Because procrastination really doesn't pay off, I'm still posting desserts from this past Spring. This was our tasting menu dessert, comprised of a baked chocolate ganache, paired with chocolate rocks, chocolate mint, chocolate twigs, and passion fruit sorbet. The baked chocolate ganache is egg based, and we bake it in a water bath on low heat for one hour. It comes out with a beautiful crackly top, very similar to a brownie. We then freeze it to unmold, and when served room temp, it is the most luxurious flourless chocolate cake. This small disk is paired with a tart and refreshing passion fruit sorbet to cut through the richness, and the chocolate mint adds a fresh floral element as well. For texture, caramelized cacao nibs, chocolate rocks, and chocolate twigs add extra dimension. I love caramelized cacao nibs, as the sugar cuts through the bitterness of the nibs. When pairing nibs (dried, roasted, and fermented chocolate in its purest form) with a dark chocolate cake (an altered state of the beginning), both lift each other up.
It's been quite a busy few months that I haven't even been able to touch my blog. There's a few posts in the works showcasing my winter desserts (as we sit here through the April showers LOL). This chocolate mousse has been on the menu for a few weeks, and I am excited by the feedback and general popularity. Let's be serious though, when has chocolate not been a hit? Anyway, this is one of the desserts that had been floating around in my head, so here goes. Milk chocolate mousse (we use Valrhona Jivara 40%) is molded in a cube and then sprayed with a mixture of cocoa butter and Valrhona Manjari 64%. It is garnished with chocolate cremeux (Valrhona Extra Bitter 61%), chocolate cake, and chocolate rocks. The chocolate cake is technically steamed in the microwave, making it delicious and spongy. The chocolate rocks are a combination of cacao nib, cocoa powder, butter, and flour that has been mixed with tempered chocolate and afterwards dusted with confectioner's sugar and a bit of tapioca maltodextrin. As they are technically called chocolate rocks, I like when mine resemble coral and have crazy irregular shapes. Note to self: experiment with other flavors. All of this is paired with a maldon sea salt sherbet. I like to jokingly call it salted milk but it is very addictive. Sweet and salty. I love this dessert because it is purely focused on chocolate through percentages, flavors, textures, and different techniques with the maldon sea salt accenting the chocolate notes.
It's hot hot hot outside! Hot and humid weather makes me crave something tropical to survive this heat. This dessert is a mango pineapple chocolate milk chocolate mousse cake with a caramel glaze, mango sauce, dehydrated pineapple chip, and cocoa cake crumble. It's a pretty straightforward dessert considering I had to plate a LOT of these at one time. I love combining tropical fruits with milk chocolate, just because the acidity enhances all the caramel and sweet, floral notes of the chocolate, namely Valrhona Caramelia 36% chocolate. I love caramel paired with chocolate so I couldn't resist adding it as the glaze for the cake. For texture, I used a cocoa cake crumble (an irresistible snack on its own..) and a candied dehydrated pineapple chip.
For the first dessert of 2015, I wanted to prepare something that would set the tone for the rest of the year. I prepared a chocolate mousse cake. It's a classic dessert, prevalent in numerous restaurants, and not that exciting. But when prepared perfectly with technique and good chocolate, it's irresistible. That's something to continue to strive for this year; prepare seemingly simple desserts but so extraordinarily well that it leaves an impression. This dessert is comprised of chocolate mousse and chocolate biscuit (Valrhona Jivara 40%), glazed with chocolate sauce (Valrhona Manjari 64%), and decorated with chocolate shards (Valrhona Guanaja 70%). On the plate is white chocolate feulletine (Valrhona Ivoire 35%), cocoa powder (Valrhona 100% cocoa), and gold leaf.
Most of my desserts contain dairy, eggs, and gluten. I love using top quality heavy cream, organic eggs, and a variety of flours to produce the best flavors. What I normally don't do are raw and vegan desserts. With an increase in diners who have allergies and special diets, it's time to jump on the bandwagon so that every guest can have dessert that are just as delicious as their dairy, eggs, and gluten counterparts. Eliminating pastry mainstays such as eggs, butter, cream, and flour and producing just as delicious bites is an exciting challenge. I have always enjoyed raw, vegan, and gluten-free desserts when done well, but always lamented how a large portion could leave me feeling rather heavy. There are a lot of nuts and oils in these desserts, and by making them bite-sized, makes them the perfect portion size. Shown are a cranberry chocolate fudge, peppermint patty, and an almond nut buttercup. The peppermint patty filling uses cashews that have been soaked in water and blended to mimic a creamy filling. To make the perfect crunchy chocolate shell, coconut oil and chocolate. Honestly, so delicious without missing all the butter and cream. The fudge is made with almond butter and coconut oil. It is lighter than a traditional fudge, and especially delicious when frozen. Cranberries are added for a tart contrast. The almond nut butter cup has a base of almond butter and oats. It's topped with a chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of sea salt.