Today I’m cooking with one of my favorite spirits, Pernod Classic. I’ve had a bottle in my cupboard for as long as I can remember, and it usually found its way into brothy concoctions of herbs, butter, and shellfish. I splash it in soups, whip it into my aioli, and sometimes even my whip cream.
So, when they reached out and asked me to develop some recipes, I was very excited to partner with them. This menu is the result: a creamy fennel & anise scented soup; a saffron, Pernod Classic, and orange infused Bouillabaisse with garlicky saffron aioli (crusty bread required); and a decadent chocolate flourless cake with a Pernod Classic infused whipped cream.
If you aren’t familiar Pernod Classic is a versatile anise & fennel scented liqueur with hints of chamomile & honey that works in both cooking and cocktailing. It’s made in France and conjures up images of both Moulin Rouge era bohemians drinking on Haussmannian rooftops, old men sipping it with a splash of water during the Provence summer surrounded by fields of lavender, and large pots of bouillabaisse simmering in the port town of Marseilles.
It’s a novel in a bottle, and if a cook is only as good as their ingredients (spoiler alert: they are), then this can take your recipes from ordinary to elegant, from everyday to transformative. I think one of the biggest guiding principles in how I develop and think about recipes is: do these flavors tell a story? Do they whisk me away? Is there something unexpected I can take away from eating this? And, of course, is it delicious?
For a recipe to make it, it has to tick all those boxes. And these do. Mix up a cocktail with Pernod Classic (or enjoy it simply on ice with a splash of water), and you have an elegant evening at home from plate to pour that will whisk you away to France with each bite.
I recommend taking care to source the absolute best seafood you can find for your Bouillabaisse—it doesn’t matter so much what seafood mix you use, but more that it’s high quality. Firm white fish, crustaceans, and mollusks all do very well in it. For the soup, make sure it’s very well blended, and for a more refined texture you can even strain it by pushing it through a fine sieve with the back of a ladle. Lastly, make sure you only lightly whip the cream for the dessert, it should be soft, not stiff.
Flourless Chocolate Pernod Classic Cake (serves 8-10)
10 tablespoons plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp, divided
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tablespoon for dusting
10 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (67%)
1/4 cup Pernod Classic
5 large eggs, separated
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoon Pernod Classic
- Heat the oven to 350°F and put a rack in the center.
- Prepare a 9″ spring form pan. Spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter over the bottom and sides the pan and sprinkle with enough cocoa to lightly coat it. Shake the pan around in a circle to make sure the cocoa powder is evenly coating the entirety of the pan, tossing out any excess.
- Place the remaining butter and the chocolate in a large heat proof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, whisking constantly until shiny, melted, and smooth. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes until the chocolate is warm, but not hot.
- Whisk the egg yolks into the cooled chocolate mixture. Sift in the remaining cocoa powder (I just pass it through a sieve) and salt. Add the vanilla extract and Pernod Classic and whisk until completely combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at low to medium speed for about 15 to 20 seconds until foamy.
- Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium speed, for about 1 minute, until the whites form soft peaks.
- With the mixer still at medium speed, gradually add the sugar and beat until you’ve created glossy, stiff peaks that stand by themselves when you lift the beaters slightly, 1 to 2 more minutes.
- Stir about a quarter of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then, with a baking spatula, gently scoop the remaining egg whites into the batter. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture by pulling the spatula toward you from the center of the bowl and then turning the batter over on itself and rotating the bowl as you do so. Continue to do this to incorporate the egg whites without losing volume.
Bake the cake:
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake has risen ever-so-slightly in the center and is set enough in the center that it will not jiggle when the pan moves. If it pulls away from the sides of the pan, it’s overcooked, though it should pull away as it cools. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the side of the pan and serve with the Pernod Classic whipped cream.
- While the cake bakes, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the Pernod Classic, heavy cream, and sugar until just thickened. Be very careful to not over beat! It should be soft and just barely set up.
Pernod Classic Roast Fennel & Cauliflower Cream Soup (serve 6 as a starter)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided in half
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 large fennel bulb, fronds removes & reserved, chopped into 1″ pieces
1 medium leek
1 small shallot
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground to a powder
1 teaspoon sugar
6 cups of vegetable stock
juice of a lemon
1/3 cup Pernod Classic
1/3 cup heavy cream
- Heat oven to 450. Toss cauliflower and fennel with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast for 30 minutes until starting to blacken and brown.
- In a heavy soup pot, heat the other tablespoon olive oil until shimmering.
- Add the leeks and shallot and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to brown.
- Add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and coriander and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the roasted cauliflower & fennel, stock, lemon, sugar, and Pernod Classic.
- Simmer for 15 minutes to meld the flavors. Transfer to a vitamix or blender, blend until completely smooth, and return to the pot through a sieve for an extra refined texture or don’t sieve for a more rustic texture. If the soup is too thick, thin with additional stock.
- Stir in the cream until combined.
- Season to taste with salt, sugar, and lemon juice.
- Serve hot with fennel fronds and a drizzle of cream.