The thing with running culinary retreats is that you get to know very cool people. Like really cool people. Really really really cool people. Dashing dapper folks. And sometimes they’re just exactly the right kind of exceptional and sometimes they’re just exactly the right kind of witty and sometimes they’re hitting it and are all of it and to top it up live in a Chateau (that’s like sounding ever so unlikely cherry on cake but I swear it’s true). And now guess what, they asked us if we didn’t want to pop over and say hello which is, in my universe, a mere rhetoric question, swoon and sigh and God I’ve been so excited! What to bring along when you’re invited to spend the day at a Chateau? Well, I made a Napoleon Tarte, now, Napoleon, as you are very well aware of if you read my book, is sort of a patron Saint of The Good Life (and The Cultured Blast), and a must for every decent household altar so you never run out of fêtes and adventures and things that are a hit. It’s with tipsy cherries (the recipe for which is too in my book) and lots of chocolate. I think it was a proper blessing and rather delicious.
What to wear when you’re invited to spend the day at a Chateau? A dress, of course, and it was a beautiful weather and just so summery so I fancied putting up my hair 19th century style yet they’re gone and I currently look more the likes of king Henry’s page. So I’d have loved to storm over on horseback or at least in a decent fly sharp trot dust cloud trailing behind but for the sake of the cake we took our battered mg car (dust cloud trailing behind). It was such a pleasant ride and arriving back home happy and ever so inspired after this day spent in fairytale, we were greeted by the moon casting a magical light over pasture and forest.
What you’ll need
- 200g very dark chocolate
- 180g fresh butter
- 120g sugar
- 4 farmer’s eggs
- A pinch of fleur de sel
- 30g of all purpose flour
- 90g of unsweetened cocoa powder
- A jar of tipsy cherries (recipe is in my cookbook) or griottes
- Optional: a tin soldier Napoleon on horseback
How to make it
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Melt the chocolate with the butter in the bain marie = a pot in a pot of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t boil else you’ll spoil the chocolate. Mix well so the two amalgamate.
In the meantime separate the eggs and beat the yolks with the sugar until they turn almost white, it takes a couple of minutes. Slowly incorporate the chocolate butter and then add the flour and cocoa powder.
Beat the egg whites with the salt to a very stiff mass, the like that is suited to make a baroque super hair sculpture on your head (think Marie Antoinette). Gently fold under.
Transfer half of it to a well buttered mould and put some tipsy cherries on, add the other half and bake for 7 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 150° and bake for another 17 minutes.
Let cool in the mould before transferring to a pretty plate.
Sprinkle with cocoa powder, decorate with tipsy cherries and a Napoleon.
How to eat it
With an inner salute to the Emperor while relishing the first bite, the rest of the cake then is entirely for your own enjoyment.