Friday, April 22, 2011


Easter Chocolates Picnik collage 1 bis
Bamboo plate supplied by (plastic plates & catering supplies).

Book review - Critique De Livre

I am a keen baker and cook, and have been practising my skills for the last thirteen years, yet while I love to be adventurous and try new dishes, there are still a few (many actually) recipes I haven't got around to testing.
.. /// Je suis une passionnée de cuisine et ça fait maintenant à peu près treize ans que j'éguise mes "talents" de cuisinière/boulangère, mais malgré le fait que j'aime les challenges et que je n'ai pas peur de tester de nouveaux plats, il y a encore certaines recettes (un bon nombre, en fait) que je n'ai pas encore eu la possibilité d'essayer...

For example, although I adore cocoa-based treats and have been making my own truffles for a long time now, it wasn't until last week that I prepared my first moulded chocolates. The reason for being a total virgin in that field is because I lack confidence and constantly denigrate my talents, I have always shied away from that exercise as I found it quite intimidating and I believed it was too technical for me. /// Bien que j'adore les gourmandises à base de cacao et que je fabrique mes propres truffes depuis longtemps, je n'ai préparé mes premiers chocolats moulés que dernièrement. Comme je manque de confiance et dénigre constamment mes capacités, j'ai toujours évité d'en faire car cette activité m'intimidait et j'imaginais que c'était trop technique pour moi.

So, I was really excited to get the lovely Easter chocolate box set that my contact at Larousse Cuisine graciously sent me. In that way, I had absolutely no excuse not to tackle chocolate making as I now had a dedicated cookbook written by Rosalba de Magistris (who is a formative chef working at Alain Ducasse's cookery school in Paris), a thermometer and a couple of silicone as well as plastic moulds. /// De ce fait, je fus très contente de recevoir le coffret "L'atelier Chocolats De Pâques" que les Editions Larousse m'ont gentiment fait parvenir. De cette manière je n'avais plus aucune excuse pour le pas me lancer dans la confection de chocolats maison car équipée du livret écrit par Rosalba de Magistris (qui est chef formateur à l'école de cuisine d'Alain Ducasse à Paris), du petit thermomètre, du moule à œuf et des 2 plaques en silicone, j'allais pouvoir me donner à coeur joie.

This miniature and charmingly illustrated book offers 20 recipes for various chocolates and other confections that will please adult and children alike. Whether you like white, milk or dark chocolate, chocolate-oriented sweet courses, cakes or candies you'll find many great ideas in this publication (panna cotta nests, marzipan bites, shells filled with Tiramisù, festive brioche bread, decorated shortbreads, coconut filled delights, praline or meringue chocolates, etc...). /// Ce livre miniature et joliment illustré propose 20 recettes de chocolats et d'autres confiseries qui plairont tout autant aux enfants qu'aux adultes. Que vous appréciez les bouchées au chocolat blanc, au lait ou noir, que vous raffoliez de desserts à base de chocolat, de cakes ou bien de bonbons, vous serez enchantés par les nombreuses idées contenuent dans cette publication (nids en panna cotta, bouchées en pâte d'amandes, tiramisù en coque, brioche de Pâques, petits sablés multicores, chocolats fourrés à la noix de coco, oeufs aux éclats de meringues, bouchées aux pralines, etc...).

In that way, you'll be able to surprise your children, friends and family with memorable and touching chocolaty gifts, serve your guests elaborate desserts, decorate your Easter dinner table with your cute creations, recycle the leftover chocolates that you haven't eaten during the festivities and let your imagination flow. /// Grâce à ce coffret vous pourrez ravir vos enfants, amis et votre famille avec vos cadeaux chocolatés, présenter des desserts raffinés à vos invités, décorer votre table de Pâques avec vos adorables créations, recycler le trop de chocolats que vous n'aurez pa pû finir durant les fêtes et laisser parler votre imagination.

Perfect for beginners and amateurs confectioners! /// Parfait pour les débutants et amateurs chocolatiers!


Easter Chocolates Picnik collage 5 bis
As I'm a big fan of praline paste and wanted to create my own shaped chocolate tidbits, I opted for making Rosalba's "Praline Chocolates". Being the squirrel that I am, my pantry contains tons of quality Swiss dark chocolate that I maniacally stock as if I were awaiting my building block to be taken by siege, I decided to sacrifice a few grams precious war provisions and substitute it for the milk chocolate her recipe calls for. I didn't use couverture chocolate either since I would not even know where to buy in Geneva (unlike, France, England or the US we have no stores specialised in bakery items and everything you find is basic, like a relic of the 60's and so outdated).

Anyway, the result was highly satisfying and my chocolates turned out really pretty. Tempering the chocolate was easy peasy as the whole process was straight-forward, fuss-free and rapid. I had lots of fun playing around in my kitchen and imagining that I was an artisan "chocolatier". As a matter of fact, this experience was so positive that I am considering purchasing material on the internet in order to learn more about this art and expand my knowledge...

The dainty "Praline Chocolates" I put together were shiny, very enjoyable and had
a pleasant creamy as well as melt-in-the-mouth texture. The nutty and caramelly flavors blended perfectly well with the intense and slight bitter taste of my 60% cocoa chocolate.


Like any other Christian country, Switzerland has many great celebrations at this moment of the year (though nobody should forget that before it was Christianized, Easter was a Pagan festival celebrating the spring equinox) even if my country is not only politically neutral, but it is also confessionally neutral, and nowadays most people are not too observant and care more for the festivities than for the religious obsevances. I find that it is something good since that leaves us the choice to follow whichever path we desire (I have no oficial religion myself), but unfortunately, as a result, Easter has become a shallow commemoration which is now extremely commercial and totally deprived of any meaning (stores already start selling decorations as well as candies way already in February)...

Anyway, it didn't stop me from loving Easter when I was a kid as I considered it to a kind of second Xmas. You see, where I live it is the custom to offer children chocolate bunnies of all shapes and flavors, colored sugar eggs, a bit of money and spring-themed stuffed toys, whereas adults generally receive chocolate boxes, bottles of wine or flowers. It is also the tradition for Close-knit families to gather on Easter Sunday and spend some time together around a lovely meal comprising of asparagus (white, green or wild), dandelion salad, eggs (hard-boiled or mimosa), lamb (leg, shoulder or fillet), young goat, fish (smoked or fresh salmon), meat terrines ("Pâtés en Croûte"), cheeses of all sorts, "Chocolate Mousse", "Floating Islands", "Rice Tart", "Rhubarb Tart", "Meringues" or "Salée A La Crème" (and much more depending on the canton where you live - I am only describing what I have experienced in Vaud and Geneva so bear with me if I have forgotten something. I am in no way trying to pass for the leading authority on that subject...).

When I was small, my parents and I had the habit of reuniting with the rest of our Swiss relatives from Vaud and my grandparents' home was the nevralgic center of all our activities. Regardless of the weather which could prove to be quite fierce (April showers/soakers & strong and piercing Northern wind) depending on how early Easter was, after lunch we would go out for a walk around the fields and then we would stop somewhere in order to roll my granny's herb/flower stenciled eggs down the meadow's banks. Me and my second cousins had a blast doing that. We ran around the place like Tasmanian devils, screamed similarly to howler monkeys and frantically tumbled on the lush grass. Those were happy days of insouciance. Oh, how I miss that and mourns the times when my grandparents were still alive and the family was not in war...

Then, after having dirtied our clothes, spent all our energy running after one another, having got a suntan, enjoyed the birds' frantic tweets and admired the joyously green landscapes, we headed back to my Mémé and Pépé's house. Our stomachs were beginning to rumble, so my grandfather and grandmother usually got busy in the kitchen. Since we had tons of cracked as well as exploded eggs left from the rolling and we had already eaten a banquet a few hours before, it was a custom for us to eat an evening dinner consisting of a delightfully palatable, refined, yet humble dandelion (hand picked by my grandfather) salad with speck (Swiss smoked bacon), hard-boiled egg, chopped onion and peppery vinaigrette. To conclude our meal, my grandmother treated us to a comforting mug of chicory café au lait (coffee milk). Just heavenly!

Those are truely precious memories. I am so glad that I have been able to experience these idyllic times and get a glimpse of how life in the countryside was in the past, before the frenzy of our modern world took over the normal course of things...


If you are looking for other Easter menu ideas, please have a look at my extensive list of festive dishes. I hope you'll find something interesting and that it will help you have a more stress-free holiday...

Easter Chocolates Picnik collage 6 bis
Bamboo plate supplied by (plastic plates & catering supplies).

~ Praliné Chocolate ~

Recipe adapted from "Chocolats De Pâques" by Rosalba de Magistris.

Makes 16 mini chocolates.

200g Milk or dark chocolate (couverture, preferably)
1 Tbs Praline paste (recipe here, use 100g hazelnuts and 100g almonds)

1. Put 2/3 of the chocolate in a bowl and make it melt over a casserole using the bain-marie method (the bowl should not touch the bottom of the pan).
2. Stir with a spatula until the chocolate has completely melted.
3. Measure the temperature. It should reach 45° C (108 ° F) for dark chocolate and 40°-45° C (104°-108° F) for milk chocolate.
4 . Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and add the 1/3 of the chocolate that is left.
5. Place the bowl containing the melted chocolate into another bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes. Stir with a spatula to cool.
6. Measure the temperature again. It should reach 27 °C (81° F) for dark chocolate and 23°-25° C (73°-77° F) for milk chocolate.
7 . As soon as the chocolate has reached the desired temperature, put the bowl back over the bain-marie in order to make the temperature rise again and reach 32° C (90° F) for dark chocolate and 29°-30° C (84°-86° F) for milk chocolate. Stir gently with a spatula and incorporate the praline paste.
8. Pour the chocolate into the moulds and gently tap to release any trapped air bubbles.
9. Place the moulds in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, then using a scraper carefully scrape the excess chocolate from the top of the moulds.
10. Once again, place the moulds in the refrigerator and leave them there for about 1 hour.
11. Delicately, unmolds the chocolates.

Easter Chocolates Picnik collage 3 bis
Couverture chocolate is the only chocolate that can be tempered as it's made specially for that purpose, but you can use any cooking chocolate as long as you chop it finely before you melt it (follow the same method as described previously).
You can also omit using praline paste and incorporate spices (cinnamon, cloves, coriand
er, curry, tonka, etc...) or finely chopped dried/candied fruits (apricots, cranberries, candied ginger, etc...) instead.
The chocolates can be kept for a week in an air-tight box, in a cool place.
There are a multitude of elegant ways to serve those chocolates (in boxes, jars, crystal/glass bowls, on large serving platters…).

Serving suggestions:
Do you really need me to tell you how to eat those chocolates? No! I thought so...
Just don't overstuff yourself or you'll feel queasy!


Easter Chocolates Picnik collage 2 bis
~ Chocolats Au Praliné ~
Recette adaptée de "Chocolats De Pâques" par Rosalba de Magistris.

Pour 16 petits chocolats.

200g de Chocolat au lait ou noir (de couverture, de préférence)
1 CS de Pralin (recette, utiliser 100g de noisettes et 100g d'amandes)

1. Mettre les 2/3 du chocolat dans une jatte et le faire fondre dans une casserole au bain-marie en veillant à ce que la jatte ne touche pas le fond de la casserole.
2. Remuer avec une spatule et faire fondre le chocolat complètement.
3. Mesurer la température. Elle devrait atteindre les 45° C pour du chocolat noir et 40-45° C pour le chocolat au lait.
4 . Retirer aussitôt le chocolat du bain-marie et ajouter les 1/3 de chocolat restants.
5. Placer dans un bol rempli d’eau froide et de glaçons, puis remuer sans arrêt avec la spatule pour faire refroidir le chocolat.
6. Contrôler de nouveau la température du chocolat (elle doit atteindre 27 °C pour le chocolat noir et entre 23° C et 25° C pour le chocolat au lait).
7 . Dès que le chocolat a atteint cette température, remettre la jatte dans le bain-marie pour faire remonter la température. Elle doit atteindre les 32° C pour le chocolat noir et 29°-30° C pour le chocolat au lait. Remuer doucement le chocolat avec la spatule et incorporer le pralin.
8. Couler le chocolat dans les moules en silicone et les tapoter sur le plan de travail afin d'enlever les bulles d'air.
9. Mettre les moules au réfrigérateur pendant 10 minutes, puis nettoyer les bords à l'aide d'une spatule en râclant l'excédant de chocolat.
10. Remettre les moules au réfrigérateur pendant 1 heure.
11. Démouler délicatement les chocolats.

Easter Chocolates Picnik collage 4 bis
Seul le chocolat de couverture, spécialement conçu pour être travaillé en pâtisserie, peut être tempéré, mais il vous est aussi possible d'utiliser du chocolat pâtissier en tablette (il vous faudra le hacher) et de procéder sans problème de la même manière.
Au lieu d'incorporer le praliné, vous pouvez ajouter des épices (cannelle, coriandre, tonka, curry, girofle, etc...) ou des fruits secs/confits hachés finement (abricots, cranberries, gingembre confit, etc...).
Les chocolat se gardent pendant une semaine dans une boite hermétique placée dans un lieu frais.
Il existe une multitude de façon de présenter ces petits chocolats (dans des boîtes, bocaux, bols en verre/cristal, sur une assiette…).

Idées de présentation:
Est-il vraiment nécessaire que je vous dise comment manger ces chocolats? Non! C'est bien ce que je pensais....
Par contre n'en abusez pas autrement vous vous sentirez quelaue peu nauséeux!

Easter Chocolates Picnik collage 7 bis


  1. So lovely! Happy Easter to you. :)


  2. Comme toi auparavant, je n'ai jamais osé me lancé dans la confection de mes propres chocolats: je croyais que c'était trop technique (tempérage du chocolat, etc...). Je vois qu'il suffit de bien suivre les recettes. Tu m'as donné envie de me lancer (ma gourmandise me perdra!).
    Bonnes fêtes de pâques, et merci de ta visite...

  3. Ils sont magnifiques ces petits chocolats ! Quels jolis cadeaux à offrir :)
    Joyeuse Pâques Rosa

  4. The surface of your pralines are very brilliant !

  5. You made your own pralines? Freakin' awesome! Happy Easter, Rosa.

  6. Such a perfect and wonderful treat for easter. I am a sucker for praline.

  7. Molded chocolates? Ooh, la, la. You've made everything so beautiful and professional Rosa. I hope you and your family have a lovely Easter weekend.

  8. These are absolutely beautiful! What a gorgeous treat for Easter!
    Happy Easter Rosa!

  9. Magnifique ces chocolats. J'ai envie de m'inviter pour les goûter :P En tout cas, ce coffret est vraiment très sympa, surtout pour débuter ! J'ai décidé de me lancer à Noël pour un cadeau gourmand... On verra si je tiens ma promesse !!

  10. They are so cute looking! Not to mention glossy!

  11. Chocolate that are almost too lovely to eat. :)

    Happy Easter, Rosa!

  12. Beautiful, as always. What a sinfully sweet treat!I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter break!

    Happy Easter, Rosa :)


  13. I've never attempted chocolates. Your look perfect!

  14. I've promised my mom I'd make chocolate with her for Easter, but I was looking for something more interesting than just molding plain chocolate. This recipe has exactly the level of funkyness I was looking for, thank you!

  15. Rosa je suis admirative ! ils brillent comme des miroirs et c'est ça la difficulté....grâce à la température...bravo ! après un essai infructueux j'ai arrêté ! bravo à toi !

  16. Gorgeous as always! You always impress us with your beautiful creations!

    Happy easter!

  17. You're pralines are gorgeous! They look really professional.

  18. Happy Easter! Looks absolutely pretty!

  19. Perfect and wonderful pralines Rosa!! Georgeous! happy Easter! gloria

  20. Rosa, you did incredibly well for being a virgin ;o)

    Fantastic job, my friend.

    I love Easter a lot because of the memories of getting together too. It is spring time, lots of fresh new vegetables, like artichokes, and wild herbs, and especially lunch at my grandparents. I'd better get cooking....

  21. salut rosa
    moi je ne résiste pas au chocolat !!pierre

  22. J'ai essayé une fois, mais quand je travaille trop longtemps le chocolat, je deviens ... malade ! Et pourtant j'adore ça !
    En tout cas, Bravo !
    Joyeuses Pâques !

  23. Ces chocolats sont un vrai travail de professionel! Maintenant, je vais venir ici pour m'inspirer; je suis ravie que tu aies fait du praliné j'adore ça mais j'avais peur de le rater. Bonne fêtes!

  24. Rosa, j'en ai l'eau à la bouche
    Je vais vite tester cette merveilleuse façon de procéder
    Joyeuses fêtes

  25. I really love your jobs Rosa!..
    Pralines are gorgeous as alyaws.
    Loves from Turkiye

  26. So beautiful! These look like a perfect Easter treat!

  27. I love, love, love praline. And Swiss chocolate--now wonder you loved Easter. Your chocolates are indeed very pretty and photos lushly beautiful as always. Have a wonderful Easter, Rosa.

  28. Well done Rosa! Look at how glossily perfect the chocolate is!

  29. Hi Rosa Darling! Happy Easter to you my friend! You and I should do a choco trade sometime!

  30. I love making chocolates. Yours are beautiful. Amazing work!

  31. Here on these pages you are known to master quite a few dishes with the DB'ers so it is no surprise that these chocolates can now be checked off your list Rosa.

  32. What a beautiful chocolate clicks! Love that bamboo plate!

  33. Happy Easter Rosa. Aside from cheese,chocolate is another favorite food group. These look gorgeous!!Wish I lived closer. Have a great day.

  34. Absolutely gorgeous..I'm a moulded choc virgin too, LOL, and you inspire me to try my hand at making chocolates. What a great book Rosa!

  35. So impressed with your skill! Happy Easter!

  36. What beautiful chocolates, Rosa! Love your duckies! Happy Easter!

  37. These are perfection! Happy Easter!

  38. Wow..these look so pretty and perfect..great recipe..Love it!
    Happy Easter!

  39. Your chocolates are stunning. A huge fan of praline paste myself, I can only image how delicious these were! Well done! :)

  40. Well glossy and so perfect.
    Wishing you a great Easter.
    I have never prepared any moulded chocolates.
    Awesome work ♥

  41. ils donnent envie de croquer dedans ces chooclats

  42. Rosa, I am in awe over your skills here. Beautiful moulded chocolates and I cannot believe this is your first time doing this. Those little ducks with the big egg are adorable :) xo

  43. Heavenly Rosa, simply heavenly.

    Thank you so much for sharing. Wishing you and yours a glorious Eastertide...

  44. Your chocolates are absolutely stunning!! I love the mold you chose to use, too, so cute!

  45. Absolutely stunning photos and chocolates!

  46. Pâques c'était hier mais je sens qu'il n'est pas trop tard pour craquer pour cette recette.
    Bises à toi.

  47. What beautiful memories you have of Easter-time with our grandparents. I think spending time with mine, and all the family around was what I enjoyed about the holidays too!

  48. Rosa:
    tres jolie! I used to make lots of chocolates, so I know how hard it is to make them so perfect looking: great work. And the praline filling is perfect with chocolate. Hope you had a happy Easter.
    BTW, always love your photo collages, bring in a bit of non food world in your blog!

  49. Your chocolates turned out lovely, Rosa! Sounds like a great book too!

  50. PERFECTION- love how glassy n smooth they look!
    US Masala

  51. Woww!! If this is your first try, there is a "chocolatier" in you..Awesome!

  52. those are beautiful! the little ducks are especially adorable.

  53. so beautiful as always! send to me a box pls! :)

  54. 20 recipe is the perfect amount to try to get through! and after all it's chocolate so it shouldn't be toooo difficult. Hope you had a lovely Easter, my dear! :) xo.

  55. Happy Easter to you too!! the chocolates look great, so yummiiiii

  56. Ils sont superbes et bien brillants, j'adore !

  57. Those chocolates are gorgeous and they sound so good with the praline paste filling!

  58. mmmm.... those chocolates look so perfect. Sure wish I could reach through the screen right now!

  59. How lovely, Rosa! I'd never believe this is the first time you've made these!
    These are so artistically have a great talent! I've never made a chocolate in my life.

  60. I have a fear of tempering chocolate! I assume my kitchen is too warm or too humid or both, and I've never attempted it. Your finished chocolates look amazing. They're professional and perfect!

  61. Rosa - You really knocked it out of the ball park with those chocolates.

  62. Je me bats avec le chocolat dès qu'il s'agit de le faire fondre. Je suis scotchée par ton résultat.

  63. OMG! Perfect and wonderful with praline filling...

  64. they are stunning, great job rosa!!


  65. Ouah tes photos sont vraiment très belles, bravo! ;)
    Une belle recette de pâques..
    Bonne journée

  66. The chocolate do look almost too perfect to eat :)

  67. Bon ben j'ai de la lecture en retard par ici, mais c'est toujours un plaisir alors je reste :)

  68. Je ne me suis pas encore lancée dans la fabrication des chocolats... Tu me donnes vraiment envie de tenter l'expérience, les tiens sont splendides!
    J'ai déjà des moules, les épices, n'en parlons pas... il n'y a plus qu'à oser!

  69. I always said that if I were to lose my way in my Interior Design profession...I would certainly not turn down the chance to work in a chocolatier and pastry shop. A gal can dream.

    For now, I'll dream with you my little chocolate squirrel Rosa.
    Another great success from your kitchen ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  70. Molded chocolates are a treat I have never made myself...but these are just so perfect! Does sound like a wonderful book :)

  71. Ils sont magnifiques et vraiment très réussi! Miam, praliné est mon parfum préféré!

  72. J'ai toujours reve d'essayer ca aussi. Tu t'es joliment debrouillee pour un coup d'essai on dirait.

  73. I love making molded chocolate. People rave about them. You did such a beautiful job.

  74. Wow! Stunning and perfect! I am so impressed. I must look for this book/chocolate set in the bookshop. Fabulous!

  75. Those are masterful looking chocolates. You are a natural at making them. ;)

  76. This book sounds great - your chocolates have turned out so beautiful! Lovely to hear about your Easter traditions.