Chef Moment: Childhood Memories of a Beloved Chocolate Dessert

February 11, 2013 in Moments & Epic Dining
When Gregoire Michaud, Pastry Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, was a child, after-school snacking wasn't just a ritual—it was a highly anticipated event. Here, he shares the story (and recipe) of his mother's magical Chocolate Sabayon Tart.
Chef Moment: Childhood Memories of a Beloved Chocolate Dessert
This recipe might sound like a big deal but it's actually very simple

Grégoire Michaud

Pastry Chef



Chocolate Dessert

There weren’t many days where dessert wasn’t a big part of our days during our early school years. The four o’clock snack ritual after school was sacred, an almost inevitable craving was starting to tickle our tummies right in the middle of the afternoon during the last hour of class, and everyday, we allowed ourselves to dream of what was to come…

Amongst the dozens of different after-school snack we had, crêpes and apple tart were my all-time favorites—until my brother and I discovered the sabayon chocolate tart our mom made. It might sounds like a big deal, but it is actually very simple; and as with everything in food, simple is good. To describe the sabayon tart, think of a chocolate mousse, but baked and warm. It’s basically a sweet dough tart that we pre-bake, filled with a chocolate sabayon, that will be baked for a short 6 minutes in order to keep the center of the tart undercooked and just warm. You know, just like a chocolate pudding with a soft center, but this time, more like a soufflé.

Delicious Chocolate Dessert

When the tart came out of the oven, it was heaven. As we would cut through the warm tart, it was a magical moment, unveiling the soft creamy center. Our eyes wide open, our hands trying to grab the first slice, our nostrils breathing the chocolate fumes from the tart, it was time to indulge. We always had fruit compote with it—whatever fruit was in season—and it was the perfect fit, although we were highly focused on the tart itself!

After so many years, the tart still one of my favorite and yes, the fruit compote too. This time, I used sour cherries slightly caramelized with a stick of liquorice root to give a little contrast to the dish and a partner in crime to the bitter chocolate.

I hope you’ll enjoy my recipe for my Chocolate Sabayon Tart with Cherry-Licorice Compote for many years to come.

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