On top of La Tour Montparnasse, photographed by Kate Coldrick We met in May of 06 long distance over a chocolate glaze. Zach had the rudiments of a recipe he obtained from a patisserie called La Petite Rose in Paris. I had what turned out to be a near identical recipe from pastry chef Hidemi Sugino in Japan, translated by my friend Yoko Sakuma. I had kept the recipe for several years fearing it wouldn’t work because so often recipes given by chef don’t as evidenced by the e-mail below. It was the shiniest chocolate glaze I had ever seen and I dubbed it “Chocolate Lacquer Glaze” though Woody improved upon this calling it “Baby Grand Piano Glaze.” I told Zach that if he would test the recipe I would send him what I had and give him credit in the book. Between him, Woody, and me we must have tweaked it close to 30 times and it now graces the cover of my upcoming book. I also included Zach’s fabulous recreation of the La Petite Rose signature cake Le Valentin which I renamed “La Bomba” because the original was shaped in a 7 inch/4 cup pan which is not readily available so we decided to shape it in a standard size 4 cup bowl!
Our first e-mail correspondence May of 06 Zach said: Hi Rose, I'm working on a recipe that uses a chocolate glaze using 1 oz. of gelatin. The recipe instructions only state to "bloom and melt the gelatin" (before combining with other ingredients). Although I'm familiar with the process of blooming gelatin, the recipe says nothing about the amount of water to use in which to bloom the 1 oz. of gelatin. How much water should I use to bloom 1 oz. of gelatin? Also, is there a rule of thumb of the ratio of water to gelatin or does it differ per recipe? Thanks! Zach Rose said: actually there is a minimum amount of water to be used so instead of my checking the cake bible i'm going to leave that up to YOU as i'm TIRED!!! just check a few recipes in the book using gelatin. actually i remember that when too little is used it gets very stiff even when melted so it's pretty easy to figure out,i.e. you can't go wrong. i'm in a particularly disagreeable mood having just made a recipe given to me by a chef that was extremely vague to begin with and turned out to be entirely unacceptable in the end though it tasted great when i had it at the restaurant. by the way, you are the first person ever to mention using gelatin in a glaze other than my favorite pastry chef in all the world from japan who gave me his recipe and i plan to test it for the upcoming book. it results in a fantastically shiny dark glaze but of course having gelatin needs to be refrigerated. i'll feel better tomorrow! I asked Zach if the owner of La Petite Rose, Miyuki Watanabe, was Japanese and sure enough she was. No doubt she got the recipe from Sugino-san as it was published in one of his cookbooks. As Zach and I got to know each other and discovered that we both adore speaking French and visiting Paris we decided that one day we should meet in person and that it should be there. Coincidentally, Kate Coldrick of “Kate flour” invited me to visit her in Devon, England and this coincided with a family time-share in a chateau in Normandy so all of our far-fetched plans actually transpired! Three days in Paris and we packed in as much as we possibly could including meeting Zach’s enchanting friend Stéphane and going to dinner at a fabulous restaurant recommended by my friend Ariane Daguin of D’Artagnon. Since Zach was arriving a few days before me, and I had the misfortune of arriving on May Day not realizing until all plans had been locked in that everything would be closed, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Galleries Lafayette and put an unaffordable in America (near unaffordable in France) Longchamps handbag on hold for me. They had only two left in stock and here is happy moi holding the bag in the bag! Zach also spied a rain hat in the new spring color ‘cassis,’ that I couldn’t resist buying and these Versace gold shoes I’ve long wanted. We walked all over Paris and found an adorable grater shaped like the Eiffel Tower which each couldn’t resist buying. We followed my NY friends Jeffrey and Susan Postman's excellent advice to see the Art Nouveau museum atop Maxime's Restaurant. Sarah Berhardt And we took the Metro to the 17th arrondissement where finally I got to meet chef/owner Miyuki Watanabe and taste a small version of the original cake. The two culinary highlights of our stay were the dinner chez Helène Darroze and the fabled brunch at Le Crillon. Photos will be in next week’s posting.