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Ecrin de vigneron

Ecrin de vigneron
★★★   63 votes

Vigneron refers to a person that cultivates a vineyard for winemaking, or in simpler terms, a winegrower, while the word écrin can mean a jewelry case or a casket. In this dessert recipe for Ecrin de vigneron, Pastry Chef Patrick Castel for Peaks Restaurant creates a dessert in honor of winegrowers. Roughly translating to “winegrower’s casket,” this somber-sounding dessert is sculpted in the form of a casket which can seem dire for a dessert, but it can also resemble a jewelry case for storing precious grapes. This unusual dish is appropriate for solemn or serious occasions but it can also be ironically entertaining for the amusement of sophisticated party guests.

For a dessert dedicated to wine, grapes, and winegrowers, it is only right to serve this elegant dish with a bottle of exquisite white wine. For something more daring, serve it with Marc de Burgogne, a French spirit or pomace brandy made from pressed skins, pulp, and seeds from the leftovers of processing wine. This drink is quite strong and potent, and quite provocative, which goes well with the audacious grape dessert. Be aware that this drink has a fiery after-burn that puts off some drinkers, but that this very same bold and assertive quality is what endears it to others.

Chef Castel uses Marc de Burgogne for steeping some of the white grapes used in this recipe so drinking the spirit with the dessert is not so radical an idea. If you cannot get Marc de Burgogne, you can also use other brandies of good quality to stand up to this refined, thoughtful, and carefully constructed sweet dish.

25 min
25 min
Recommended Wine
Marc de Bourgogne
  • For the creme patissiere (custard filling for pastries or cakes):
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2.1 oz. (about 4 tablespoons) egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 3 gelatin leaves
  • For the biscuit:
  • 1.4 oz. (about 2 ½ tablespoons) egg yolk
  • 2.1 oz. (about 4 tablespoons) egg white
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • For the Marc de l'Hermitage punch:
  • 1 cup 30 degree syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/4 cup MARC DU PERIGORD
  • For the chocolate mousse:
  • 5.28 oz. (about 2/3 cup) pâté à bombe (combine about 1 ½ cups sugar and 1/3 cup water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to 248 degrees F. Whip eggs with electric mixer until light and frothy. Pour a little of the sugar syrup into the egg yolks. Beat for about 10 seconds on high. Continue adding syrup and beating until completely combined. Whip on medium until the pâté à bombe has just about doubled in volume)
  • 6.56 oz. half-bitter chocolate icing
  • 12 oz. whipped cream
  • For the light cream with marc de l’Hermitage:
  • 15.84 ounces (about 2 cups) creme patissiere
  • 0.78 oz. MARC
  • 8 oz. whipped cream
  • 8 oz. Italian meringue
  • For the Sabayon:
  • 1.4 oz. (about 3 tablespoons) egg yolk
  • 5 ½ tablespoons 30 degree syrup
  • 1 ¾ tablespoons heavy cream
  • 0.18 oz. de Marc white table grapes (previously seeded and soaked in the MARC)


To make the casket, you need confectioner’s sugar (a hundred and fifty grams). Liquid cream, syrup, milk chocolate, plain chocolate, fresh white grapes, and white grapes macerated in brandy.


Coarsely chop the dark and milk chocolates and place them in separate bowls. Boil cream and whip it up until thick. Mix it in with the finely chopped milk chocolate. Blend together until you get a creamy and even consistency. Sculpt mixture in a small casket mold and place in the refrigerator.


Place fresh grapes in a bowl. Mix in with remaining thick cream. Whisk until the grapes are incorporated in the cream and you get an even consistency. Cut the brandy-soaked grapes into two. Remove the seeds. Place grapes on top of the cooled cream on the casket mold. Cover with the grape cream mixture. Place in the refrigerator for two to three hours.


To make grape coulis, blend fresh grapes and syrup together. Strain with a sieve to take out skins and seeds. Crush the pulp well to extract all the juice. Keep the fleshy mush for decoration. Melt the dark chocolate to make chocolate ganache.


Place the bottom of the cold mold in lukewarm water to loosen the mold. Pop the mold on the plate, placing it on the surface upside down. Decorate the plate with tiny balls of chocolate ganache, which represent the grapes, on the edge of the casket. Place some of the grape mush on the side. Pour some grape coulis, which represents the wine, on the plate. Decorate with scrolls of chocolates and tiny vine leaves.

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Reviews (3)
This is so good. This is probably the most difficult dessert I have made, but also one of the best. A masterpiece from Chef Alain Pic.
, March 20, 2012
I made this because my friend requested for it. The preparation is a little bit difficult but then I still tried to make one, and afterwards it tastes so perfect! It’s a highly recommended recipe!
This recipe is a little complicated, but once you completed it, you will be thankful you did. If you can do it right, this recipe is a well treat. The aroma and flavor will be something to crave for.
, March 4, 2012