What Are You Giving Up for Lent?

Sister Redempta, the Depression era nun from Moon Over Manifest might suggest sugar or even flour (not a stretch for you gluten avoiders).  From painful memories of the good sisters in my childhood, I recall getting into major trouble when Sister Mary Kathleen caught me smirking over her suggestions for Lent – giving up chocolate.

The movie Chocolat famously spurred a following for hot chocolate with a zing – cinnamon and chili powder.  My mother had an old Italian recipe called Nun’s Revenge; I once saw a version of it in Bon Appetit.  Here’s my mother’s sweet revenge – suck it up, Sister.

Nun’s Revenge Hot Chocolate

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (not whipping)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ounces shaved chocolate (best you can find – with high cacao count)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Make a paste of cornstarch with a little cream.  Warm rest of cream over low to medium heat to almost boiling; add paste and sugar to slightly thicken.  Remove from heat, stir in chocolate until smooth.  Pour into small espresso cups and sprinkle with cardamom.

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