fig. a: Will the real Chloé please stand up?
One day last week we popped into our favorite chocolate shop, Les Chocolats de Chloé, to see if we could subject Chloé herself to our “…an endless banquet” Summer 2007 Questionnaire. She was kind enough to take time from her schedule to answer our questions and these were her replies:
fig. b: chez Les Chocolats de Chloé
Les Chocolats de Chloé
1. Place of birth: Montreal.
2. Favorite place to unwind after a long day: Reservoir.
3. Favorite place in Montreal to people-watch: From my window at Les Chocolats de Chloé.
4. Favorite little-known gem of a restaurant: Does Reservoir count? [eds.—Well, okay.]
5. Favorite summer cocktail: 2007 is the year of white wine for me.
6. Favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilla Swiss Almond, but, just between the three of us, if you want something really good, try a slice of spice bread, Vanilla Swiss Almond, caramel au beurre salé et vanille fraîche, and a shot of dark rum or bourbon.
7. Favorite farmstand find: Raspberries.
8. Mountains or ocean? Ocean.
9. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Trains.
10. Peaches, pears, or plums? Plums.
Not long after we left Les Chocolats de Chloé, Michelle’s wheels really started turning. I could tell by that look in her eye. There was something about Chloé’s answer to #6 that had her intrigued, something that made her want to turn this fireside sundae into a summertime sandwich. After mulling it over that night, the next day she got to tinkering, and within a few hours she’d hit upon a combination she liked: a parfait laced with bourbon and Chloé’s very own salted butter caramel for the interior, and a couple of thin, crisp Belgian spéculoos, perhaps the world’s best gingerbread cookies, with hints of ginger and cinnamon and just a little orange. Why a parfait and not an ice cream? Well, not only did it not require churning, but Michelle knew that it would result in a creamy interior that would be much easier to portion. She knew it would taste great, too. And she was right.
fig. c: confection perfection: la Sandwich Chloé
1. Orange Spéculoos (adapted from Yann Duytsche’s Diversions Sucrées)
260 g sugar
200 g butter
zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
400 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the zest, spices, flour, salt and baking powder, than the egg and milk. Stir until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. Roll out on a floured surface to 2 mm thick, cut into desired shapes and chill. Bake at 325° F until golden. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.
2. Caramel-Bourbon Parfait (adapted from Patrice Demers: Chef Pâtissier aux Restaurants Les Chevres et Le Chou)
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 cup whipping cream
1 healthy shot bourbon
Chloé’s caramel au beurre salé et vanille fraîche, or any other quality caramel sauce of your liking
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside. Beat the egg yolks with 2 Tbsp. of sugar until it is thick and pale. Add the mascarpone and mix until smooth. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, add the remaining sugar and beat to hard peaks. Fold into the yolk mixture. Whip the cream to medium peaks and add the bourbon. Whip to medium-hard and fold into the egg mixture. Pour into the loaf pan, adding the caramel in layers, if using. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
Unmold the frozen parfait onto a cutting board. Cut into pieces the same size as the cookies. You can use the same cutter. Place parfait between two cookies and freeze, or eat immediately.
They turned out so well, in fact, that Michelle decided she had to deliver one to Chloé herself just as soon as possible. Well, “as soon as possible” was the next day. At first Michelle had herself convinced that she was capable of zooming down to Chloé’s at such a pace that not only would the ice cream sandwich manage to survive the journey without melting, but it might just be colder upon arrival than it had been when it emerged from the freezer. Luckily I managed to get her to reconsider. She put our Playmate cooler in the freezer, let it chill for a good 30 minutes or so, then, with all the care and precision of an EMT specialist handling a donated organ, Michelle sandwiched the Sandwich Chloé between a couple of ice packs, gently placed the bundle in the frozen cooler, and raced out to her bike to make her Meals on Wheels delivery.
Needless to say, Chloé was a little surprised by the spectacle of Michelle’s arrival—the bike, the cooler, the ice packs, the buried treasure—but she loved her namesake sandwich.