Monday, June 13, 2011
Dark Chocolate Fondant with Strawberry Mille Feuille and Blueberry caviar
This is a dessert that i have come up with starting to incorporate a couple things that i have been researching and doing i must stress though that this recipe is more for the seasoned professional than the average home cook because of the process involved in creating the dish, however it has all the WOW factor that you look for in a dessert.
as the saying goes ....."the proof is in the pudding"
Dark Chocolate Fondant, Strawberry Mille Feuille and Blueberry Caviar (serves 8)
This recipe is not for the faint hearted as the process is quite involved. However, in my personal opinion, the end result is well worth all the effort.
…..for the chocolate fondant
200g 70% Dark Chocolate
4 eggs separated
150g castor sugar
180g unsalted farm butter
1 TBSP corn flour
1 tot brandy
8 chocolate truffles (see recipe below)
Butter for buttering ramekins
50g grated dark chocolate for dusting ramekins
8x 125ml ramekins
Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler.
Cream together the egg yolks and half the sugar.
Whisk the egg whites with remaining half of the sugar until stiff.
Mix together the brandy and corn flour until ingredients are incorporated.
Butter the ramekins and sprinkle them with the grated chocolate and leave them in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Add the melted chocolate to the egg yolk and mix thoroughly, then add in the brandy mixture (it may seem at this point that the mixture looks like it wants to seize, however do not stress yet).
Add 1/3 of the stiff egg whites and whisk it into this mixture until all incorporated (you will see the mixture loosen up again)
Add in the rest of the whisked egg whites and soft fold them into the mixture until it is all incorporated.
Spoon mixture into ramekins until they are just under half full, then place one chocolate truffle (see recipe below) in the middle and top up the ramekin until full.
Place the ready made desserts in the fridge for 30mins to and hour
Preheat the oven to 180˚C (very important that the oven is at this temperature before you put the fondants in), place dessert in oven and drop the temperature to 165˚C and bake for 12 minutes.
The mixture will rise like a soufflé over the top of the ramekin; this is what you are looking for, however once you take them out of the oven serve immediately as they will drop.
If you have a gluten allergy you can use this mixture to make a flourless chocolate cake. Bake at 150˚c for 45 minutes and let it cool in the oven for 3 hours
…..for the chocolate truffles
400g 70% Dark Chocolate
1 cup Cream or Crème Fraisch
Cocoa powder for dusting
100g melted chocolate for dusting
Heat the cream until just below boiling and pour it over the chocolate, mix together thoroughly.
Leave it to cool down either on the counter or in the fridge, now take a melon baller and scoop out balls of chocolate.
Dip into the melted chocolate and roll in cocoa powder to coat.
Place on grease proof paper and leave in the fridge until ready to use.
…..for the Strawberry Mille Feuille
500g frozen strawberries
125g castor sugar
Puff pastry as per recipe below
Icing sugar for dusting
In a small pot, put strawberries, castor sugar and brandy, over a very low heat (the sugar must melt but it should not be bubbling), leave for about 45min (this process is called macerating the strawberries).
Roll out the puff pastry (see recipe below) and cut into strips about 3cm x 6cm, it is important that the pastry is not rolled out to thin.
Cut out 16 strips, place them onto a baking tray and dust the top with icing sugar and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200˚c for 8-10 minutes until golden on the top. Remove from oven and let cool before using it further.
Whip the cream until soft peaks appear and add half of the strawberries, blend it further until the cream is stiff and the strawberries are puréed into the cream (it goes a beautiful soft pink colour).
Cut the baked puff pastry in half horizontally, as if to open them to be stuffed, spread the bottom piece with the cream, place 3 macerated strawberries on top, place another piece of pastry on top and repeat the process, place the piece dusted with icing sugar right on top of the last layer of strawberries.
…..for the puff pastry
½ tsp castor sugar
1 tsp salt
30g melted butter
150-170ml tap water
200g cold butter (kept aside for later use)
The principle behind the pastry is to create many layers of dough and
butter by folding and turning the two together. (Unlike short pastry, the butter is not incorporated into the dough but rather folded into the layers).
1) Sift the flour into a mound on a cool work surface and make a well in the centre. Add the salt, sugar, water and melted butter to the well.
2) Mix with four fingers until the salt dissolves.
3) Use a plastic pastry scraper to pull the flour into the well and mix until blended, adding the remaining water if the pastry is dry.
4) Work the pastry into a sticky ball with the pastry scraper.
5) Make an X-shaped incision on top of the dough, wrap in lightly floured baking parchment or tea towel, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes. This is the détrempe.)
6) Sandwich the remaining 200 g butter between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and tap with a rolling pin until softened to the same consistency as the détrempe. Form the butter into a square about 2 cm thick. Place the ball of pastry on a lightly floured work surface and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Press the rolling pin into the top edge of the pastry and roll out an "arm". Give the dough a quarter turn and roll out another "arm". Continue to turn and roll twice more until the pastry is in the shape of a cross. It should be mounded in the centre, tapering out the 4 arms.
7) Place the square of butter on the mounded centre of the pastry and fold in the arms, stretching the pastry slightly to seal in the butter. (The 4 thicknesses of pastry on the top should be approximately the same thickness as the mound of pastry under the butter.)
8) Lightly tap the top of the pastry with a rolling pin to seal the edges and to enlarge and flatten the square a little. (This is the pâton) Then roll out the pastry to a long rectangle about 17.5 cm wide and 52.5 long.
9) The edges of the rectangle should be even and straight.
10) Fold the bottom third of the rectangle up toward the centre, carefully aligning the edges. Brush off any flour.
11) Fold the top third down to make a neat square and brush off any flour.
12) You will have a neat square of pastry with the fold on the bottom.
13) Give the square a quarter turn to the left for maximum rising. It is important that you always rotate the pastry in the same direction so the seam is always on the same side.
14) The fold should then be at the side.
15) Roll out the pastry into a long rectangle.
16) Fold into thirds. Gently press 2 fingertips into the pastry to indicate that 2 turns have been completed.
17) Wrap the pastry and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Give the pastry 2 more turns. Mark it with 4 fingerprints to indicate a total of 4 turns have been completed. Rewrap and return it to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes. (After 4 turns the pastry may be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen.) Give the pastry another 2 turns and mark it with 6 fingerprints. Then wrap and refrigerate it for 10 minutes more before rolling out for shaping and baking.
…..for the Blueberry Caviar
1 cup of white sugar
½ cup good dry white wine
1g Sodium Alginate
¼ tsp sodium nitrate
6,5g Calcium Chloride
1lt of water
In a small pot, place blueberries, white sugar and white wine, over a very low heat and “cook” for and hour (this process is called macerating the blueberries)
Remove from heat and puree, and drain over a container in a muslin cloth over night so that all the juice extracts.
Place juice in freezer until frozen,
Remove ice block from container and place on a muslin cloth again over a clean container and let “defrost” in the fridge, you will be left with a block of clear ice on the muslin cloth and half the amount of juice in the container.
Take this juice and add in the sodium nitrate, mix it in with a stick blender, once that is mixed in add the sodium alginate and blend thoroughly with a stick blender leave this mixture for an hour at room temperature to let all the bubbles settle,
Add the calcium chloride to the water and stir until it has dissolved.
With a surgical syringe, suck up the berry juice and drop it in small drops into the calcium chloride bath and leave them for about 2 minutes. Gently spoon them out and rinse with fresh water and serve immediately as the longer they stand the more they will form into gel balls and loose liquid and flavor.
Enjoy the fruits of your hard labor