Photography © Caroline Faccioli
When it comes to French desserts, Lenôtre is a name you should know.
Founded in 1957 by master pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre — who opened the pastry school that launched industry names like Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé — the maison creates some of the country’s most beloved treats.
For our November/December 21 issue, we featured four delectable recipes from their latest baker’s bible, French Pastries and Desserts By Lenôtre – a must-have for anyone who desires to up their sweet game.
In honor of the holiday season, we’re treating you to their Forêt Noire Gâteau recipe – bon appétit !
- Chocolate genoise sponge:
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup (80 g) sugar
- ½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
- 1½ tbsp (10 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp (20 g) cornstarch
- 1 tbsp (20 g) clarified butter, melted and cooled
- Butter + all-purpose flour for the pan
- To assemble:
- ¾ cup (200 ml) simple syrup (see previous recipe, but use kirsch or Cointreau instead of rum), cooled
- 1 ½ cup (325 g) chocolate Chantilly cream
- 1 ½ cup (200 g) Morello cherries, halved + pitted
- Chocolate collar:
- 1 cup (150 g) dark chocolate, 70% cacao
- 1 cup (200 g) Chantilly cream
- ⅓ cup (80 g) marzipan
- 6 cherry stems
- 3 tbsp (65 g) raspberry glaze
- Milk chocolate, for shaving
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Chocolate shapes
Make the genoise sponge:
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Grease a cake pan with butter and dust with flour.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water for several minutes, until the mixture thickens and reaches 104 °F (40 °C) — do not let it exceed this temperature: if the batter gets too hot, the genoise will be dry when baked.
Remove the bowl from the heat, and whisk on high speed for 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and whisk for an additional 15 minutes, until the mixture is light and airy (it should fall from the spatula or beaters in thick ribbons, and the bowl should be cool to the touch).
Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch and baking powder, followed by the melted clarified butter, mixing until just combined (do this quickly but lightly to avoid deflating the batter).
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until springy to the touch. Let cool slightly in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack (while still warm) to cool completely.
Assemble the gâteau:
Use a bread knife to cut the genoise crosswise into 3 equal layers. Place the bottom layer in the baking ring, crust side down, and brush with one-third of the simple syrup. Cover with one-third of the chocolate Chantilly cream, and scatter over half the cherries.
Place the middle genoise layer on top, and brush with syrup. Cover with another layer of chocolate cream and the remaining cherries.
Add the final genoise layer, crust side up. Brush with the remaining syrup, add the remaining chocolate Chantilly cream, and smooth with a palette knife. Chill for 1 hour.
Make the chocolate collar:
To prepare the chocolate collar, start by heating a baking sheet in the oven to 122° F (50° C). In a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in the microwave, melt the chocolate to 104° F (40° C), until glossy and smooth. Pour onto the warm baking sheet and spread in an even layer using a paint roller or an offset spatula. Chill for 1 hour.
Remove from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, until the chocolate is firm but not set hard: it should be malleable and easy to scratch with a fingernail.
Once it has come to room temperature on the baking sheet, cut out a band with a width of 2 ½ in (6–7 cm) and the same length as the circumference of the cake.
Run a hot, damp sponge around the outside of the genoise’s baking ring to loosen it. Rotate it slightly and carefully lift off the ring. Wrap the chocolate collar around the cake, making sure the two ends meet. Hide the join at the back.
Decorate the gâteau:
Using a pastry bag, pipe mounds of Chantilly cream over the top of the cake to cover it. Keep chilled.
Shape the marzipan into 6 cherry-sized balls, and push the cherry stems into them. Freeze on a plate lined with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the raspberry glaze. Dip the frozen marzipan cherries in the warm glaze until they are coated. Place on a paper towel to drain, and let cool.
Shave the milk chocolate into curls using a vegetable peeler. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Scatter the chocolate curls over it, then lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar. Decorate with chocolate shapes, and arrange the marzipan cherries on top. Serve immediately.