When it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s all about the chocolate.
Or, in Chef Tim Kirker’s words, “the sensuality of the chocolate.”
So, do we have your attention?
Kirker, who is Chef and Partner in one of Chicago’s Zagat-rated restaurants, Bistrot Zinc, walked us through one of the classic desserts on their menu and even offered it up for you to make at home. Watching him do it makes it look easy enough – see the video, below.
You start with egg whites, egg yolks, a little sugar, a little Grand Marnier, and a little chocolate. The key, as in any Valentine’s ritual, is in making sure things are put together just right.
“This dessert is classic,” says Kirker, “but easy enough to make at home, if you can follow the tips. We serve it on our dessert menu all the time, and just want people to enjoy it.”
For what he makes in the restaurant, Kirker uses a Valrhona Chocolate with 66% cacao, which he says has a nice “fruitiness to it, with hints of cherry.” He adds, “This recipe is definitely about the chocolate.”
Kirker makes the dessert with a meringue rather than cream. “There are as many recipes for chocolate mousse as there are for chili,” he says. “This one has a lot of dimension without the cream. It’s all about simple ingredients, made with care.”
A couple of his tips to keep in mind:
- Fold in the meringue gently. You don’t want to whip it.
- If you get nervous, don’t be—just keep going.
- And, if it does come out too grainy at home, you can add some chopped nuts and not waste the chocolate (although you wouldn’t find that technique used in the restaurant).
If you are in Chicago and able to go to Bistrot Zinc, put it on your list. It’s an authentic French bistrot and the bar really is made of zinc—it’s a play off the zinc bars of Paris, which are essentially neighborhood cafes.
“People come because we are a quiet, romantic restaurant,” says Kirker. The desserts don’t hurt, either. Of course, if chocolate isn’t your thing, try the Gâteau de Beurre d’Amande, which is an almond-butter cake with macerated berries. Or the Poires Braconné avec Mascarpone—poached pears with vanilla mascarpone.
But, trust us. The Mousse au Chocolat with dark chocolate shavings and crème anglaise is the way to go, especially for Valentine’s Day.
See the recipe, here
For more about Chef Kirker, go here
Bistrot Zinc is located at 1131 North State Street Chicago, IL 60610 and can be reached at (312) 337-1131. Visit the restaurant online at http://www.bistrotzinc.com and on Facebook at “Bistrot Zinc”.