SANTA HAT MINI-MOUSSE CAKES

In case you’ve missed my big announcement:
7 days to showtime!

I believe that once Thanksgiving is over, we are allowed to go deep into all sorts of end of the year festivities. Christmas included. Having said that, I am ready to share little mousse cakes I’ve been flirting with for a couple of years. As I stumbled on cute examples on Pinterest, Instagram, and food blogs, I kept telling myself I had to give them a go. My version pairs white chocolate mousse (plus a touch of yogurt) with raspberries. I had a lot of fun making them, and even more fun sharing with our colleagues from the department.

SANTA HAT MINI-MOUSSE CAKES
(adapted from several sources, main inspiration from Lilicakes)

For the sable base:
100g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste
150g unsalted butter
50g egg yolks
50g almond meal
250g all-purpose flour

Place the icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until there are no lumps of butter left. Add in the egg yolks and combine before adding the almond meal and plain flour. Continue beating until it just comes together. Remove the dough from the stand mixer and place on top of a silicone mat, press it gently in a rectangle shape.

Add a very small amount of flour on top of the dough, add a piece of parchment paper on top and roll it to 3mm thickness. Cut circles slightly bigger than the size of your dome cakes.  Freeze for 10 min. Bake in a 350F oven for around 8 minutes, until you get a slight golden color on the edges. Let it cool completely on a rack.  Can be prepared a couple of days in advance.

for the raspberry insert (make the day before assembling):
175g raspberry puree (I used frozen, processed and sieved)
15g maple syrup
3 sheets gelatin (Platinum grade)

Soak gelatin leaves in cold water for 10 min. Bring the raspberry puree and maple syrup to a gentle boil, remove from heat, let it stand for 5 min to cool down slightly. Add the drained gelatin and mix well. Place the mixture in semi-sphere molds appropriate to place in the center of your dome cakes. Freeze overnight or for at least 4 hours.

for the white chocolate mousse:
110 grams of cream cheese at room temperature
200 grams of Greek yogurt at room temperature
225 grams of white chocolate
6 grams of gelatin leaves
50 grams of milk
180 grams of whipping cream
1 T sugar

Hydrate the gelatin leaves in very cold water for 10 mon. Mix the cream cheese and yogurt with in a KitchenAid type mixer with a paddle attachment until homogeneous. Reserve. In a saucepan boil the milk and add the previously hydrated jelly leaves, mix and add to the yogurt-cream cheese mixture. Mix for a minute or so to disperse the gelatin through.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave and add to the yogurt mixture. Reserve. Whip the cream until it gets the consistency of melted ice cream. Fold gently into the yogurt mixture.

Assemble the mini-cakes:
Place mousse in six semi-sphere molds, filling a little more than half its volume. Place the frozen raspberry jelly in the center, fill with mousse and level the top with an off-set spatula. Freeze overnight.

for the marshmallow decorations.
9g powdered gelatin (I used fish gelatin, 250 bloom)
50g very cold water
60g egg whites at room temperature
17g  + 165g superfine sugar (divided)
50g water
35g glucose syrup or light corn syrup (light)
1 tsp Chambord (optional)

Bloom the gelatin in cold water for 10 min. It will form a thick paste.

Whisk the egg whites with 17 g of sugar until it foamy. Add the gelatin, whisk for another minute and turn the mixer off.

In a heavy saucepan, bring 50g of water, 165g sugar and glucose to a boil, making sure the sugar dissolves fully. Heat the mixture to 250F, when it gets to that point, turn the mixer on full speed and drizzle the hot syrup on it while whisking. Whisk at full speed for 3 minutes, add Chambord, continue whisking for 2 more minutes.

Add the marshmallow to a piping bag with an 8mm round tip. Pipe lines long enough to circle the diameter of your mold. Pipe little molds for the hats. Sprinkle dessicated coconut all over. Reserve at room temperature for about 3 hours.

For the mirror glaze:
3 sheets Platinum grade sheet gelatine
120ml water
150 g liquid glucose
150 g granulated or caster sugar
1 tsp agar-agar
100 g condensed milk
150 g white chocolate, chopped fairly small
red gel food coloring

Put the water, sugar, liquid glucose and agar-agar in a small pan and bring to simmering point, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let it stand for about 5 minutes. This is the base syrup for the glaze.  Meanwhile, soak the gelatin in some cold water for about 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and stir into the hot water, sugar and liquid glucose mixture to dissolve. Stir in the condensed milk.

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour this hot mixture slowly over the chocolate, stirring gently to melt it, avoid making bubbles. A stick immersion blender works great, but you must keep the blades fully submerged at all times. If bubbles are present, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

Leave the glaze uncovered for an hour at room temperature for the glaze to cooled and be slightly thickened: if it is too runny you will get too thin a layer on top, colors will not blend well and less glaze will cling to the sides of the cake. The ideal temperature to pour the glaze is 92 to 94 F.

Remove the cake from the freezer, place on a rack over a baking sheet. If you like to make it easier to save leftover glaze, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap, so that you can lift it and pour easily into a container.

Glaze the cakes, place them over the reserve sable cookies and decorate with the marshmallow.

Defrost in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I know, I know, the recipe is a mile long. Let me focus on a couple of points about it. First, I am kicking rules to the side and confessing to you that I will never chill my sable dough before rolling it out. It is a bit on the soft side once it comes out of the mixer, but trust me, it will be fine. Place it gently over Silpat. Roll it under parchment paper to the thickness you need, in this case 3mm. If you have those plastic pastry rolling guides, now is the perfect time to use them.  The more uniform the thickness, the better they will bake. Roll, cut and freeze. I actually made two batches of bases, one of them pistachio-based, but used the almond, lighter ones for this dessert.

One of the benefits of being in “that show”, is that I had to learn to work very fast and save time at every opportunity. I realized that as long as you protect the pastry dough either with plastic wrap or parchment paper (it truly depends on our goal, for pie crusts plastic wrap is the best way), it rolls pretty nicely as soon as mixed. Much better than cold dough does.  Ten minutes in the freezer is all you need before baking. There, I saved you at least one hour of work!

Second point I want to make: I adore mirror glazes but don’t care for their texture. Colette Christian has a beautiful macaron cookbook in which she advises using a bit of agar together with gelatin for macaron fillings, particularly if they will sit at room temperature for a while. I immediately thought about incorporating that trick into mirror glazes. And I am thrilled to tell you that the texture got a lot better. I will play with it in the near future to optimize it, but if you also like the look of mirror glazes but would prefer a more sturdy texture, think of adding a bit of agar. The only thing is that it needs to be boiled, so add it together with the sugar/glucose mixture.

These cakes turned out exactly the way I wanted them to, the only tricky part was placing the decorations, as marshmallow is super sticky. Just work slowly and keep in mind that wherever it sticks first, that’s where it will be… Be careful with the positioning of the string in the beginning, so that the angle is right to wrap it around keeping it nicely on the same level all the way.

I cannot resist posting one more photo of the little Santa Hats, as the light bulb of my light stand made a cool effect on the mirror glaze…

The inclusion of agar-agar in the mirror glaze did a nice job improving the texture. Since my mousse cakes always sit in the fridge overnight before they are shared with our colleagues, the gelatin-based glaze suffers a bit. Whenever I  slice them, there is some bleeding and sliding of the glaze. This time it behaved a lot better, so thank you Chef Colette!

I hope you consider making some Santa Hats for your holiday get-together. As usual, this type of dessert can be prepared over several days, with very little hands-on work each day. As for the molds I used, the large ones are here, the small ones here. I had a little leftover mousse, which I froze into a pretty cute Silikomart mold, and served over a sable base, with a little spray of white chocolate velvet.

ONE YEAR AGO: Fun with Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: Pasteis de Nata

THREE YEARS AGO: New Mexico Pork Chile, Crockpot Version

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chocolate on Chocolate

FIVE YEARS AGO: Double Chocolate and Mint Cookies

SIX YEARS AGO: The Story of my first Creme Brulle’

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sourdough Mini-rolls

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

NINE YEARS AGO: Mediterranean Skewers

TEN YEARS AGO Fettuccine with Shrimp, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

HALLOWEEN ENTREMET CAKE

Today I share with you a mousse cake that celebrates the season with the flavors of pumpkin and warm spices, plus the colors of Halloween. The spider effect on the mirror glaze is optional, but in my opinion, oh so very cool…  What do you think?

HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN ENTREMET CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by Kirsten Tibbals)

for the almond sponge:
65g powdered sugar
75g almond flour
65g whole eggs
40g egg yolks
140g egg whites
40g caster sugar
25g brown sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
60g all purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the icing sugar, almond flour, whole eggs and the egg yolks until thick and forming a nice ribbon as you allow the batter to fall from the paddle. This will take around 8 minutes.

In another bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the whites with the cream of tartar to medium peak. Gradually add in the caster sugar. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue with the almond base, add the brown sugar and flour then gently fold in the remaining meringue. Spread the sponge evenly into a half sheet pan covered with parchment paper, or use a Flexipat.

Bake for around 10 minutes at 350F.  Remove from the oven and place into the freezer for approximately 30 minutes. Once cool, remove from the Flexipat and use a cutter to cut a disc for the base of the entremet. You will have a little leftover cake that you can freeze for future adventures.

for the pumpkin chocolate insert:
75g canned pumpkin
40g whipping cream
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
65g milk chocolate, cut in small pieces
1.5g gold gelatin sheets
40g whipping cream, whipped to melted ice cream consistency

Pre-soak the gelatin in a bowl ofcold water. Heat the first amount of cream (40g) to simmering, almost boiling. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk.  Add in the pre-soaked gelatine and combine. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate cut in small pieces in a bowl. If necessary, use an immersion blender to make it smooth.  Place into a bowl and once it cools to 98F or below, fold through the whipped cream using a spatula.

Pour the  mixture inside a suitable ring (or silicone mold) smaller than the ring used for the entremet. If using a ring, cover the bottom with plastic film bringing it up to the sides. Freeze overnight.

for the caramel mousse:
7 g gelatine
37 ml water
150 g sugar
52 g glucose or corn syrup
67 ml water
¼ tsp salt
190 g  + 375 g heavy cream
2 egg yolks

In a small bowl, mix gelatin and water (37ml) together and leave for 5 to 10 minutes until set. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, mix together sugar, glucose (or corn syrup), water (67ml) and salt. Cook on medium high heat until you achieve a caramel syrup with deep amber color. Do not allow it to smoke or burn. Meanwhile, in another sauce pan, slightly the heat the 190 grams heavy cream, so when the caramel is done you can pour the cream right away. Carefully pour it in and mix well until fully combined.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Then add a third of the caramel to the beaten yolks and beat quickly together to temper the yolks. Pour the mixture back into the caramel and stir well to combine. Continue stirring until it reaches 180-182 °F. Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 20 seconds until melted (do not boil it, if needed reduce the power of your microwave to 70% or so) and mix into the caramel cream. Pass the cream through a fine mesh strainer, and set it aside to cool to 113 F.  When cooled, whisk the remaining heavy cream (375 g) into a melted ice cream consistency. Then fold it in two additions into the caramel cream, until well combined.

Prepare a 20cm ring (7+3/4 to 8 inch) by covering the bottom with plastic film and lining the inside with acetate film. Pour 1/2 of the mousse inside, carefully drop the frozen pumpkin-chocolate insert and cover with mousse. Smooth the surface with an off-set spatula then cover with the reserved almond sponge.  Smooth the surface again and freeze overnight.

for the mirror glaze:
3 sheets of Platinum grade sheet gelatin
120ml water
150 g liquid glucose
150 g granulated or caster sugar
100 g condensed milk
150 g white chocolate, chopped fairly small
gel food coloring (orange and brown 4:1)

Put the water, sugar and liquid glucose in a small pan and bring to simmering point, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let it stand for about 5 minutes. This is the base syrup for the glaze.  Meanwhile, soak the gelatin in some cold water for about 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and stir into the hot water, sugar and liquid glucose mixture to dissolve. Stir in the condensed milk and the gel colors (orange and brown 4:1)

Put the white chocolate in a medium bowl and pour this hot mixture slowly over the chocolate, stirring gently to melt it, avoid making bubbles. A stick immersion blender works great, but you must keep the blades fully submerged at all times. If bubbles are present, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

Leave the glaze uncovered for an hour at room temperature for the glaze to cooled and be slightly thickened: if it is too runny you will get too thin a layer on top, colours will not blend well and less glaze will cling to the sides of the cake. The ideal temperature to pour the glaze is 92 to 94 F. Once it is slightly above that (around 97 F), remove a small portion and add dark brown gel color to it, mixing well. Pour the un-dyed portion in a large measuring glass with a spout, add the dark brown mixture to it, mix with a chopstick just barely.  Make sure it is at the correct pouring temperature. Remove the cake from the freezer, place on a rack over a baking sheet. If you like to make it easier to save leftover glaze, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap, so that you can lift it and pour easily into a container.

Pour the glaze in a circular motion, starting at the center, making sure it flows homogeneously on all sides. Tap the rack gently to settle the glaze, and very gently and quickly run an off-set spatula on top of the cake to force excess glaze to run down the sides. Do that just once, or you will ruin the marble effect.

for the spider web effect:
2 tablespoons neutral glaze
black food dye

Heat the neutral glaze to 150 F.  The easiest way to quickly reach 150F is to add 2 Tbs neutral glaze to a small bowl and microwave to boiling. Quickly add a small amount (2 tsp or so) of room temperature neutral glaze and the black dye. Mix well. Keep hot until needed, with a hot spatula ready to go. As soon as the mirror glaze is poured, add a small amount of black glaze at 150 F to the spatula and run over the surface. The contrast of temperature and composition (fat versus water based suspensions) will create a natural web effect. The less you mess with it, the better!

Place cake in fridge to defrost for 2 hours before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The idea for this cake started from a class online offered by the one and only Kirsten Tibbals. She made the most amazing Pumpkin Petit Gateau that included green stems shaped with chocolate. Way beyond my skill level, so from that idea I just borrowed the pumpkin-chocolate insert. Then I coupled it with one of my favorite mousses for entremet cakes, quite simple to prepare and with delicate flavor. The base of the cake was an almond sponge, and I used the traditional mirror glaze in the mandatory orange color to lock the spirit of the season. It had been a while since I last attempted a spider web effect, and Halloween quickly approaching seemed appropriate for another stroll in that territory.

My only issue with the cake was the size of the pumpkin-chocolate insert. I am giving you a slightly reduced amount than I used, because my insert was too heavy and it sunk to the bottom of the mousse. It still tasted very good and had the desired texture, but I was hoping for a centered insert surrounded by the caramel mousse. Instead, it turned out as a two layer cake. No major harm done, but not quite the way I planned.

I loved the texture of the almond sponge, and the way the mousse allowed the more assertive taste of the pumpkin-chocolate to shine. As to the spider effect, I am getting more confident about it, I remember my first attempt was quite nerve-wracking, but now I got a good system to get the temperature correctly.

Allow me to share one more picture of my Halloween cake, because I thought the effect of the light bulb shining on the glaze turned out pretty interesting…

Liked the post? Grab a pin and make Sally happy…

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

TWO YEARS AGO: Kansas Corn Chowder

THREE YEARS AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

SIX YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

SEVEN YEARS AGO: On my desk

EIGHT YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

NINE YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

TEN YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo

GIANT COOKIE MEETS MOUSSE

…and the Entremet Cookie is born! I cannot take credit for it, so before I even start talking about this delicious dessert, let me thank Maxime, from Empreintesucree.fr.  She is a professional pâtissière who shares very detailed recipes of her beautiful productions. If you are a bit intimidated by entremet type cakes, this one is an excellent starting point, especially if you simplify the decoration steps (see comments). I guarantee it will still impress your guests.

ENTREMET COOKIE
(slightly modified from Empreintesucree.fr)

for the cookie base:
80 g butter (at room temperature)
65 g muscovado sugar
a pinch of salt
1 egg (55 g)
120 g all purpose flour
2 g baking powder
90 g dark chocolate mini chips

for the chocolate cream:
1 egg yolk
10 g of sugar
100 g heavy whipping cream
38 g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)

for the dark chocolate buttercream:
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
290 g confectioners’ sugar
90 g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

for the chocolate mousse:
180 g Caramelia chocolate (or milk chocolate of  your choice) of milk chocolate
250 g heavy whipping cream

for the chocolate velvet spray (optional)
120 g milk chocolate (I used Caramelia)
80 g of cocoa butter

for decoration:
golden stars
chocolate Crispearls

Suggested timeframe: make cookie two days before serving time and freeze it. The day before serving make the mousse, and the chocolate cream. Assemble the cake and save the cream in fridge until cake is un-molded.  On serving day make the chocolate buttercream, and the chocolate spray suspension (if using).

Make the cookie base. Heat the oven to 350 F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper  and place over it a 20 cm ring. Reserve.

In the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar and salt. Add the egg and mix again, then sift the flour with the baking powder and mix gently.  Add the mini chocolate chips, and spoon the batter inside the ring. (It is easier to just pour the batter over the parchment paper eye-balling the dimension, then sit the ring on top and use an off-set spatula to carefully spread it uniformly inside the ring).

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges start to get some color. Remove from the oven, and – using oven mitts – immediately make circles with the ring, which will make the cookie base shrink a little bit, as it is still hot. You just want to have the cookie a tiny bit smaller than the ring, so that the mousse will cover the edges fully.  Allow the cookie to cool completely before placing it in the freezer.

Make the chocolate cream.  Whisk the sugar and the egg yolk in a small bowl. In parallel, heat the cream in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the sugar/yolk mixture to temper it, then transfer everything back to the saucepan. Cook the custard over low heat until 180 F.  Pour the cream over the chocolate until it is slightly melted and mix with a spatula.  Place a plastic film in contact with the cream and reserve it in the refrigerator. When ready to assemble, place in piping bag with a plastic adaptor and have two round piping tips ready, of different sizes.

Make the chocolate mousse. Melt the Caramelia chocolate gently in a double boiler.  Bring one third of the cream, about 80 g to a simmer in a saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the melted chocolate and mix with a spatula until fully smooth. Whip the remaining whipping cream until it gets the consistency of melted ice cream.  Pour half of the cream on your milk chocolate mixture and mix gently with a spatula. Add the remaining cream and mix again until you get a perfectly smooth chocolate whipped cream.

Assemble the dessert. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap on the 20cm circle ring, pulling it well to stretch it nicely.  Flip your circle over a baking dish that fits in your freezer and place a strip of acetate film on the inside to facilitate un-molding later. Pour all the mousse into the circle, then smooth roughly. Take the cookie out of the freezer and push it upside down into the foam (the smooth side of the cookie up). The mousse should be flush with the cookie, smooth over what is needed. Reserve the dessert in the freezer overnight.

Make the dark chocolate buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it is smooth. Turn the speed to slow, add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Pour the milk and vanilla extract then add the salt and continue beating until well combined. Increase the speed to high and beat the frosting for a couple of minutes. Place in a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip or another star-shaped tip of your choice.

Make the chocolate suspension for velvet effect.  Melt milk chocolate and cocoa butter in a double-boiler. Filter and place the mixture into the tank of your sprayer. Temperature should be 98 F. Un-mold your dessert and immediately spray the chocolate on it. Ideally, do this inside a dishwasher with racks removed. Decorate the cake with the cream and buttercream, add sprinkles of your choice. Leave in the fridge to thaw for at least one hour before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Well, I do realize that it seems a bit of a stretch to post this recipe as simple and then come up with quite a few components to make it. As I mentioned, you can simplify it quite a bit. For instance, you can skip the two different types of piped decoration and do a drizzle of melted dark chocolate all over it. That would work well. A shower of golden sprinkles for fun and a bit of a dressed up look. The velvet spray is also optional. I find it fun to do, though, and it helps me deal with guilty feelings of having a sprayer sitting in the basement just for my patisserie adventures. It’s nice to put it to use.

On that note, three things are worth mentioning. First, you must strain the melted chocolate + cocoa butter before pouring it in the sprayer. If you look at my photo above, you’ll notice how much stuff gets retained in the sieve. That could conceivably clog the sprayer and you don’t want that at all. Second, if you are using a regular paint sprayer for chocolate work, the container is large, so what works very well is to place a much smaller plastic cup inside, so that you don’t need to make a huge amount of chocolate suspension. I used an empty Benecol container. And third, do the spraying inside an empty dishwasher, because it is a messy process and all you need to do after is turn the dishwasher on.

We took this cake to a dinner party at a friend’s home, so I snapped the pictures with my cell phone very quickly. I admit they are not prize-winning shots. At any rate, everybody raved about the dessert. The cookie component goes very well with the creamy mousse, and it had just the right thickness, don’t try to make it thinner because it won’t work the same way. I loved the contrast of the sharp cocoa buttercream with the milk chocolate cream and mousse, but the cake can shine with only one of the piped toppings.

Maxime, thanks for a lovely recipe, I am thinking of many variations in the future.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Brazilian Battenberg

TWO YEARS AGO: Salzburg Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: If I had One Hour

FOUR YEARS AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

SIX YEARS AGO: Apricot-Raspberry Sorbet: A farewell to Summer

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Marcela’s Salpicon

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pork Kebabs

NINE YEARS AGO: Fondant au Chocolat

TEN YEARS AGOGot Spinach? Have a salad!

 

MANGO HAZELNUT ENTREMET CAKE

It’s been a while since I made what is probably my favorite type of dessert. As far as entremet goes, this is a reasonably simple example, with a single insert in the center (mango gelée) and only two components in the base, a hazelnut dacquoise and a crunchy chocolate layer. I used the Silikomart Vague mold, I love its design and how easy it is to remove the frozen cake for final decoration, which involved chocolate spray and a few caramel-coated hazelnuts.

MANGO HAZELNUT ENTREMET CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the hazelnut dacquoise:
75 g egg whites, at room temperature
50 g sugar
70 g hazelnut flour (I processed toasted hazelnuts)
50 g sugar
20 g all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350F.

Beat the egg whites (with whisk attachment) until you can see a trail forming as the beater moves through them. Add the sugar slowly and beat until firm peaks form, but do not overbeat or it will get grainy (and ruined).  Add the hazelnut flour mixed with remaining 50 g of sugar and the flour, folding delicately. Pour or pipe the mixture in a circle about 8-in diameter over parchment paper. Cook for about 10 minutes, let it cool on a rack, while still a bit warm cut a circle of the exact dimension of the mold you’ll use to make the dessert (if using Vague mold, that will be 20 cm or 7 and 3/4 in).

For the mango insert:
150 g mango puree (I used frozen mango chunks)
25 g sugar
5 g gelatin in sheets (230 Bloom)

Soak the gelatine cut into pieces in cold water for 10 minutes.

Bring the puree together with the sugar to 120F, add the drained gelatin, mix and pour in a 6-inch ring, covered on the bottom with film and placed on a tray. Remove a small amount (about 2 tablespoons) for the decoration on top.

for the chocolate-crisp:
113 g Lindt milk chocolate with hazelnuts
10 g pistachio paste (or add 2 tsp coconut oil)
10 g puffed quinoa (or rice crisps cereal, or crumbled corn flakes)

Toast the puffed quinoa in a 350F oven for a few minutes, until fragrant. Melt the chocolate gently and mix it with the toasted quinoa and the pistachio paste. Spread as a thin circle on parchment paper, with dimensions a bit bigger than the bottom of the dessert mold.  Once it cools slightly,  cut it to fit exactly on top of the hazelnut dacquoise (20cm or 7 and 3/4 in).

For the white chocolate mousse:
175 g whole milk
35 g sugar
70 g egg yolks
7 g gelatin in sheets
175 g white chocolate
1/4 tsp vanilla paste
350 g cream

Soak the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes. Break up the chocolate and place it in a bowl with the vanilla paste.

Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar by hand in a bowl, pour over a bit of the simmering milk to temper it, then transfer the whole mixture to the pan and bring the temperature to 180F. Remove from heat, add the squeezed gelatin, pour into the bowl with the chocolate and emulsify using an immersion blender or a whisk. Make sure it is all very well combined and smooth. Allow it to cool.

Meanwhile whip the heavy cream to a consistency of melted ice cream. When the custard is around body temperature or just a bit warmer, fold the cream into it. Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the Vague mold , place the frozen mango insert, pour chocolate mousse almost to the top, allowing just enough room for the crunchy chocolate layer and the dacquoise.  Add them, and fill any gaps on the sides with mousse. Wrap with plastic and freeze overnight.

for the chocolate spray:
300 g white chocolate
200 g cocoa butter

Melt together and place in sprayer at 90 F (I use a normal paint sprayer dedicated to chocolate only).

Turn out the frozen cake and spray immediately with a light coating of white chocolate suspension.  Melt the reserved mango gelatin very gently, and spoon some in the center of the mold. Keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Decorate with caramel-coated hazelnuts.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am very happy with the flavors and textures of this baby. The tricky part of this type of dessert is assembling it, because it’s a process that is a bit “in the dark”, so to speak. With a regular layered cake, you can visualize the layers well, because you either bake them individually or cut slices from a bigger cake. As the cake is assembled, it is also easier to judge how much filling to add so that the layers end up as uniform as you want them to be. In mousse cakes like this one, it becomes a bit of a guessing game. For instance, how much to allow the insert to sink in, how to make sure it is properly leveled,  how to prevent large air bubbles to form, or to make sure the sides are smooth.  Small details can go wrong, but you may not realize until unmolding the frozen cake next day. Talk about cake-anxiety…  😉

You can see that part of the mango insert got a little wavy. That happened because when I first made the insert and set it in the fridge overnight, the pan got a bit tilted and I had to melt the layer again and re-freeze it, not an ideal situation. Lesson learned.  It is crucial to have space in your freezer that allows all components to lay flat and absolutely leveled.

The most fun part? Making the hazelnut with the pointy caramel bits. I followed the method described in Martha Stewart’s site, and it worked like a charm. My only advice is that you make more hazelnuts than you need. Some end up cracking as you stick the skewer, so it’s better to start with more. Also, some might roll a bit as the caramel drips compromising the shape of the drip. It is very important to let the caramel rest before coating the hazelnuts, but once it reaches the right viscosity, you must work fast. It is possible to re-warm the caramel briefly to continue using it, but it’s a bit of a hassle. I prefer to hit that magical point and work with it right away.

Finally, don’t let the lack of a Silikomart mold stop you from making this dessert. A simple ring or springform pan will work, as long as you have a second ring with smaller diameter to form the insert. And the velvet coating is also optional (although you can also buy a spray can with the suspension ready to use; be ready for sticker shock!). The surface is very smooth to start with (see the large photo in the composite picture), so you could leave it as it is, or melt some white chocolate and drizzle it all over the top, in a Pollock-manner.  You could dye the chocolate orange and then add the hazelnuts here and there.

ONE YEAR AGO: Lebanese Lentil Salad and a Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Cottage Loaf

THREE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Loaf with Cranberries and Walnuts

FOUR YEAR AGO: Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry in Garlic Sauce

FIVE YEARS AGO: Our Green Trip to Colorado

SIX YEARS AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

NINE YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

TEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

 

SAKURA BUCHE DU PRINTEMPS

This past winter was so hard that I intend to keep celebrating the arrival of spring for as long as I can get away with it. Clearly, nothing says spring better than cherry blossoms. In this cake, my goal was to have a creamy sakura-flavored mousse involving a fruity center, as a red fruit compote. For the base of the dessert, I made a crusty layer with puffed quinoa, the new (to me) ingredient I mentioned in my last post. To finalize, a pastel-colored mirror glaze action, in pink, purple and green.  Why the French name?  Because it is irresistibly poetic, that’s why.

SAKURA BUCHE DU PRINTEMPS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)

for the biscuit layer:
125 g eggs
90 g powdered sugar (I used Bakewell cherry flavored)
90 g almond flour
30 g flour
20 g melted butter
180 g egg whites
40 g sugar (superfine if available)

for the berry compote:
300 g pure of cherries and red berries
2 whole eggs
140 g honey
140 g whipping cream
6 g gelatin in sheets
60 g butter, at room temperature

for the quinoa-crisp:
113 g white chocolate
20 g pistachio paste
20 g puffed quinoa

for the Sakura mousse:
210 g milk
1/8 tsp sakura leaf powder (optional)
1/8 tsp cherry blossom essence
100 g egg yolks
110 g sugar
8 g gelatin sheets
210 g whipping cream

for the mirror glaze:
150 g glucose
150 g granulated sugar
150 g white chocolate, cut in small pieces
75 g water
100 g condensed, sweetened milk
9 g gelatin in sheets
1/2 tsp titanium oxide (optional, but worth it)
pink, purple, and bright green gel food dye

Two days before serving, make the biscuit and the cherry compote.

For the biscuit: In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with the leaf blade, beat the eggs, sugar an almond flour together for 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and after thoroughly cleaning the bowl of the Kitchen Aid, whisk the egg whites until you can see if forming a trail as the whisk goes through them. At this point, slowly rain the fine sugar to form a soft-peak meringue.  Add the meringue to the egg-sugar-almond mixture previously made. Mix gently with a spatula. Add the flour gently, sifting it over the mixture. Finally, add a bit of the mixture to the melted butter, make a smooth emulsion with it, and pour it into the batter. Mix as gently as possible.

Spread the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper as a layer a little over 1/2 inch thick, and bake for 12 minutes at 380 F.  Once the biscuit is cool, cut the rectangle needed to fit the smaller buche. While the biscuit cools, make the compote.

For the compote: Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes. Place the eggs, honey, fruit puree and heavy cream in a bowl and whisk with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender if you prefer). Pour the mixture in a saucepan and bring the temperature to 180 F, stirring constantly and never using too high heat. Remove the pan from the stove, add the drained gelatin, and mix. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and add the softened butter, mixing again until well incorporated. Pour into the mold, then gently add the biscuit on top, pressing gently. You don’t want it to submerge, just float on the surface. Wrap the top of the mold with plastic and freeze overnight.

Make the quinoa-crisp. Bake the puffed quinoa in a 325 F oven for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a microwave very gently. Mix the melted chocolate with the pistachio paste.  Add the quinoa and spread  in a 4 mm (1/8 inch) thickness in between two sheets of parchment paper. It will be a little sticky, try to level it as best as you can. When it is cooled down a bit, cut the exact dimension of the bigger mold you will use for the dessert. Reserve.

Make the Sakura mousse. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Bring the milk to almost boiling and add the sakura leaf powder, mixing well to dissolve. Let it sit covered for 10 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Slowly add the hot milk infused with the sakura powder, whisking constantly. Transfer back to the pan and heat gently to 180 F. Do not let it go over or you will scramble the egg yolks. Transfer to a bowl, let it cool for a couple of minutes and add the drained gelatin and the Sakura extract. Reserve.

Whip the cold heavy cream to very soft peaks, do not over whip it. When the sakura custard is barely warm to the touch, add the whipped cream to form the final mousse, fold with a spatula until smooth. Pour the mousse into the large Buche mold up to 1/3 of its volume. Add the frozen insert made the day before, with the biscuit layer up. Complete the mold with mousse almost to the top, place the quinoa crisp on top, pressing gently. Wrap with plastic and freeze overnight.

Make the mirror glaze. Place the gelatin sheets inside a bowl with cold water for 10 minutes as you prepare the other ingredients. In a sauce pan, heat the glucose, sugar and water until boiling. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved. Let it cool slightly, and add to a bowl with the white chocolate in small pieces. After a few minutes, use a spatula to dissolve the chocolate. Add the gelatin and the condensed milk, and mix gently, try to avoid incorporating air bubbles. Add the titanium oxide and emulsify the mixture with an immersion blender to get rid of bubbles. Divide the mixture in three bowls. Eyeballing is fine. Add the color and mix very gently with a spatula, do not use a whisk to avoid incorporating bubbles. Cover with plastic touching the surface and place in the fridge overnight.

To glaze, warm up the mixtures in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds. Pass them each through a fine sieve to remove any residual bubbles. When the mixtures are at 98 F you can pour them in a tall pitcher, one color at a time, working fast so that the temperature does not drop too much. Glaze the frozen dessert allowing all colors to mix and mingle.  Thaw the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Decorate the sides if you like, with tempered white chocolate or candy melts.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The dessert was assembled in a set of Silikomart molds called “Buche.” They can be used either separately, or together in a way that the smaller mold makes a component that goes inserted in the bigger one.  When planning a dessert using two molds, the first thing to consider is the volume needed, keeping in mind that a great deal of space will be occupied in the larger mold by the insert previously made. The amounts I shared work well with the Buche set. The composite photo above shows the overall preparation of the insert (compote + biscuit), that I made on a Friday evening, and left to freeze until next day. You can use any type of freezer-safe container you want, as long as it allows for easy un-molding later. The biscuit recipe makes more than needed for the base, so I cut a few rounds to freeze for a future adventure.

Saturday morning I made the crusty layer using puffed quinoa. To do so, I drew a precise template of the bigger Silikomart mold, and used a sharp paring knife to cut it. It is easier to cut  while it’s still just a tad warm. While the layer cooled completely, I prepared the Sakura mousse.

The mousse is poured inside the larger buche mold, then the frozen insert carefully placed in the center, with the biscuit layer facing up. More mousse is used to fill the mold almost to the top, then the  crusty layer is gently pressed on top. It is important to wrap the mold in plastic wrap so that when the mousse freezes it gets nicely compacted around the insert and the quinoa top (which will become the bottom in the final presentation).

Mirror glazing is definitely the most exciting part, although still a bit nerve-wracking for me. Things can go wrong in this final step for two main reasons:  first, you can pour too fast and lose track of how much glaze is being used, how much is left to finish coating; second, the temperature might be slightly off, so either the glaze slides off the cake without sticking, or it might set too fast and compromise the beautiful, super smooth surface that is the goal. When using more than one color, it gets even trickier. All components have to be just right in consistency and temperature. The glazes are best made the day before, so I made them on Saturday, kept them all in the fridge.  A 30 to 40 seconds encounter with the microwave puts all glazes at around 110F. At that point they went inside my bread proofing box set at 98F, and the waiting game started. You must be patient, and remember that whisking a mirror glaze suspension is a capital sin in patisserie. Bubbles must be minimized at all cost. Allow the different colors to equilibrate to the same temperature, get your frozen dessert ready, and let your inner Monet fly.

So there you have it, the Sakura Buche du Printemps ready to be enjoyed!  The cherry blossom flavor is very unique, floral (obviously) but not overpowering, as long as you exercise caution when you add it. A little too much and the mousse will be ruined. I really liked the texture of the crunchy quinoa, an idea that I cannot take credit for. I found it in this blog post and simply “borrowed” it. I will be using it again and again. It is sturdy enough to support the mousse, but easy to cut without making a huge mess on the plate. The biscuit layer could conceivably be omitted to simplify preparation, but it does add a different texture in a sea of mousse and creamy fruit. I think it makes the dessert considerably more interesting.

Before you leave, grab a pin…

ONE YEAR AGO: Clay Pot Roast Chicken

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2017

THREE YEARS AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Chicken Korma and a Bonus Recipe

FOUR YEARS AGO: Josey Baker’s Olive Bread

FIVE YEARS AGO: Almonds, A Cookbook Review

SIX  YEARS AGO: Pomegranate-Molasses Glazed Carrots

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Codruta’s Rolled Oat Sourdough Bread

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Roasted Corn and Tomato Risotto

NINE YEARS AGO: Light Rye Bread

LEMON-BLUEBERRY ENTREMET CAKE: A SHOUT FOR SPRING

Don’t even get me started on my thoughts about this winter. It drags, it is unbearably cold, snowy, pathetic. You may be reluctant to take the word of a Brazilian about it, but I quote my beloved husband, the Michigander: this is the worst winter we’ve had in 10 years. So there. He said it. I had no choice but to make a cake that brings the colors and brightness of Spring to the table, hoping to coach the weather into following suit. A cookie base, a chocolate genoise layer, a blueberry compote, all surrounded by a smooth lemony mousse. Want to know what makes me very happy? It is my very own recipe. Take THAT, former cake-o-phobe self!

Since there are so many components, I am giving each recipe separately so that if you like to make a single component, it will be easier to follow. Little advice for you:
Make. The. Mousse.  

LEMON-BLUEBERRY ENTREMET CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

equipment needed:
Silikomart Universo mold (or a springform type pan with 8 inches in diameter)
round cake ring, around 7 inches (to cut cookie base and freeze the insert)

for the cookie base:
80 g of softened butter
65 g powdered sugar
5 g vanilla sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
90 g all purpose-flour
10 g almond flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

Heat the oven to 350 F.  In a bowl beat the butter, the powdered sugar and the vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one by one, constantly beating. In another bowl sift the flour and baking powder and add to the previous mixture. Finally, add the almond flour. Stir very well. The dough does not get too thick or too liquid, the texture must be creamy.

Spread the dough as a circle, about 1/8 inch thick, smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for about 15 minutes (depending on the oven) or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Then, cut a circle just slightly smaller than the diameter of your silicone mold. Make sure it fits snuggly into the opening of the mold.

for the chocolate genoise:
113 g unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
140 g cake flour
55 g Dutch process cocoa powder
8 large eggs
225 g granulated sugar

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of two 8″ cake pans with a parchment round.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, transfer to a bowl and reserve.

Sift together the flour and cocoa, set aside. Put the eggs and sugar in a mixer bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are lukewarm. Put the bowl onto the mixer and whisk until the eggs are tripled in volume.

Sift half the flour/cocoa over the egg mixture and use a balloon whisk to fold, repeat with the remaining flour/cocoa. Whisk a little bit of the batter into the melted butter, and add the vanilla extract. Fold the butter mixture into the rest of the batter. Fold gently to avoid deflating the mixture too much. Divide the batter evenly between the pans.

Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Slice the cake in half lengthwise to the thickness you want for your entremet. I cut it a little less than 1 inch thick. Leftover cake can be frozen for a few months, well-wrapped in plastic.

for the blueberry insert:
150 g blueberry puree (blueberries processed in food processor until reasonably smooth)
6 g gelatin (Gold, about 3 sheets)
16 g granulated sugar
2 drops bergamot essence oil (optional)

Add the gelatin sheets into a bowl with very cold water and let it sit for 10 minutes.  In a small sauce pan, cook the blueberry puree with the sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the bergamot essence, check that the temperature is below 175 F, then add the softened gelatin sheets, well-drained from the water.  Mix well.

Add the puree inside a 7 inch cake ring lined with plastic wrap and placed over a baking sheet and freeze it. You can also use any other type of mold you like, as long as it is smaller than the Silikomart mold used to assemble the entremet later. Also keep in mind that you’ll need to easily un-mold the blueberry compote after it’s frozen solid, so choose your gadget carefully. You can leave it in the freezer for 3 hours or several days.

When the compote is frozen, place a layer of genoise chocolate cake on top of it, press gently to form the final insert of the entremet.

for the lemon mousse:
2 eggs
juice of 2 lemons
100 g granulated sugar
30 g butter, cold
6 g gelatin (Gold, about 3 sheets)
280 g whipping cream

Place the gelatin sheets inside a bowl with cold water and leave it for 10 minutes.

In a sauce pan, preferably non-stick, add the eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Cook stirring often over gently heat, until it thickens slightly . Aim at a temperature of 170 F, do not let it go higher than that, or you will scramble the eggs and ruin it completely.

Remove from the heat, pass it through a sieve into a glass bowl. Once the temperature is below 175 F, add the gelatin and the pieces of cold butter. Mix gently.  Put a plastic over the surface and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Once it is almost cooled, beat the whipping cream to soft consistency. Add it to the lemon curd, folding it gently. Your mousse is ready to use.

for the yellow mirror glaze:
100 g glucose
100 g granulated sugar
100 g white chocolate, cut in small pieces
50 g water
65 g condensed, sweetened milk
6 g gelatin (about 3 sheets)
1/2 tsp titanium oxide (optional, but worth it)
yellow food dye 

Place the gelatin sheets inside a bowl with cold water for 10 minutes as you prepare the other ingredients.

In a sauce pan, heat the glucose, sugar and water until boiling. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved. Let it cool slightly, and add to a bowl with the white chocolate in small pieces. After a few minutes, use a spatula to dissolve the chocolate. Add the gelatin and the condensed milk, and mix gently, try to avoid incorporating air bubbles. Add the titanium oxide and the yellow food dye. Place the mixture in a tall, plastic container and use an immersion blender to fully emulsify the glaze. At this point, you can either wait for it to cool to the pouring temperature (about 96 F), or place it in the fridge overnight, with plastic film touching the surface.  In both cases, right before glazing the cake, pass the mixture through a fine sieve to burst any small bubbles that might interfere with the mirror effect.

for the spider web effect:
2 tablespoons neutral glaze (store-bought or prepared from scratch, recipe here, omit the cinnamon)
purple food dye

Heat the neutral glaze to 150 F.  Add the purple color. Mix well. Keep hot until needed, with a hot spatula ready to go.

FINAL ASSEMBLY: The dessert is assembled inverted, that is the top will be at the bottom of the Silikomart mold. Start by spreading about 1/3 of the lemon mousse inside the Universo mold. Make sure to use the back of a spoon to smooth the sides of the mousse all around, to avoid large bubbles to stay near the surface.

Remove the blueberry-genoise insert from the freezer and place it gently over the mousse, with the cake facing up. Add a little more mousse all around the sides, then finish with the cookie layer. Use any leftover mousse to fill all gaps, press the cookie gently to make it leveled with the opening of the mold. Wrap it all in plastic and freeze at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Have the yellow mirror glaze at 96 F, with bubbles removed by sieving. Have the purple neutral glaze ready at 150 F. Un-mold the frozen cake, place it elevated over a rack so that the glaze can freely drip from the sides. Smooth the surface with your hands, but work quickly to avoid condensation of water on the surface.  Pour the yellow glaze on a circular motion, making sure all cake is covered by glaze. Immediately grab some purple neutral glaze with the hot spatula and smear over the surface, preferably a little off-center.  The effect will depend on many factors, including how much pressure you apply to the spatula, and the temperature differential between the two color glazes.  Once the glaze stops dripping, you can use a knife to clean the bottom, and carefully move it to a serving platter.  Defrost it in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.  Use a hot knife to slice into pieces.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This dessert was planned in a very unusual way. Instead of choosing cake or mousse flavors, I started with the colors of the glaze. I know, crazy! I wanted bright, contrasting colors in a spider-web style. Yellow and purple popped in my mind. Only then I decided on the flavors of lemon and blueberry. Entremets join several components of contrasting textures, but to simplify it  I opted for a single element with a crunchy nature, the cookie base from this blog post by Miúda. To cut the sharpness of the lemon and add another type of texture, a chocolate genoise was included. Confession: I had it in the freezer from another baking project. With those components in mind, I went to work, using some bits and pieces found online, and some general instructions from “The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book “ which I highly recommend. It is a very extensive list of basic formulas and variations. If you want to come up with a mousse, a compote, a genoise, you can find all the do’s and don’ts in that book.

The spider-web effect: I’ve been flirting with the idea of trying it for a long time. In theory, it is quite simple. If you are comfortable mirror-glazing a frozen mousse cake, you are 80% of the way there.  The method was created by Gerald Sattler, and is based on the non-miscibility of water and oil.  Mirror glazes are oil-based (cocoa butter, sometimes condensed milk and other types of dairy) while neutral glaze is water-based. You use the neutral glaze at a higher temperature not only to spread it easily, but because it slows down the gelling of the mirror glaze and the setting of the cocoa butter present in it.  The combination of a water-based environment with the shock of temperatures generates the interesting effect, making each cake unique. The process is absolutely fascinating. Take a look at one of Sattler’s videos here, and be ready to be amazed. The effect can be achieved in ways other than the spatula. Yes, yours truly is already planning her next adventure…

The purple color became more “purple” once the glaze set. If you look at the composite picture, taken right after pouring, you’ll notice a more “brownish” color, which made me at first a bit hysterical worried. But it definitely changed as it cooled, and the real nature of the dye I used came through. Happy ending… always a nice thing.

Here you see the slice showing the layers. The cake changed a bit by sitting in the fridge overnight.  I added the glaze around 2pm, and cut a test-slice in the evening. At that point, the cookie base was very crunchy and the cake was more on the dry side. Genoises are usually moistened with some type of syrup, but since this was going to be surrounded by a mousse and a compote, I used it without any added moisture. Next morning I cut the cake to take to the department and it was considerably improved. The cookie base not as tough, very easy to cut through and with a more melt-in-your mouth characteristic. Similarly, the cake was more moist and tender.

All in all, I’m very happy with this dessert. The lemon mousse component was the real winner.  In fact, if you’d like to serve a mousse by itself, maybe with a small cookie as adornment, consider this exact lemon version. Very refreshing, bright in the palate, smooth and with the right amount of sweetness.

I hope you enjoyed my first adventure in Spider Glaze Territory. I wanted a more prominent spider effect, but I was going absolutely crazy and losing my composure it’s hard to figure out what to do on a first time. Details such as how much neutral glaze to add, how hard to press the spatula, the exact temperature of the glaze when spreading it, they all have a huge impact on the final look. It’s such a fun technique, though. I can hardly wait to try it again. Stay tuned…


Grab a pin before you leave….

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Walk Strong3: A review of Jessica Smith’s latest workout program

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Medallions with Black Berry Compote

THREE YEARS AGO: Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach

FOUR YEARS AGO: Curry Cardamon Cookies

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, March 2014

SIX YEARS AGOBoeuf Bourguignon for a Snowy Evening

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Chickpea Salad

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Soft Spot for Chevre

NINE YEARS AGO: Roasted Onion and Asiago Cheese Miche

 

PISTACHIO-CARAMEL AND APPLE MOUSSE CAKE

When writing a scientific article, every method used in the experiments needs a reference that gives credit to the scientist who came up with the technique. A little fun trivia for you: one of the most cited papers in our field is a method to analyze proteins on a gel, called sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Every biochemist in the known universe uses that technique, and the original paper, published by Dr. Ulrich Laemmli in 1970 has been cited in literature more times than any other. If not yet bored and/or asleep, you can read about it here. And see what one of our own protein gels looks like with a click here. Each of the little dark bands is a unique protein, each vertical lane comes from a different bacterial culture. Bottom line is, giving credit where credit is due is always in a scientist’s mind. Perhaps for that reason I have a very tough time calling a recipe my own. Like the one I’m sharing today.


I am reasonably confident that no one has made this exact cake before, but can I really call it my own when I did not “invent” the sable cookie, I did not “invent” mousses or compotes, and definitely did not figure out myself how to make a shiny mirror glaze? You see my point. So, keep all that in mind when I claim it to be “from the Bewitching Kitchen.”

PISTACHIO-CARAMEL APPLE CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

equipment: Silikomart mold Universo or cake ring (18cm-7 inch diameter)

for the cookie base:
100 g all-purpose flour
50 g cold butter, cut in pieces
25 g granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
15g ground almonds
pinch of salt

for the apple-yuzu insert:
150g granny smith apples
15g yuzu juice (or substitute lemon juice)
1/4 tsp vanilla paste
18g granulated sugar
2g NH pectin

for the pistachio mousse:
160 g milk
20 g de pistachio paste (I used this one)
2 egg yolks
30 g granulated sugar
5 g gelatin
160 g heavy cream, lightly whipped

for the caramel mousse:
5 g gelatine
25 ml water
75 g sugar
26 g glucose or corn syrup
35 ml water
1/8 tsp salt
100 g  + 190 g heavy cream
1 egg yolk

for the mirror glaze:
15 g gelatin
55 g water
150 g glucose
150 g granulated sugar
75 g water
150 g white chocolate
100 g condensed milk
1/4 tsp titanium oxide
brown and caramel gel food color

Make the sablé cookie. Mix the flour, powdered sugar, ground almonds and salt. Add the cold butter, cut into cubes and work the mixture with your fingertips until it forms small crumbs. Add a lightly beaten yolk and almost the full tablespoon of ice water. Mix quickly until the dough is homogeneous. If needed, add the rest of the water. Form a flattened ball, wrap in plastic film and take to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment forming a circle, and cut it with a cake ring the exact size of the mold you will use to form the dessert (aim for a circle of about 18 cm). Refrigerate the dough for several hours before baking in a 400 F oven until golden. Cookie base can be made a couple of days in advance.

Make the pistachio mousse: bloom the gelatin in very cold water. In a bowl, add the yolk, the pistachio paste and the sugar. Stir well until you get a fluffy cream. In a pan, bring the milk to medium heat. When the temperature reaches about 160 F, remove the pan from the heat and pour, slowly, over the yolk mixture, stirring all the time. Return this whole mixture to the pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly (about 180 F). Remove from heat and pass through a sieve. Add the bloomed gelatin, and stir well.  Let it cool to about 113 F and carefully add the whipped cream. Fold gently.

Make the apple-yuzu insert. Peel and dice the apples into 5 mm cubes. Combine the sugar and pectin in a small bowl and transfer to a saucepan. Add the yuzu or lemon juice to the saucepan and mix everything together. Turn the heat on to medium, add the apples and the vanilla. Cook very very gently with the lid on for 10 to 15 minutes or until the apples get translucent and start to melt down a bit. You will need to stir it often, so that the fruit does not burn at the bottom. Make sure the flame is really low for the whole cooking time. Freeze inside the mold you will use to assemble the dessert (you will un-mold it and save it for later). The apple compote needs to be made two full days before you need to assemble the dessert, as it needs to be frozen solid.

Make the caramel mousse.  In a small bowl, mix gelatine and water (25 ml) together and leave for 5 to 10 minutes to bloom. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, mix together sugar, glucose (or corn syrup), water (35 ml) and salt. Cook on medium high heat until you achieve a caramel syrup with deep amber color. Do not allow it to smoke or burn. Meanwhile, in another sauce pan, slightly the heat the 100 grams heavy cream, so when the caramel is ready you can pour the cream right away. Carefully pour it in and mix well until fully combined.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolk. Then add a third of the caramel to the beaten yolk and whisk quickly together to temper. Pour the mixture back into the caramel and stir well to combine. Continue stirring until it reaches 180-182 °F.  While still hot, add the bloomed gelatin, and mix into the caramel cream. Pass the cream through a fine mesh strainer, and set it aside to cool to 113 F.  When cooled, whisk the remaining heavy cream (190 g) into a stable, yet soft consistency (like yogurt). Then fold it in two additions into the caramel cream, until well combined.

Assemble the dessert. At the bottom of the Universo mold or cake ring wrapped in plastic film, pour the pistachio mousse. Place the frozen yuzu-apple insert in the center, pressing it lightly. The mousse will cover the insert, but not fill the mold completely. Place the mold in the freezer and proceed to make the second mousse.  Pour the caramel mousse in the mold covering it almost to the top, and carefully close it all with the sable cookie. Make sure it is all well-leveled. Freeze overnight. Un-mold the dessert right before glazing.

Make the mirror glaze. Bloom the gelatin by mixing it with 55 ml water in a small bowl. Reserve. In a small sauce pan, combine the second amount of water with sugar and glucose, bring to a boil, making sure sugar is fully dissolved. Place the white chocolate cut in small pieces in a large bowl. Pour the boiling sugar-glucose mixture over it, stir to combine, add the condensed milk and emulsify it all very well with an immersion blender. Add the titanium oxide. Divide the glaze in three amounts, leave one white. Color the other two with dark brown gel color and  caramel gel color, respectively.  Mix each one completely (preferably with immersion blender), but avoid incorporating any air in the mixture. Pass the mixtures through a sieve to burst any bubbles.  When the temperature cools to about 96 F pour the three colors together in a single container, a little bit of each, alternating the colors. Glaze the frozen cake forming any type of pattern you like. Keep the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.  Use a knife with a hot blade for better slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This recipe was designed around its apple center. Remember my little dome cakes from last month? I had quite a few of those little inserts of apple compote in the freezer, so I brought them to room temperature and re-froze in the Universo mold to be part of this new dessert.  With that main component in mind, I searched for mousses that would complement it well. Not too long ago the amazing Miúda from the blog verdadedesabor made a pistachio mousse that left me dreaming. So I incorporated it.  To add another flavor component, I re-visited a caramel mousse I made in the past and loved. Apple, pistachios and caramel sounded pretty good together.  The sablé is my favorite type of cookie to use as a base because it is sturdy, tasty, and does not change shape during baking. I cut the cookie in the exact size of the mold, so it sealed it perfectly for freezing and made un-molding the dessert quite easy. Remember, measure twice and cut once.

The yuzu-apple insert. As I mentioned, I used leftover compote from a previous adventure. It is a bit tricky to judge how much compote you would need, so I halved the previous recipe and imagine it will be pretty close. All you need is to form a layer with a thickness of about 3/4 inch to place inside the mold.

The mirror glaze. Wanna see it in action? Click here for a little video of yours truly in a very daring mode. Normally glazes are poured in the center, in a circular motion, but I wanted to get a more linear effect on the surface, so I went back and forth, in a movement that is usually reserved for log-shaped or savarin-type cakes. The glaze was just a tad too cold, and I got into a slight hyperventilation mode once I noticed. The temperature of the three glazes was very close to perfection to start with, but when I poured them together in a single container, they cooled a bit more. Mirror glazes are delicate beings, and hitting the temperature correctly for three different components can be a bit tricky. I am going to bring my bread proofing box into play next time. Still, it turned out pretty close to what I had in mind. I should not be too greedy…

The cake turned out delicious, I think the only issue was the re-melting and re-freezing of the compote, it was slightly less firm than in the original mousse cakes made before. I am not sure if it would have been better to reduce it a little or even add a bit more pectin before re-freezing, but my advice is to freeze it on the exact shape you intend to use.


Slices were shared with our departmental colleagues on a cold but sunny Monday morning in December. Not very many colleagues were around that week, but the cake was gone in a couple of hours…

Mission Mondays with Sweetness accomplished!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Someone turns 70 today!

TWO YEARS AGO: Carioca Cake, the Final Chapter

THREE YEARS AGO: Duck Confit for a Special Occasion

FOUR YEARS AGO: Ken Forkish’s Warm Spot Sourdough 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, Rainbows, and a wonderful surprise!

SIX YEARS AGO: Salmon Wellington

SEVEN YEARS AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Weekend Pita Project

NINE YEARS AGO: Let it snow, let it snow, eggs in snow