Monday, 18 May 2015

Café Gourmand

For the past nine years I’ve been completely seduced by the south of France. We try to escape there for a few days at least once a year (twice if we can get away with it!). It’s a place I know I’ll never tire of, and year after year I always find something new to discover and fall in love with. 
This is one of those things…

Café Gourmand - or ‘greedy coffee’ as it translates - is a perfect way to finish off a meal; especially if, like me, you’re extremely indecisive when it comes to ordering! It’s a selection of mini desserts served with an espresso which means that you get a little bite size taste of three or four sweet treats.

Le Clems, Grimaud. May 2014
I first noticed this dessert appearing on menus in the last five years or so, my guess is that it’s a fairly new phenomenon - or else my French is getting better and I don’t skip over the things I don’t understand anymore!

Because I enjoy it so much in the south of France I decided recently that this would be the perfect dessert to serve after a meal with friends. So this is my ‘Irish’ version of Café Gourmand.


You will need: 
  • 115g/4 oz butter
  • 115g 4oz chocolate (Plain or milk)
  • 300g/10½oz golden caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 140g/5 oz plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g/3½oz white chocolate chips
  • (or 50g pecans & 50g white chocolate chips)

How to make them:
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Grease an 18cm/7 inch square cake tin and line with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl for 1 minute stirring halfway through, stand for 1 minute and stir again. If the chocolate still hasn’t completely melted pop back into the microwave for another 20 seconds. I like to use a mix of plain and milk chocolate. I can never decide which tastes better. I mentioned I’m indecisive, didn’t I?!

When the chocolate has melted and is smooth and molten stir in the sugar and salt.
Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Next break the eggs into the bowl one at a time and mix well.
Sift flour and cocoa into the mixture and beat until smooth. 

Stir in the white chocolate chips and pecans.

Then pour into a 7 inch square dish lined with baking paper.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes at 180°C. Cover the top halfway through cooking with foil so the top doesn’t burn. 
The brownies are cooked when a skewer inserted into the center comes out almost clean.

For my version of Café Gourmand I kept it chocolaty and served the brownies with a scoop of Haagen Dazs Belgian chocolate ice cream and a chocolate macaroon from Laudrée. However, the best thing about Café Gourmand is that you can serve any mini dessert you like. To make things easy buy some delicious treats and slice them up, or show off your culinary skills and make each dessert yourself! It’s up to you… the chef’s selection.

You’ll definitely need to taste the brownies before you serve them to your guests for dessert - for quality control purposes and to make sure they taste delicious!!

Yep... they do!

Serve on a plate along with an espresso and a selection of mini desserts, and don’t forget to enjoy them with your best pals!

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