The café crème dessert took me six months to create; there were so many things which could (and often did!) go wrong and so many techniques to master - the thickness of the chocolate, the textures, the presentation, the eating experience...
After six months’ total focus, this dessert was ready to grace tables at Le Manoir. It was a complete triumph. The twist is - I made just one… Monsieur Benoit and the Le Manoir pâtissiers have to make thousands – literally. When I demonstrated it on the BBC’s ‘Kitchen Secrets’, the team had to prepare at least 100 a day! I nearly faced a small revolution in the pâtisserie, but thankfully they're still talking to me!
It is a complex dish, but once you have mastered these techniques, they can be broken down into dozens of simple recipes with different flavours and textures.
"You could make a large amount of the coffee parfait and freeze it in a terrine mould. Slice to serve. The coffee could easily be replaced with all sorts of other flavours such as any seasonal fruit and liqueurs."
"The ganache cubes would be a lovely petit four for a dinner party."
"If you have extra sabayon, you can serve it on its own, poured over some seasonal fruit. You can also gratinate it by adding icing sugar and glazing under the grill."
"The technique for the coffee cup could be used to create many beautiful simple desserts."
The chocolate leaves can be used to create a raspberry, ganache, or praliné millefeuille. Many other shapes can be created, such as tears, leaves etc.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2018
Food Photography © Chris Terry 2018
A personal tour of Raymond Blanc's legendary restaurant-hotel through the four seasons, with 120 recipes from his celebrated kitchens.
Set in the rolling Oxfordshire hills, Le Manoir is a bastion of haute cuisine and a beacon of l'art de vivre. It is also the only country house hotel in Britain to have held two Michelin stars for more than three decades.
This book is Raymond's personal tour of Le Manoir through the seasons; the ultimate host, he lovingly reveals the stories behind the incredible rooms and gardens that guests travel the world over to experience. But it is food that is at the heart of Le Manoir, and here you will find the recipes for its most celebrated dishes, which range from those that can be recreated at home - such as Soupe au pistou and Soufflé de rhubarbe - to the sensational creations - including Thème sur la tomate and Cassolette d'abricot - which have earned the restaurant its status as one of the world's legendary gastronomic destinations.
With spectacular photography of the exquisite dishes, inviting rooms and the prized gardens, as well as beautiful and witty illustrations, the fairy tale of Le Manoir has been brought charmingly to life.