Joanne Harris’s 1999 novel Chocolat is the story of Vianne Rocher, who comes with her small daughter Anouk to French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes to open a chocolate shop right at the beginning of Lent. The book is rich, and sweet, and deliciously full of witchcraft, my favorite instance of which is Vianne actually scrying in melted chocolate!
Delectable food descriptions are woven throughout the book, and it’s obvious the author has a love of food. She even has a cookbook, cowritten with Fran Warde: My French Kitchen: A Book of 120 Treasured Recipes, which I snapped up shortly after reading the novel, and these meringues come right from its pages.
Illustration by Morgann Daniels
Meringues are light, fluffy…almost like the farts of an angel. No really! “Pets d’ange” is what the French call them – although doesn’t it sounds prettier in French? Vianne and Josephine share some in Chocolat at the counter of La Celeste Praline chocolate shop, but they are extremely simple to make at home, just 3 ingredients.
Chocolate Meringues with Chantilly Cream
From My French Kitchen: A Book of 120 Treasured Recipes by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde
For the meringues
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
Heat oven to 275° and line a baking sheet with wax paper.
Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the cocoa with a spatula. Using 2 spoons, make 12 dollops evenly spaced on the baking sheet, and bake for 2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave for another 12.
For the Chantilly cream
- 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Whip ingredients together until soft peaks form. Serve dolloped on meringues, or make sandwiches.
Recipe for Fiction Kitchen Episode 18: Chocolat in which Carrie and Diana discuss Joanne Harris’s novel Chocolat (which Carrie gobbled and Diana savored) as well as the 2000 movie – including witchcraft, the dark side of religion, fasting and feasting, a little history and lots and lots of chocolate.
For another Chocolat-inspired recipe, nibble on these old-fashioned Rose Creams.