Thomas Keller Roast Chicken-Chocolate Cake-David Lebovitz Website

Winter doesn’t want to retire:  around 6 cm of snow and -1C today.  The crocuses just started to peep up and now they’re all covered with snow.

Ad Hoc At Home - Thomas Keller
Ad Hoc At Home - Thomas Keller
Two books from Thomas Keller arrived last week: “Bouchon” and “Ad hoc at home“.  Demain, I’m going to make a roast chicken a la Thomas Keller.

Simple?  Normally yes, but this one will be brined for 6 hours before roasting.  I’ve never brined any meat in my life before, so this is going to be very exciting.  A brine is a mixture of water, salt and lots of spices. For the chicken brine, I added grated lemon peel and lemon juice.  The salt dehydrates the skin so you have to be careful roasting the chicken because it browns pretty quickly.  Letting the meat soak in the brine “results in very juicy, uniformly seasoned birds, with deep brown, crispy skin” (Thomas Keller in his book : Bouchon).  I’ve made the brine today so it can cool off before I let the chicken soak for 6 hours.  If it works out for me tomorrow, I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

I love to try out different techniques.

My mother’s aunt and uncles were farmers.  When they slaughtered their pigs, they used to sterilize the chops and put them in jars filled with fat and spices to make them juicy.  They kept them in those jars for weeks before frying them.

Farmer With Pigs
Farmer With Pigs
My mom said those were the most delicious pork chops she has ever tasted.  It’s true that your own pig will taste better than store bought.  You’re going to feed your own pigs with a lot of variety of left over food.

An aunt of mine, used to raise her own rabbits.  Once she gave us one, and it was delicious!  Europeans are very fond of rabbits, not only as a pet but also as a wonderful piece of meat.  Rabbits’ meat is wonderful.  It’s tender and has more taste than a chicken does.  It’s easy to overcook them, because rabbit meat doesn’t contain much fat.

Last night, I’ve made a Biscuit de gout chocolat doux (Philippe Conticini).  It’s like a chocolate cake, but more juicy.  I only had to cook it for 20 minutes.  It’s marvelous and easy to make! [I accidentally set the alarm on the iPhone to 12:13PM instead of 12:13AM and Gaby over cooked it by seven minutes… mea culpa! -Tom]

– 180 gr hazelnuts with skin

– 150 gr sucre cassonade (unrefined cane sugar) Please visit David Lebovitz website and blog!  He explains you everything about French sugars and how they are named, and many more interesting topics as well.

– 40 gr sucre glace (powdered or confectioner’s sugar)

– 2 pinches of salt

– 2 eggs entier (whole)

– 2 egg yolks

– 80 gr de farine de type 45 (Pastry flour, are all purpose flour will do to)

– 1 tablespoon of chemical yeast (rapid rise)

For the chocolat:

– 80 gr dark chocolat (62%)

– 40 gr milk chocolat (40%)

– 140 gr butter

For the egg whites:

– 6 egg whites

– 30 gr of sugar

1.  For the hazelnut powder

Arrange the whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 140C.  When the nuts are well grilled, mix them in your kitchen robot until you have a fine powder.

2. Melting the chocolat

In an au bain-maire, melt the chocolat with the butter, cut in pieces.

3. The egg whites

Whisk the egg whites together with the sugar until almost moist (not too stiff).

4. Le Biscuit

Mix the hazelnut powder, the 150 gr of sucre cassonade, the powdered sugar and the salt together.

Add the two whole eggs and the egg yolks.  Mix them for 3 minutes on medium speed.

When the chocolat is melted, add this to the mixture and then little by little add the flour and the yeast (both sifted together).

Then turn in half of the egg whites, and then the other half.

Mix this all together until you have a supple batter.

Pour the batter in a round cake mold (20cm in diameter and 4cm high).  First butter and flour the mold!

Then bake in the oven at 160C for 20-25 minutes.  Keep an eye on the cake, while it’s baking, the biscuit has to stay moist!

Bon appetit!

My flemish stew is ready, as well as the steamed potatoes and apple sauce.  It’s time to get the croutons under the broiler.  I have to keep a close eye on them, because Herr Miele scores high with his grill.  He’s wonderful :)

A bientôt!


  1. William Cleek says

    I’ll try this next. I’m looking for a chocolate cake recipe that uses little flour. Thanks for all the exciting ideas, Gaby. I ordered David Lebovitz’s book, The Chocolate Book. I am greatly enjoying the Sweet Life in Paris. Reading it slowly, so I can make it last longer. My best to Tom.

  2. says

    Hi William! We’re happy you endured to the end with the last recipe and that it had positive reviews! I was talking to Gaby last night about recipes. She said it’s difficult for her to write recipes down as they are seldom the same as she’s constantly substituting different things and making adjustments. For instance, if your dough is too thick or thin, what adjustments do you make? Or if the taste isn’t quite what she likes, does it need more salt or some other addition to tweak the taste.

    I suppose she can write an article about how she makes some of these types of decisions. :)


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