Chocolate Pâté


I made this recipe for the first time 25 years ago, when I didn’t know much about cooking.  Bittersweet chocolate was an exotic ingredient that I couldn’t find anywhere, and I couldn’t Google to find it.

Fast forward to last week when I promised to bring something chocolate  to  my book club meeting.  I wanted it to be rich and decadent, but super easy to make.  This recipe popped back into my head and I dug out the recipe.  25 years ago it didn’t seem so simple and foolproof to throw together, but I now realized it was basically a ganache with butter added for even more richness.  The recipe fit all of my criteria; in addition, I was able to throw it together at the last minute, having toasted the almonds and chopped the chocolate the evening before.

Use your imagination for things to serve it with.  Someone brought some wonderful coconut macaroons that made great Almond Joy-style treats when spread with the chocolate.  I also recommend assorted fruits and shortbread or digestive biscuit cookies.  I wouldn’t say no to chèvre either.

Instead of waiting 25 years, I should have been making this at least once a month!

Chocolate Pâté

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ⅔ cups heavy cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 5 pats
2 tsp Amaretto, or ¼ tsp. almond extract
1 ¼ cups blanched almonds, toasted and chopped medium fine

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread almonds in a single layer on a pan and toast in the oven for 7-10 minutes.  Let cool and then chop.  Set aside.

Place finely chopped chocolates and butter pats in a medium-size bowl.

Place the cream in a saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until it is about to come to a boil, then remove from the heat (Alternately, you could heat the cream in a microwave safe container on High for about 3-4 minutes, watching carefully for the imminent boil).  Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter.  Whisk until the butter and chocolates melt and the mixture is smooth and shiny.  Stir in the liqueur or extract and the chopped nuts.

Spoon the chocolate mixture into a crock and cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

If the pâté is to be served within 2 or 3 hours, leave at room temperature. It will set to the consistency of thick frosting as it cools.  Otherwise, refrigerate, although it may then be necessary to add a bit of warm cream to the chocolate to soften and smooth the consistency, even after the pâté has been brought to room temperature.

10-12 servings

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