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This Easter, Do the French Twist

Easter’s coming. Time to get ready. Miki Duisterhof, Country Living; Better Homes & Gardens; Hooker Furniture; Dana Gallagher, Country Living.

Want your home to spring into style this Easter? Do the French twist.

Treat guests to rustic bundles of beautiful blooms, a sophisticated, nature-inspired mantel delicate papier-mâché baskets of eggs in soft fashion hues and…furniture that delivers a touch of French chic that’ll be enjoyed long after the holiday ends.

Here’s how to shine and shimmer while dining. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

With sensuous curves and lavish ornamentation, the Sanctuary rectangle dining table and upholstered arm chairs capture the flamboyant spirit of France’s post-WWI La Belle Époque period.

With a series of adjustable shelves behind each door, this credenza is clearly more than a pretty face (though pretty it is). Photo: Hooker Furniture

A shimmery, champagne-colored antique silver leaf finish is integral to this credenza’s  “je ne sais quoi” French feel.  So is its serpentine shape, elegant carving and intricate detailing.

French fashionistas never underestimate the power of pretty. Nor does the Coco Daybed that’s upholstered in blush-hued velvet. Photo: Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture.

A modern take on classic French salon seating, the Coco daybed has clean lines and a novel peek-a-boo open back;  and is designed for use as seating or sleeping.

With its luxe Blendown seat’s feather/down feel, Dinah just may be he most comfy place to perch in the house. Photo: Sam Moore

Upholstered in a French Riveria awning stripe, Dinah is a chair that swivels with style.

The Studio 7H round end table combines classic European elements with modern mixed media touches for a casual, organic feel. Photo: Hooker Furniture

 Inspired by intimate cafes found throughout France, the Studio 7H round end table has a marble top and cast aluminum base. Sized right for use next to a sofa or chair, it’s the perfect place for guests to place beverages when sipping after the big meal.

Go glam for your Easter table decor by adding glitter and poka dots to your eggs. Photo: Country Living, Courtesy of The Girl Inspired.

Of course, no Easter gathering would be complete without a showstopper dessert like this decadent chocolate on chocolate tart with raspberries from “French Desserts.” It tastes great and can be made the day before—this recipe scores big where it counts.

Give guests an Easter treat they’ll truly savor—a chocolate on chocolate tart with raspberries. Photograph by Steven Rothfeld from “French Desserts” by Hillary Davis, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

Chocolate on Chocolate Tart with Raspberries

(Tarte Doublement Chocolat et Framboises)

Serves 8

I love adding flavors to my tart crusts, and for this one, I decided to make it taste like a crunchy chocolate sugar-and-butter cookie to contrast with the ultra-smooth truffle-like filling. Make this tart a day ahead so the ganache can firm up, and serve with fresh raspberries.

Special Equipment:

Food processor

1 (9-inch) tart pan with removable bottom

Pastry Crust:

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Page 3-Easter French twist text

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

1⁄4 cup raspberry jam, melted

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pint raspberries

Pastry Crust:

Brush the tart pan with melted butter (you don’t need to if your tart pan is nonstick).

Sift the flour into the bowl of the food processor. Add the salt, sugar, cocoa, and espresso power and pulse 6 times. Add the butter and process until granular.

With a fork, beat the egg yolks with the vanilla and add to the bowl. Process for 10 seconds then pour in 1 tablespoon water with the machine running. If the dough does not come together, add another tablespoon. Repeat up to 3 tablespoons until the dough comes together when pinched.

I usually use my fingers to press the dough into the tart tin. If it becomes sticky to work with, sprinkle some granulated sugar on the dough then press. If you would like a more perfect rendition, sprinkle granulated sugar on a clean work surface; bring the dough together into a ball with your hands, then into a disk, roll out to a size a bit larger than your tart pan, and fit into the pan.

 

Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the tart crust for 20–25 minutes, until the bottom is dry to the touch. Cool to room temperature. Paint the bottom with the raspberry jam.

 

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

Heat the cream in a saucepan until little bubbles form around the edges. Turn off the heat, add the chocolate and vanilla, and whisk until melted and smooth. Add the butter and whisk until combined and smooth.

 

Pour the ganache into the tart shell, smoothing over the top and pricking any little air bubbles. You want a very smooth surface.

 

Cover with a tent of aluminum foil so that it does not touch the ganache, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

 

Leave the tart on the counter to rest for 15 minutes before serving with fresh raspberries.

 

Recipe from “French Desserts” by Hillary Davis, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

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