Chocolate Jelly with Pineapple and Violet Recipe

Gelée au Chocolat, Ananas et Violette

[Chocolate Jelly with Pineapple and Violet]

This is the dessert I served to close my recent spring lamb dinner: it was a few days before Easter so chocolate was definitely in order, but since lamb shoulder is a rather rich cut (though I must note that French lambs seem to be much leaner than their American cousins; French Lambs Don’t Get Fat), I wanted to chase it with a weightless dessert.

Inspiration came in the form of a recipe card I’d clipped from ELLE. It was called Variation Poire-Chocolat, and it was one of Anne-Sophie Pic‘s recettes cultes (staple recipes): a milk-based chocolate jelly made with very little sugar, held together by the power of gelatin, and topped with slivers of vanilla-poached pear and crumbled sablés bretons — butter cookies from Brittany.

And somehow, as it moved through the folds and creases of my brain, her idea morphed into this one: pineapple instead of pears (it is the tail end of the pear season, and I’d found delicious small pineapples aptly named pains de sucre — sugarloaves), violet instead of vanilla (pineapple and violet have been best friends in my mind ever since I tried this bread roll), agar-agar instead of gelatin, and dried slices of pineapple (a riff on my dried pears) for crunch, instead of cookie crumbs.

It turned out that the recipe, as printed, didn’t make nearly enough gelée for four servings: I don’t know what Anne-Sophie feeds her guests before dessert (though I’d love to know), but mine need a little more than three spoonfuls each. So once I’d filled the glasses with a ridiculously thin layer of chocolate jelly, I realized I had to make a second batch. I was out of the 70% chocolate I’d used for the first, so I used a 55% for the second, and this produced a subtle, entirely serendipitous chromatic variation.

The end result was lovely, light and floral, the jelly offering just the right compromise between gelled and creamy. I can picture endless variations on that theme, using different seasonal fruits and flavoring or infusing the jelly with spices to match. But the real discovery here was the dried pineapple, crisp and chewy and sweet as honey. I had made more than I needed for this dessert — I wanted to make sure I had four attractive slices to sit prettily on the rims of the glasses — and we gobbled up the leftovers like candy the next day.

Gelée de Chocolat, Ananas et Violette

160g (1/2 cup) diced pineapple
100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped (see note below)
300 ml (1 1/4 cup) milk
2 teaspoons sugar
2 grams (1 teaspoon) powdered agar-agar
3 drops violet extract (optional, substitute 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla essence)
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
4 slices dried pineapple (see below)

Serves 4.

Divide the pineapple among four glasses or ramekins, arranging it in a single layer at the bottom.

Combine the chocolate, milk, sugar, agar-agar, and violet extract in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the chocolate is melted. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Let cool for a minute and pour carefully into the prepared glasses. Refrigerate for about two hours, or until set.

Dust the surface of the gelées with cocoa powder (put a tablespoon of cocoa powder in a fine-mesh sieve and shake over the glasses) and decorate each glass with a slice of dried pineapple. (I also placed a candied violet in each spoon.)

Note: If you want the chocolate jelly to form two layers as it does in the picture, prepare the jelly in two batches, using dark chocolate for one and milk chocolate for the other. Let the first layer of jelly set before preparing the second.

Ananas Séché

One smallish ripe pineapple

Preheat the oven to 100°C (200°F) and grease an oven rack with vegetable oil.

Scrub and dry the pineapple*. Cut it in very thin slices using a sharp serrated knife. Arrange the slices on the prepared rack in a single layer (it’s okay if the slices touch, but they shouldn’t overlap) and bake for 3 hours, flipping the slices every hour or so, until dry. Let cool completely (they will turn crisp as they cool) and keep in a tin box at room temperature.

* Once dried, the skin and core of the pineapple are not unpleasant to eat, but if you think they wil bother you, you can peel and core the pineapple before you slice it.

  • Wow this looks/sounds delicious Clotilde. I would have never though of combining chocolate with pineapple with violette. But somehow it seems to word beautifully.

    – fanny

  • Superb ! wish I could taste some.

  • Mindblowing! I love this recipe. I’m sure that it tastes delicious…

  • nbm

    Clotilde! Amazingly good feature in the New York Times Magazine yesterday. How excellent to be paired with Patricia Wells. Congratulations.

  • Mlle Smith

    YUMMMMMMYYYYY! Are you kidding me?! We’re DEFINITELY going to try this one out! I love it and it sounds absolutely delish! :0)

  • Rachel

    Sounds lovely! I’m glad to know it works with a vegetarian gelling agent, I’m always a bit nervous subbing vegetarian gelatin or agar-agar in recipes that call for leaf gelatin.

  • As usual Clotilde, your take on this is original and looks scrumptious. The review of your book in the NY Times made the wait for your book all the more difficult.

  • Lisa

    Congratulations on the wonderful review in the NYT sunday magazine! The particular recipe that they featured sounds great. I wondered what “adapted from” meant – that is, did the magazine change it?

  • tu en as fait une très belle version à l’ananas et violette .
    Et moi au chocolat noir ,piment d’espelette , fève Tonka et framboises .
    Publiée le mème jour !
    Merci Anne Sophie Pic !

  • Clotilde, I never knew one could dry fruit in the oven. What a great idea. Are there any fruits for which this method would not work?

  • Alison

    “French Lambs Don’t Get Fat” is going to be the name of your next book, right?? :) The Gelee looks amazing and completely do-able.

  • Alisa

    do you think the untold secret of the non-fat lambs is that they smoke cigarettes?

  • You’re killing me it’s seems as if I have been eatng nothing but chocolate all week! Have you ever had any problems substituting agar-agar for conventional gelling agents?

  • Delicious! I’ll have to try that combination :)
    And congratulations on the NYTimes feature!!

  • This sounds absolutely heavenly! :)

  • Joan

    yum! methinks I’ll make this for Claudia (a French friend) whose birthday lunch I’m making…I can TASTE that photo

  • Nat

    I can’t imagine that three spoonfuls of this would be enough for anyone. It looks and sounds gorgeous.

    I also wanted to add my voice to the many congratulations for the New York Times review this past weekend!

  • This sounds amazing, I think I’m going to try it with passion fruit, but I’m sure the pineapple is a great match.

  • Kova

    Hi Clotilde, This recipe sounds fantastic! I can’t wait for your book to come out! I am also glad to see you substituted in the agar-agar, as I am vegetarian, so we can all enjoy!

  • This looks amazing!! I love it, the combination of pineapple and chocolate I know is delicious. The first time I tried it was as a chocolate fondue, now I’m hooked. Yummy. :)

  • serena

    haven’t commented for a long long time, but have been a reader your blog since soon after it started. just wanted to say a quick word of felicitations for the excellent NYT review & i am so happy for your success!

  • gingerpale

    Warm chocolate pudding spooned over *fresh* pineapple is one of my favorite desserts, but not nearly as pretty!

  • ccw

    Hi Clotilde,
    making my first shout-out here. I was wondering if you could tell us where you git the violet extract – I’ve been hunting on-line and at spice racks of many specialty places to no avail. Do help! -ccw

  • Melissa

    Congratulations on the rave review in the New York Times!

  • I love the look of this and the taste sounds so different than your usual chocolate dessert.
    Congradulations on the excellent review of your upcoming book!

  • And another lovely media mention:
    the new issue of W magazine–including a charming photo. I cannot wait to see the book.

  • Lisa – “Adapted from” means that they didn’t print it exactly as it is in the book. They edited it slightly for space.

    Marvin – I think it would work with any fruit that holds its shape when cut in slices (i.e. it wouldn’t work for passion fruit).

    Gingerpale – The pineapple at the bottom of the glass is fresh. Only the garnish is dried pineapple.

    Ccw – I’ve bought mine at Christine Ferber’s shop in Alsace, but I know it is available from professional baking supply stores.

  • sarahpea

    This looks simple and lovely and I too am excited to see you used agar.. But was wondering if you used a teaspoon of agar flakes or agar powder…


  • gerald

    I’m surprised that you stuck fresh pineapple in the bottom – does the enzyme that makes gelatin not gel not affect agar?

  • Clotilde — although I’m still in “honeymoon mode”, I can’t stop being a faithful reader. I love the agar substitution, since my sister-in-law is a vegetarian, and I’ve had a disaster or two trying to make pectin work in place of gelatin. I’m also fascinated by the fruit-drying technique…have you ever tried it for pears?

  • The Wine Makers Wife

    Clotilde, I am waiting eagerign for your new book! We’d love to see you in the Palo Alto, San Jose, Bay area of Californa. I had hoped to have you sign my copy! Best of luck on your tour. -Sara

  • Whow! This sounds really great. I’ll try it as soon as I get the chance! Keep those recipes coming!

  • This sounds divine.

    I’m going to substitute the milk for soy milk and make it vegan.
    I can hardly wait to try it!

  • Levynite

    I was bored so I decided to make some without the pineapple. It should be noted for anyone who wants a modified version of this recipe: two sheets of gelatin is not enough as I’m currently eating chocolate pudding. Oops!

  • Just tried the recipe & it tastes great! Planning to have a get together with friends next week & will surely have them taste this dessert. Please keep posting such good recipes!

  • Lynne Dennis

    I’ve looked everywhere for Violet essence since you did a post about pineapple violet buns, and I can’t find it..also would love the recipe for those buns, too…don’t recall you ever did one, just spoke of them, and made me jealous, lol

    • I’d almost forgotten about those! ^^

      • Lynne Dennis

        So you might give us a recipe? I’d love to give them a try…will hopefully find a source for the violet essence, or perhaps you could suggest a substitute?

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