Dip into the luscious world of chocolate with these irresistible recipes from Frédéric Bau and the École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona’s new Encyclopedia

The following recipes have been excerpted from Encyclopedia of Chocolate by Frédéric Bau and École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona with permission from Flammarion. Photography © Clay McLachlan 2018. Purchase the book on Amazon below:


Serves 6-8 | Preparation time: 1 hour | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Freezing time: 30 minutes | Refrigeration time: 2 hours 30 minutes


1 tart mold
1 kitchen thermometer
2 sheets food-safe acetate or parchment paper
1 pastry brush


Almond shortcrust pastry
1 stick (4 oz./120 g) butter, room temperature
Scant 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 g) salt
2/3 cup (3 1⁄4 oz./90 g) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
3 tablespoons (1⁄2 oz./15 g) ground blanched almonds
1 egg
Cake flour, divided: 2/3 cup (2 oz./60 g), plus 2 cups (6 oz./180 g)

Bittersweet chocolate ganache

12 1/3 oz. (350 g) bittersweet chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa
1 cup (250 ml/250 g) whipping cream
1 tablespoon (15 ml) acacia honey
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (1 3⁄4 oz./50 g) butter, diced
A little melted chocolate to brush the tart shell

Chocolate tart. © CLAY MCLACHLAN

1 Prepare the almond shortcrust pastry. Soften the butter and combine it with the salt, confectioners’ sugar, ground almonds, egg, and 2/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) cake our. As soon as the ingredients are mixed through, add the remaining flour, and mix quickly, until just combined.

2 Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 in.
(3 mm) between 2 sheets of acetate or parchment paper. Place it, completely flat, in the freezer for 30 minutes.

3 When the dough has hardened, peel off the sheets and cut it out to the desired shape. Line your tart mold or pan with the dough and return it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes (so it retains its shape during baking), then preheat the oven to 300°F-325°F (150°C-160°C) and bake until it turns a nice golden colour, about 15 minutes. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes.

4 Prepare the bittersweet chocolate ganache. Chop the chocolate and melt it slowly in a bain-marie or in the microwave oven (on “defrost” or at 500 W maximum, stirring from time to time).

5 Bring the cream to the boil with the honey.

6 Gradually pour one-third of the boiling cream over the melted chocolate. Using a flexible spatula, mix in energetically, drawing small circles to create an elastic, shiny “kernel”. Incorporate the second third of the cream-honey mixture, using the same procedure. Then repeat with the last third.

7 When the temperature cools to 95°F-104°F (35°C-40°C), stir in the diced butter. Process for a few seconds using an immersion blender so that the mixture is smooth and perfectly emulsified.

8 At this stage, brush a fine layer of melted chocolate over the cooled tart shell to seal it. As soon as it has hardened, pour the ganache into the shell and chill for about 2 hours. Serve it at room temperature.

9 Be sure to eat this tart the day you make it if you want to enjoy the crisp pastry and creamy ganache at their best.

Tropézienne redux. © CLAY MCLACHLAN


Serves 6-8 | Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Resting time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Refrigeration time: 3 hours minimum


1 pastry brush
1 spatula or piping bag
1 stand-alone mixer fitted with a dough hook


14 oz. (400 g) raw brioche dough, homemade (see below)
1 egg for an egg wash
Pearl sugar and/or cocoa nibs
Confectioners’ (icing) sugar for dusting
Raw brioche dough
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (25 ml) whole milk
1/5 oz. (6 g) fresh (compressed) yeast
2 1⁄2 cups (9 oz./250 g) all-purpose our
2 tablespoons (3⁄4 oz./25 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
3 eggs
1 1/3 stick (5 1⁄2 oz./150 g) unsalted butter, cubed
Whipped ivory ganache with orange blossom water
5 2/3 oz. (160 g) white chocolate, 35 per cent cocoa
Whipping cream, divided: 1⁄2 cup minus 1 tablespoon (110 ml), plus 1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon (270 ml)
A few drops of orange blossom water

2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
2 1⁄2 tablespoons (1 oz./30 g) granulated sugar

Encyclopedia of Chocolate

1 Three hours ahead, or preferably a day ahead, prepare the white chocolate ganache. Chop the chocolate and melt it slowly in a bain-marie or in the microwave oven (on “defrost” or at 500 W maximum, stirring from time to time).

2 Bring the 1⁄2 cup minus 1 tablespoon (110 ml) cream to the boil in a saucepan. Gradually pour one-third of the boiling cream over the melted chocolate. Using a flexible spatula, energetically mix the cream into the chocolate, drawing small, quick circles in the centre to create a shiny, elastic “kernel”. Incorporate the second third of the cream and mix in exactly the same way.

3 Pour in the remaining third, using the same stirring technique. Stir in the remaining cold whipping cream as well as a little orange blossom water. Cover with plastic wrap flush with the surface of the ganache and chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.

4 Prepare the brioche. Slightly warm the milk in a small saucepan and dilute the yeast in it. Pour the flour, sugar, salt, milk and yeast mixture, and the 3 eggs into the bowl of the mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead for about 15 minutes at low speed so as not to heat the mixture, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the cubed butter and knead until the dough is smooth. Cover it with a clean damp cloth and leave it to double in volume. Punch the dough down until it returns to its original volume (this is to remove the air) and chill for 1 hour.

5 Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C). Cut out an 8 1⁄2 in. (22 cm) disk of raw brioche dough. Leave it to rise for 1 hour 30 minutes. Brush it with the egg wash, sprinkle with pearl sugar and/or cocoa nibs, and bake for about 25 minutes. Leave to cool and then cut it into two horizontally.

6 Prepare the syrup. Bring the water and sugar to the boil and add the orange blossom water. Remove immediately from the heat.

7 To assemble, moisten the cut surfaces of the brioche halves with a pastry brush. Whisk the ganache until its texture becomes creamy. Using a piping bag or a spatula, spread the whisked ganache over the lower half of the brioche. Cover it with the top half, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve.

Chef’s note: Pearl (or “nibbed”) sugar can be found in the sugar aisle of the supermarket or in specialty stores. If you can’t find pearl sugar, substitute crystallised sugar.

Tonka Bean Ivory Panna Cotta. © CLAY MCLACHLAN


Serves 8 | Preparation: 40 minutes | Refrigeration time: overnight


8 silicone molds or small glasses 1 colander
1 grater


Ivory panna cotta
2 sheets (4 g) gelatin
6 oz. (175 g) white chocolate,
35 per cent cocoa
3⁄4 cup (200 ml) milk
1 1⁄4 cups (300 ml) whipping cream 1⁄2 tonka bean

Strawberry coulis

4 2/3 oz. (130 g) strawberries
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 tablespoons (1 oz./25 g) granulated sugar

1 A day ahead, prepare the panna cotta. Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water. Chop the chocolate and melt it gently in a bain-marie or in the microwave oven (on “defrost” or at 500 W maximum, stirring from time to time).

2 Bring the milk to the boil. Wring the excess water out of the gelatin and dissolve it in the hot milk. Remove from the heat immediately.

3 Slowly pour one-third of the hot mixture over the melted chocolate. Using a flexible spatula, briskly mix it in with a small circular movement to create an elastic, shiny “kernel”. Then incorporate another third of the hot liquid, using the same circular movement and, finally, the last third, still mixing with a circular movement. Pour in the cold whipping cream and grate the half tonka bean into the mixture. Process with an immersion blender until the mixture is perfectly smooth and emulsified. Before you pour it into silicone molds or small glasses, wait until it just starts to thicken. This will ensure that the grated tonka bean does not rise directly to the surface. Chill overnight.

4 Prepare the coulis. Set aside several whole strawberries for garnish and cut the others into small pieces. Leave them in a mixing bowl. Bring the water and sugar to the boil and pour the syrup over the cut strawberries. Chill overnight.

5 The next day, pour the strawberries into a colander over a bowl to catch the juice. It should be perfectly transparent, so don’t crush any strawberries into it. Drizzle the juice over the panna cotta and garnish with strawberry halves, and even raspberries if you wish.

Chef’s note: For a refreshing dessert, serve this panna cotta cold with light green tea.

Florentines. © CLAY MCLACHLAN


Serves 10-12 | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 12 minutes


1 kitchen thermometer
12 stainless steel pastry circles, about 4 in.
(10 cm) diameter or silicone molds
1 silicone baking mat
1 food processor tted with a blade attachment


3 1⁄2 oz. (100 g) candied lemon peel (alternatively, use orange peel)
3⁄4 cup (5 1⁄2 oz./150 g) granulated sugar
2 1⁄2 tablespoons (1 3⁄4 oz./50 g) honey
1⁄2 cup plus 2 1⁄2 tablespoons (160 ml) whipping cream
1 3⁄4 oz. (50 g) pine nuts
3 1⁄2 oz. (100 g) sliced almonds
14 1⁄2 oz. (400 g) bittersweet chocolate,
70 per cent cocoa, divided

1 Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Cut the candied lemon peel into fine dice. Place the 12 pastry circles on a silicone baking mat.

2 In a thick-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, honey, and cream. Heat to a temperature of 244°F (118°C), then stir in the nuts and diced lemon peel.

3 Divide this mixture into the pastry circles, flattening it so that it is smooth and evenly distributed. Place in the oven and bake the Florentines for 10-15 minutes, until they turn a nice amber colour. Remove from the oven and take off the pastry circles. Leave to cool.

4 Temper the chocolate. Finely chop 3 1⁄2 oz. (100 g) of the chocolate, or process it in a food processor. Set aside. Chop the remaining chocolate using a knife with a serrated edge. Better still, use chocolate pistoles, buttons, or fèves. Melt it slowly in a bain-marie, or in the microwave oven on “defrost” or at 500 W maximum.

5 Stir the chocolate at regular intervals so that it melts smoothly. Check the temperature. When it reaches 131°F-136°F (55°C-58°C), remove the bowl from the bain-marie. Set aside one-third of the melted chocolate in a bowl in a warm place. Add the 3 1⁄2 oz. (100 g) finely chopped or processed chocolate into two-thirds of the melted chocolate, stirring constantly. The chocolate should reach a temperature of 82°F-84°F (28°C-29°C). Gradually add the remaining hot chocolate to increase the temperature to 88°F-90°F (31°C-32°C), stirring as you do so.

6 Use a spatula to cover the smooth surface (the underside) of each Florentine with the melted tempered chocolate.

Chef’s note: Remove the Florentines from their circles using a knife as soon as you take them out of the oven, when they are still pliable. If they start to harden, pop them back in the oven very briefly.

As seen in France Today magazine

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  1. We went to the Valrhona store in Tain a couple years ago. Heaven! We purchased chocolates for all our family and only regret we did not buy more. When we checked our bags later, there were all sorts of gifts.