Saturday 17 November 2007
[She likes rain – Coconut balls]
It’s November 2. I’m behind the window, watching the rain that pours on my grandparents beautiful garden. Every drop that reaches the earth, bounces on the perfectly-red leaves, making a loud noise.
Rain makes me happy. I know I could be playing outdoor, but right now, nothing feels as comforting as being where I am. It’s still pretty early and my grand-mother is preparing the breakfast table while my grand-father has gone to the boulangerie to get une baguette bien cuite for lunch.
Today, I’m turning sept ans et demi [7 1/2]. Et ça c’est important.
As I’m lost in my thoughts, I realise that grand-mère has been calling me for the last couple of seconds. Time for breakfast.
I sit at the table facing my bowl of hot chocolate and a plate full of homemade bread pudding topped with a generous spoonful of yogurt. Both of my grand-parents sip their strong coffee and start spreading butter on their tartines.
Hmmm, ça sent bon. Je peux goûter [Hmmm, it smells lovely. Can I have a sip]?
Oui si tu veux, mais c’est assez fort [Yes sure. It’s strong though].
She hands me her brown pyrex cup. Fais attention il est chaud [Watch out, it’s hot]. It is indeed. Warm and strong. Baah, c’est amer [Baah, this is bitter].
I decide that coffee is not for me and that I shall never drink some again. I just stick to my sweet and milky hot chocolat chaud. The bread pudding is soft and melts like butter in my mouth. La bouche pleine.
Qu’est ce qu’on va faire aujourd’hui [What are we going to do today]? Rochefort. Youpi!
A couple of hours, after lunch, we all head to Rochefort. The rain is still pouring but jumping in water pools is just too funny. As we reach the place principale, I spot a lovely pâtisserie. In the beautifully decorated window, some bright white balls stand out. Boules de neige.
A little more than 15 years later, those memories feel real again. I am biting into some homemade coconut balls and they took me years behind. Funny how food can act as a time-travel machine.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s coconut domes.
When I read Dorie’s article on serious eats, I knew I had to try my hands at coconut domes – or more accurately in my case – balls.
Her description of those treats reminded me of the ones I had eaten I Rochefort. The exterior is slightly crunchy, but not browned; while the interior is moist.
The recipe, which originally comes from Pierre Hermé, insists on soaking the coconut into the milk mixture overnight. Please do not skip this step as it ensures soft and chewy bites of sweetness.