Sweet Celebrations

 photo courtesy of Florian Hugo
photo courtesy of Florian Hugo

A  descendant of Victor Hugo, Chef Florian Hugo looked to honour and pay tribute to his family heritage when he founded his New York restaurant, Maison Hugo. An artist at heart, his fresh, creative interpretations of traditional French cuisine have won accolades and earned a global following. With the holiday season on the horizon, the chef shares his favourite festive desserts with our readers. The iconic French confection, the dainty macaron, is reinvented in a refreshing fusion of East and West, filled with lychees and raspberries, for a combination that’s delightfully tart and sweet. And Hugo’s version of a perennial favourite, dark chocolate mousse, is as luxuriously rich and silky as it gets. Its flavour is deepened with cocoa’s delicately bitter edge, for a sophisticated sweet finish in the most tasteful of French traditions. 

 

Rose Macarons

Sour Marinated Lychee with Raspberries. Makes 4 large macarons

Macarons

Ingredients:

 From the book Les Contemplations gourmandes; Photo by Sophie Tramier
From the book Les Contemplations gourmandes; Photo by Sophie Tramier

160g powdered sugar
100g ground almond powder
75g egg whites (3 days old)
3g dehydrated egg white powder (optional)
50g powdered sugar
Qs (just enough, use your judgment) pink or red food colouring

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 325⁰ F.
2. Mix the powdered sugar (160g) and the almond powder, and sift to eliminate any lumps.
3. With an electric mixer, whisk the whites together with the dehydrated egg-white powder and half of the powdered sugar (25g), and a few drops of pink food colouring.
4. When the whites begin to “point” (when lifting the beaters, a point of meringue forms), add the remaining sugar (25g) and mix again for 30 seconds.
5. Pour the almond powder mixture into the meringue mix.
6. Using a plastic spatula or horn, gently mix everything, making a circular gesture from the centre of the blend of the ingredients downwards and going up scraping the sides.
7. Be careful not to deflate the meringue.
8. Prepare a pastry bag with a 6mm tip.
9. Prepare a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (glue this down with a little of the macaron blend).
10. Pipe macarons onto the baking sheet, about 5cm in diameter to obtain 7cm after cooking.
11. Tip: Using a compass or template, draw 5cm circles on the baking sheet before piping.
12. Let the macarons dry for at least one hour at room temperature.
13. Bake at 325⁰ F for about 15 minutes.
14. After removing from the oven, lift a corner of the paper and pour a little water under it, to take off the macarons.
15. Wait 3-4 minutes and then peel each macaron from the paper.
16. Allow to cool on a plate.

Rose ganache

Ingredients:

50g white chocolate
50g cream
20g softened butter
Qs rose water
Qs pink or red food colouring

Preparation:

1. Boil the cream and pour over the white chocolate in a bowl.
2. Mix with a spatula.
3. Stir in the softened butter, food colouring and rose water (a few drops only).
4. Store in a cool place.

Raspberry coulis

Ingredients:

100g fresh raspberries
50g powdered sugar
5cl water (scant ¼ cup)

Preparation:

1. In a saucepan, boil the water with the sugar.
2. Add raspberries and boil for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Press through a strainer with a spoon. 
4. Discard solids.
5. Store in a cool place.

Assembly

Ingredients for assembly:

250g fresh raspberries
200g canned lychees in syrup
The juice of one lemon 

Assembly:

1. Roughly chop the lychees and marinate them in lemon juice up to one hour.
2. With a small spatula or a spoon, spread 8 half-macarons with the ganache.
3. Arrange about a dozen fresh raspberries on the edges of 4 half-macarons.
4. Add a spoonful of lychees to the centre.
5. Cover with the other half of the macaron.
6. Arrange on plates with the raspberry coulis.


Dark Chocolate

Chocolate syrup

Ingredients:

 From the book Les Contemplations gourmandes; Photo by Sophie Tramier
From the book Les Contemplations gourmandes; Photo by Sophie Tramier

60g water
40g sugar
20g cocoa powder

Preparation:

Bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir in the cocoa powder and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Strain and chill.

Chocolate ganache

Ingredients:

60g dark chocolate, 72%, finely chopped
50g cream
120g chocolate syrup (see recipe above)

Preparation:

Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the dark chocolate. Stir with a spatula. Stir in the chocolate syrup. Refrigerate.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

230g chocolate ganache (see recipe above)
250g whipped cream

Preparation: 

Gently mix the ganache with the whipped cream. Pour the mix in 4 small glasses or bowls and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Recipes by Florian Hugo  Translated by Many Ngom and Tiana Wong

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