Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bishop's: Death by Chocolate

One of the most memorable desserts I've ever had was at Bishop's in Vancouver, about 25 years ago! I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but when a recipe features chocolate, it gets my attention. And this dessert captured my imagination, so much so, I remember it after all these years. It was Bishop's signature dessert, Death by Chocolate, a sinfully decadent dessert that looked like a murder scene — a crazed splash of raspberry coulis splattered across a pristine white plate, with a perfect slice of mouth wateringly delicious chocolate paté at the centre of the drama. 

John Bishop, of Bishop's in Vancouver - photo by J. Sancho

Bishop's is a Vancouver institution. For more than 20 years John Bishop has been at the forefront of showcasing British Columbia’s lush bounty of seasonal organic produce and promoting local ingredients and producers. One of the local producers that caught his eye early on was Lesley Stowe, owner of Lesley Stowe Fine Foods in Vancouver, who created Bishop's Death by Chocolate. Stowe had a catering business and much-loved gourmet food shop in Vancouver for many years, but decided to close the doors of the retail store in 2006 to focus solely on her latest creation, Raincoast Crisp Crackers.

Lesley Stowe - photo by Jonathan Cruz

Stowe also wrote a cookbook a few years back, filled with tried and true recipes from her shop and catering business, including her infamous Death by Chocolate Pate with Raspberry Splash. This recipe was a Lesley's signature dessert for years, which she sold to high end restaurants that didn’t have their own pastry chef’s at the time. One of the restaurants she approached was Bishop's, which had recently opened. John Bishop was interested, so in walked Death by Chocolate. The dessert even had the honour of being Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s favourite dessert, and rumour has it that he often ordered more than one piece when he dined at Bishop’s! 

Stowe's cookbook that features her recipe for Death by Chocolate!

Death by Chocolate
Serves 16
Recipe courtesy of Lesley Stowe

15 oz best-quality bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona or Callebaut work well)
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp butter
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup icing sugar
6 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
Cocoa powder for dusting

Raspberry Splash:
10 oz frozen raspberries
3 tbsp berry sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Line a 9"x5" loaf pan with parchment paper. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of a double boiler; add the cream and butter. Melt over medium heat, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute, continuing to stir.

Whisk in the eggs yolks. Sift the icing sugar into the chocolate mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in the Cointreau until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours to set or overnight.

To make the Raspberry Splash, purée the raspberries, berry sugar and lemon juice in a food processor. Pass the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds.

Unmould the cake, removing paper. Dust the top with cocoa powder. Drizzle a large spoonful of Raspberry Splash on each plate. Using a hot, wet knife, slice cake and place on plates.

Cook's Note: As you can see from the recipe, it does make a lot, but it does freeze well, if there's any left!

2183 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 1N7