Holiday Feature

Chocolate Policeman's Hat

Gendarme de Saint-Tropez
Serves 8

Chocolate Policeman's Hat

For the Filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons sugar
5 yolks

For the Chocolate Mousse:
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate
4 tablespoon butter, softened
1-1/2 cups whipping cream

For the Base:
14 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate


Make the filling at least 6 hours before serving. Put the cream and vanilla bean into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture thickens and becomes pale yellow. Gradually beat in half the cream, then the other half at once and return to the pan. Heat gently until the custard thickens. Do not boil.

Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl. Cover the custard surface with plastic wrap and leave to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 6 hours.

To make the mousse, bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan for 1 minute, then set aside.

Roughly chop the chocolate and melt in a bain-marie or saucepan fitted over a pan of hot water. When the cream is lukewarm, pour it on the chocolate and whisk. Leave to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the butter for 2 to 3 minutes until it turns pale. Still beating, slowly add the chocolate cream until smooth. Whip the cream, then fold it into the mousse.

Melt the 14 ounces chocolate as above and spread it out on a cold baking sheet to 1/4 inch thickness. Once it has set, use a cookie cutter to cut 12 circles each about 4 inches wide. Place one circle on each of 8 dessert plates. Spoon the mousse around the edge of the chocolate circles to make a ring with walls 1-1/2 inches thick. Spoon the chilled custard into the center of each ring and cover with a layer of the mousse. Using a metal spatula, smooth down the top and sides.

Cut the last 4 circles in half and arrange one under each mousse to resemble the peak of the gendarme's cap. Chill before serving.


Recipe from:

Provence Gastronomique
by Erica Brown
Photography by Debbie Patterson
$27.50 (hardback)
Abbeville Press Publishers
ISBN: 0-7892-0038-4
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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This page created December 1998; modified November 2006