Pierre Herme's Riviera
The first recipe I ever attempted from the Desserts by Pierre Herme book was his lemon tart. Seductively simple in construction - comprising merely of a pastry crust and lemon cream filling - its taste is anything but. The lemon cream was a true revelation, sublimely silky and unlike your everyday lemon curd texture although exactly the same ingredients are used. The genius, as always, lies in Herme's departure from conventional wisdom and technique - butter is added only after the lemon cream has cooled significantly to ensure smoothness, and the whole is then energetically aerated in a blender to produce a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.
I wanted to try another recipe featuring the luscious lemon cream and decided on the Riviera. Here, the tart lemon cream is sandwiched between alternating layers of flourless chocolate cake and bittersweet chocolate mousse. I down-sized the recipe to make individual portions, and fiddled with the presentation - instead of decorating the surface with spokes of mousse and a cut lemon, I applied a dark chocolate glaze and scattered on some finely grated lemon zest.