In February I published a post entitled “plums poached with crème de cassis” and I mentioned that a wonderful way of eating them was very simply with some natural, creamy Greek yoghurt and a couple of dark crêpes dentelle.
So what exactly are these intriguing dark dentelle biscuits and how did I find out about them?
A few years ago, in a fit of hopeless self-improvement, I decided that I needed to sort out my French. I found a French teacher and a series highly-enjoyable sort-of-weekly sessions began. Kristell had the perfect set of clear, definite and positive character traits required for the challenge. She had high standards and was not going to compromise them; she had an amazing and essential sense of humour; and she had another essential – the patience of a saint.
Then she moved away, I couldn’t imagine a better teacher and my heart wasn’t on for looking for one… I am ashamed to say that my French took a dive back to where it had began with the exception of an in-depth understanding of the use of ‘on’ which I’d been disappointed to discover wasn’t the same as the way Prince Charles uses ‘one’ in English…
… but I digress. What is all that to do with dark crêpes dentelle?
Earlier this year I was footling about on LinkedIn (you can’t possibly ‘surf’ there) when one of those ‘you might know’ notices flashed up. Almost invariably I don’t know any of the people LinkedIn thinks I might, but this time it was Kristell! I found out that she’d married a chef, had two children, and set up her own business importing food from Brittany. And being a serial entrepreneur myself I was interested to know how she was doing with it.
A couple of keystrokes later I was onto her website at Truly French – it’s a new business and the stock is still being built – but I found the crêpes dentelle, and, reader, I ordered them.
Dentelle (I could still remember) means ‘lace’, and the rationale for the name is a story in itself. A Breton pastry cook overcooked his crêpes, and they became crispy and airy, all the more so after folding and baking… in fact they became so delicate, light and intricate, they looked like lace.
In a further culinary development the biscuits were covered in a superior quality (Kristell applies her high standards to her suppliers as well as her French students) rich dark chocolate.
Now I keep a stock of them together with my edible gold – I can make the simplest pud look a million dollars with their simple addition, either on the saucer as in the photograph, or crumbled on top for texture and garnish. They can dress up the poached plums and yoghurt as described above, or a simple vanilla ice cream with salted caramel sauce. They would be good with the panna cotta and Rote Grütze; or with the fruit crème brulée. Also good with the maple syrup and bourbon soufflé, or crumbled over the rhubarb sensible. No time to make the crunchy zest biscuits to go with the blood orange sorbet – these wicked wispy chocolate biscuits are the perfect alternative.
They are also excellent, light, and different, served just on their own after dinner, with coffee or a tisane, such as Kristell’s caffeine-free red tea with spices and seaweeds.
As you open the packet, listen to Leather and Lace – a compilation album which includes Meatloaf: bat out of hell; Alison Moyet: is this love?; Bonnie Tyler: total eclipse of the heart. See Alison Moyet singing Is this love below.