Thursday, September 8, 2011
Cheap Thrills: A Sweet Treat
Everyone has a happy place.
Mine, sadly, no longer exists. It was at a restaurant called Le Bistro. My sweet spot, my idea of heaven, was planted in front of Le Bistro's revolving dessert case, very smartly and strategically located mere steps from the entrance.
The multi-tiered case revolved slowly, bathed in a gentle glow. All kinds of fabulous cakes and sweets twirled in that case, but I only had eyes for the Concorde.
A towering, dusky cake, the Concorde was layers of shatteringly crisp chocolate meringue alternated with dense, rich chocolate mousse.
Once, my husband bought me an entire Concorde for my birthday. This is why I've kept him around all these years even though he never remembers to put anything away.
When the restaurant closed years ago, I tracked down a cookbook with a Concorde recipe. It was, to put it indelicately, a pain in the ass. You whipped egg whites and baked meringue discs at a low temp for a long time on cut-up paper bags. The mousse turned out not ethereal but runny, like unset pudding. The whole thing together was just off — too much meringue; flat, liquidy mousse. Such a disappointment.
When I spotted this cake in the freezer case at Trader Joe's, my eyeballs nearly popped out of my head. Could it be? Oh, yes, it could. And for only $6.99.
While not as triumphantly tall as the Concorde in my memory, this version still has the same light, crunchy meringue with a decadent mousse. As an added bonus, a band of dark chocolate rings the cake. With some fresh raspberries, it was perfection.