Mini Sarah Bernhardt cakes were my grandma Grethe’s signature cakes. Whenever she and her husband would have friends or family over for one of their lavish dinners, she would make these little mouthwatering sweet treats. She always served them after dinner with coffee and tea and chocolates, as if we hadn’t already stuffed ourselves with their delicious three-course dinner. But curiously, these little miracles always seemed to disappear before everyone had finished their coffee. And though I was only a kid, I always managed to get my share and gulp down at least a handful.
Like the famous actress whom these cakes were named after, my grandma was a real Dame, and both ladies sure had great taste in cakes. Originally a Dutch recipe, the story goes that Sarah Bernhardt tasted these macaron chocolate truffle cakes while on tour in Amsterdam. She was so delighted with them that the baker decided to name the cakes after her. Well, that probably wasn’t a bad publicity stunt! One thing is certain though: unlike far too many cakes out there, these are actually worth the calories.
Mini Sarah Bernhardts (makes 30 small cakes)
For the macarons:
1 3/4 oz (50 g) blanched almonds
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1 egg white (M/L size egg)
Mousse filling and chocolate cover:
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream (minimum 35% fat)
3 ¼ oz (90 g) dark chocolate (for the filling)
6 ½ oz (180 g) dark chocolate (for glaze)
Optional: Edible silver or gold dust for decoration
1. Set the oven to 300 F (150 C). Grind the almonds in a food processor or blender with knife blades until they turn into fine almond flour.
2. Add the sugar and the egg white and keep blending until the dough is smooth.
3. Now fill the dough in a piping bag and make 30 little tops of dough on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Make sure that they are not too close together as they will grow to 3-4 times their size when they bake.
4. Bake the macarons in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden on top. Once cooled the macarons can be stored in a airtight container for up to a week.
Filling and chocolate cover
1. In a small sauce pan heat the cream to the boiling point. Chop the smaller portion of chocolate into small pieces, and add it to the boiling cream. Cook for about 5 minutes while constantly stirring. Put the mixture in the fridge for about 4 hours till it sets.
2. Take the chocolate mixture out of the fridge and use an electric mixer to whip it into a creamy smooth mixture (no more than a minute).
3. Break the bottom (inside) of the macarons a bit without breaking the top. Put the creamy chocolate on the bottom side of each macaron. Smooth out the surface into a shallow cone. Put the macaron cones in the fridge for a couple of hours.
4. Chop the rest of the chocolate into very small pieces and melt half of it in a bain marie. Once it’s all melted, put in the other half of the chocolate. Stir it carefully till that portion is melted too. If you can’t get it all to melt put the bowl in the bain marie for a couple of seconds at a time and keep stirring slowly.
5. Now take each cone and dip the chocolate mousse side of them in the melted chocolate. Spray some or all with edible silver or gold dust if you feel like decorating. Once all of them are covered and hardened put them in the fridge again for an hour and they are ready to eat. Mini Sarah Bernhardt cakes can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or even frozen for a couple om months.