Posted by: Catherine | May 21, 2009

Chocolate Fané (The Second Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner)





You read about Gail Monaghan’s all-time favorite dessert, Fané, but…something was missing for me…something…could it be?…yes…chocolate. I could not possibly have a favorite dessert that was not chocolate, or at the very least chocolate-related, so I decided to make a chocolate Fané for The Second Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner. What can I say? I outdid myself! It was fantastic (not just my opinion…) and I’d make it again in a heartbeat, perhaps even making my own chocolate nougat for an OTT chocoholics’ (that would be me…) dessert. (BTW, I’m including a recipe for regular nougat from Gail…scroll on down…and I bet I could just add cocoa powder and turn that chocolate, too).

One of my mottos: You can’t be too rich, too thin or have too much chocolate.

I told Gail about my creation and she said she always wanted to make a fané using coffee ice cream…and about someone who made it using oreo ice cream and oreos (probably instead of the meringue? Because you absolutely have to have that nougat center). Interesting, though, how the plain vanilla sparks other ideas: Gail suggested that raspberry ice cream would be lovely in summer…or lemon custard ice cream…or grand marnier ice cream to go with the orange flower water in the nougat (if you make it yourself).

I will stick with the chocolate.

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup plus 5 tablespoons superfine sugar
1/2 cup quality cocoa powder
Cooking-oil spray
3 pints quality chocolate ice cream, softened
5 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces hard white nougat, crushed into small pieces, recipe below
¾ cup (about 3 ounces) shaved bittersweet chocolate.

The day before, prepare the meringue (I TOTALLY CHEATED, and bought chocolate meringue cookies, but I have a good excuse: My kitchen is too humid to make meringue): Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on low speed. When soft peaks form, increase the speed and sprinkle in ¾ cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup (or less) cocoa powder until the meringue holds stiff peaks.

Spread meringue into a rough 1-inch layer on baking sheet. Bake until slightly sticky when pierced with a knife, about 2 hours. Turn off oven and leave meringue inside for a few hours to dry completely. Break into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Four hours before serving, assemble the fané: Spray the inside of a 4-quart metal bowl with cooking spray and lay a large piece of plastic wrap against the inside of the bowl. Spread the ice cream evenly over the entire inside of bowl and plastic wrap. Cover and freeze.

Two hours before serving, whip the cream. When it begins to thicken, add remaining sugar and the vanilla, then beat to soft peaks. Set aside 2 to 3 cups cups of the whipped cream and refrigerate. Fold nougat into remaining whipped cream, then add to the ice-cream-lined bowl. Cover and freeze.

Just before serving, rewhip the reserved whipped cream to firm peaks, fold in remaining cocoa powder and broken pieces of chocolate meringue. Turn the bowl out onto a platter, separating the plastic wrap from the bowl. Remove the plastic wrap. Cover the ice cream with whipped cream. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Let soften a bit at the table before cutting into wedges.


White Nougat

Rice paper
1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
1/2 cup water
1 t. orange flower water or a bit more
2/3 cup medium-flavored honey like lavender, orange blossom, wild flowers
Large pinch of salt
1/4 t. cream of tartar
3 eggs whites, room temperature
2 cups toasted blanched almonds
1 cup hazelnuts and/or pistachios, skinned and toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees to warm the already toasted nuts.

Line a pan approximately 10 inches square with rice paper. Line the sides also and have the paper come an inch or two higher than the sides. Tip: Butter will help the paper stick to the sides

Put the sugar and waters in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture boils and becomes clear. Then stir in the honey and place a candy thermometer in the pan.

Meanwhile place the eggs whites, salt and cream of tartar in a metal bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed (raise to high as they begin to get stiff) until the egg whites are very, very stiff. Turn off and wait for the sugar to be ready.

When the temperature reaches 302 (hard crack) turn the mixer back to high and add the hot sugar-honey mixture in a slow steady stream.

Beat on high for 10 minutes scraping down the bowl occasionally.

Then put the bowl in a heavy skillet (to keep the mixture from burning) over low heat. Heat, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is warm and easy to stir in the nuts.

Stir in the nuts and then spread the nougat into the prepared pan. Cover with more rice paper, cut to fit and fold the edges down over the nougat to form a package.

Place another slightly smaller pan inside on top of the nougat and weight with HEAVY cans for 12 hours.

Unmold and cut into 2-inch bars. Rice paper the cut sides.

If necessary, place bars on a cookie sheet in a very low oven to dry for several hours.




  1. Get out of here—-This is incredible…..Awesome….Delicious looking! I can almost taste the chocolate!

  2. WOW, this really really delicious looking dessert! Perfect for summer!

  3. Incredible, this just looks incredible. The delicious factor is oozing here! Chocolate ice cream along with the heavy cream holy cow, must be absolutely addictive!

  4. This looks incredibly divine and decadent. Really special and scrumptious!

  5. A wonderful summer chocolate dessert! I love it!

  6. That is a chocolate bomb of a cake! Looks great. You’re very talented to put that together.

  7. MMMMMMM….what an amazing choclate bomb!!!
    It looks terrific! Great! I am amazed by your talents!!

  8. lol! I love your saying…you can’t be too rich, too thin, or have too much chocolate.
    I love those nuts in there…pistachios for me please!

  9. Your dessert look so chic. I need my chocolate fix everyday. That would do.

  10. I wish I could be too thin AND have too much chocolate 🙂

  11. I have never heard of a Fane before, but I’m glad I read this, because it looks amazing! Looks like a great dessert for a special occasion.

  12. It looks so yummy… chocolate with white nougat.. so perfect! 🙂

  13. Chocolate for me too, please. This looks outstanding!

  14. You are too cute. I love how you tell us you ‘cheated’ on the meringues! As if anyone would know. I get the feeling confidential cook is a cook that can be trusted. I don’t even need to comment on the bomb. Looks the best!

  15. I love a humble chef. 🙂 You did indeed outdo yourself!

  16. Beautiful! Perfect for the summer inventive way:)
    And you can visit me if I can visit you:)

  17. chocolate! yum, this looks amazing and perfect for summer.

  18. The Nougat in this other than the chocolate of course makes this very special. What a lovely presentation. Any guest would love this dessert. I’ll take 2 pieces please.

  19. Wooooooooooow, what is that? was my reaction when I saw the photo. but sounds like too much work for me 🙂 maybe when the kids grow up…?

  20. Good heavens, this looks divine. Your dinner guests are very lucky.

  21. this, my friend, is heaven on a plate. what a fantastic dessert–pure decadence!

  22. Wow, this looks awesome…wish could have a bite of it. Great presentation. Chocolate, nougat…yummie!

  23. The chocolate version looks great but I veer vanilla!

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