I'll be honest with you, I'm actually not really into romantic movies. So when I set out to find the perfect "TV Dinner" for Valentine's Day, I hit a wall immediately. Then suddenly, in a moment of clarity, I remembered the film Chocolat. After all, what could possibly say romance better than a film starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche, and a whole lot of chocolate?! My only problem is that thanks to all the chocolate, I had a hard time coming up with one scene that summed it all up.
However, I did recall that the shop was called Chocolaterie Maya and that the hot cocoa (you know, that one that melts even Judi Dench's old heart) contained a bit of a kick. To learn the secret recipe that is as close to the movie as possible,
1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
5 cups light cream, or whole milk or nonfat milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp granulated sugar or honey or to taste
1 tbsp almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
- Add chile pepper to 2 cups boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain for stray seeds, and set aside.
- In a medium-size saucepan, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Heat over medium flame until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves.
- Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick, stir in ground almonds or hazelnuts. Add chile pepper infusion, a little at a time, making sure the flavor isn't too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk.
- Desserts, Chocolate