Thursday, March 24, 2005

Biscuits de Chocolat

 Biscuits de chocolat - small cakes of chocolate

Small Cakes of Chocolate Biscuit

2 one-ounce tablets of chocolate, grated
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
8 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Beat the grated chocolate, sugar, and egg yolks until thick and creamy. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Sift the flour over the mixture and fold it in gently. Set cupcake papers out on a cooky sheet and spoon a small amount of batter--not more than 1/4 cup--into each one. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the batter. Bake at once in a slow (325ºF) oven, until the tops of the cakes are just firm. This should take 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Wheaton, Savoring the Past, the French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1769 (1983), p. 262.

Biscuits de chocolat

Mettez dans une terrine deux tablettes de chocolat rappé, avec une demie livre de sucre fin passé au tamis, quatre jaunes d'oeufs, battez le tout ensemble avec une espatule, ensuite vous y mettez huit blancs d'oeufs fouettês, que vous mêlez bien avec le sucre et le chocolat, vous avez un quarteron de farine un peu séchée au four que vous mettez dans un tamis, passez-la au travers dans la composition de biscuits, que vous remuez à mesure qu'elle tombe, pour la bien mêler avec; dressez vos buiscuits dans des les moules de papier, jettez un peu de sucre fin dessus en le faisant tomber lêgerement d'un tamis; mettez cuire dans un four doux.

Menon, La Science du maître d'hotel, confiseur (1750), p. 408.

Things I would do differently: I would melt the chocolate and cool it. I would beat the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar had dissolved, then I would have folded in the cooled chocolate. Next I would have added the flour, then the stiffly beaten egg whites. I would have only used 4 egg whites, not the eight called for. Because the chocolate was grated, it sunk to the bottom of the paper and looked like mini chocolate chips on the top (bottom) of the little cakes. Melting the chocolate would have allowed for it to blend with the eggs and, I believe, would have resulted in a darker, richer looking chocolate biscuit. I would add a pinch of salt to the egg whites before beating. Because of the lack of leavening, the egg white causes a crust that subsides--not a problem--just remove the crust after you remove the paper mold and turn the little cakes upside down on a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar after baking, not before; otherwise, it just sits there. As Wheaton states, spices had ceased being a major factor in use with chocolate by mid-18thC, but I will add a pinch of cinnamon or chili and/or black pepper next time--the taste was almost too sweet, and would have benefited from the addition of spices.

My submission for IMBB #13, My Little Cupcake, hosted by Makiko Itoh of I was just really very hungry.

Do look at this site for another way of "cooking" cakes in the 18thC, steaming cakes in tea cups, the original "cupcake."

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