious!! It can't be better than your coffee crunch cake...

  3. You are now my favorite food blog.....and i love the dog posts too

  4. That looks so good! I am not a chocolate person myself, but that would probably convert me, too. I love the concept!

  5. oh wow that looks fabulous! i'm on a quest to find my favourite dessert so i think i'll give a version of this a try - i'm not that big on chocolate anymore, but if i could get someone to buy me enough dark chocolate say green & black's 70%, i do see how i could go the chocolate route with this


  7. hi,
    can I use glucose powder instead of glucose syrup to make this dessert?