“The White Lady,” he murmured. “She is called a wisewoman, a healer. And yet…she sees to the center of a man, and can turn his soul to ashes, if evil be found there.” He bobbed his head, turned, and shuffled off hastily in the direction of the kitchen. I saw his elbow bob, and realized that he was crossing himself as he went.
“Jesus H. Christ,” I said, turning back to Jamie. “Did you ever hear of La Dame Blanche?”
“Um? Oh? Oh, aye, I’ve…heard the stories.” Jamie’s eyes were hidden by long auburn lashes as he buried his nose in his cup of chocolate, but the blush on his cheeks was too deep to be put down to the heat of the rising steam.
I leaned back in my chair, crossed my arms, and regarded him narrowly.
“Oh, you have?” I said. “Would it surprise you to hear that the men who attacked Mary and me last night referred to me as La Dame Blanche?”
“They did?” He looked up quickly at that, startled.
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 20 – La Dame Blanche)
In 1643, Princess Maria Theresa of Spain brought a gift of chocolate to France.
The royal chocolatiers had another 100 years to get Chocolat Chaud just right before J&C came to stay at Jared’s.
Thankfully, they came up with a real winner.
Parisian Hot Chocolate is a lot different than that powdered stuff Carnation keeps trying to convince me to add water to. I won’t say a lot more, except maybe to add that corn syrup solids, hydrogenated vegetable oil, dipotassium phosphate (and many, many more) simply aren’t welcome in my cup.
Instead, I love the simplicity of this recipe from David Lebowitz, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, turned full-time food writer and cookbook author from his home in Paris.
The key to success with a two-ingredient recipe is quality ingredients. That means using WHOLE milk (leave the skim for tomorrow morning’s cereal) and high-quality chocolate. I used Camino Bittersweet Baking Chocolate, an organic, free-trade brand with 71% cacao.
Although David also calls for (optional) sugar, neither my Englishman nor I thought it was needed. That said, I used a little coarse turbinado sugar along with a few flakes of fleur de sel as a pretty garnish. The salty sweet combo was the perfect finishing touch. A pinch of cayenne on top wouldn’t go amiss either.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
: The thickest, richest most delicious hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. All with just 2 ingredients…or 3 if you like it sweet.
Yield: 4 small servings
- Whole Milk – 2 Cups (500 ml)
- Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate, finely chopped – 5 oz (130 g)
- Sugar (optional) – up to 2 Tble
Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat.
When the milk is warm, whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot. To thicken, increase the heat to medium and cook at a low boil for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly.
Taste, and decide if you need to sweeten it with a bit of sugar. Serve warm, in small demitasse or coffee cups, sprinkled with a bit of Fleur de Sel, (finishing salt), if desired.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)
- This hot chocolate is even better when made a few hours ahead. Rewarm and thin with more milk, if necessary, before serving.
- A drop of Grand Marnier in mine almost made my heart burst with joy. Peppermint liqueur or Creme de Menthe would also be lovely. (Just make sure the cask is clean of bodies if you choose the latter.)