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Relais & Châteaux

While there’s nothing finer than an exquisite dessert at a first-class restaurant, there’s something even sweeter about making what a chef might whip up for themselves at home. Chefs at Home Desserts ($30; 877-334-6464), the newest cookbook by Relais & Châteaux, gives you the chance, offering 73 favorite recipes from some of the world’s most prestigious culinary geniuses, including Michael White, of Marea in New York; Michael Tusk, of Quince in San Francisco; and Normand Laprise, of Toqué! in Montreal.

Here, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten shares the method behind his famous chocolate cake. “This recipe was the result of what I thought was a catering disaster,” he writes in the book. “I was serving warm chocolate cake to guests at a party, but when I saw them taking their first bites, I realized that all the cakes had been undercooked. It was the best mistake I ever made.”

Chocolate Cake by Jean-Georges
Serves 4

½ cup butter, plus some for buttering molds
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp flour, plus more for dusting

1. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost completely melted. While that’s heating, beat together the eggs, yolks and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.

2. Beat together the melted chocolate and butter; it should be quite warm. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.

3. Butter and lightly flour four 4-oz molds, custard cups or ramekins. Tap out the excess flour, then butter and flour them again. Divide the batter among the molds. (At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; bring them back to room temperature before baking.)

4. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bake the molds on a tray for 6 to 7 minutes. The centers will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set. Invert each mold onto a plate and let them sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve immediately with a smear of chocolate sauce, chocolate crumbs and vanilla-bean ice cream.


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