As this part of my course draws to an end, I’ve been reflecting on both the experience of the last 18 months and the learning I’ve taken away from it. The Desserts module has definitely provided a lot of opportunity to learn….. desserts can be fairly unforgiving if not executed just right and then there is presentation to consider. In Chocolate Based Desserts the products were; Milk Chocolate Mousse with Orange Jelly, Chocolate Fondant, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Mango Ice Cream.
Lesson 3 was all about crème anglaise, we made a lot to it!. First it was the base of the Milk Chocolate Mousse, to which melted milk chocolate and soaked gelatine leaves were added. It’s important to cool the mixture over ice to at least 22C before folding in the softly whipped cream, and then to continue to drop the temperature of the mixture to 15C before filling the oiled moulds and putting them in the fridge to set. The Orange Jelly could be used to decorate the mousse in any number of ways. It could be made first and set in the bottom of the mould with a segment of orange, before pouring the mousse mixture on top. It could be set in a sheet-pan and & diced to decorate the plate with orange segments or it put in the moulds after the mousse, so as when inverted on the plate it has a lovely orange footing. To make the jelly warm 200mls of orange juice with 30g castor sugar to dissolve. Add the softened, soaked and squeezed out gelatine leaf (10g) to the warm juice and when dissolved chill over ice to a temp of 20C before filling the moulds.
The recipe for the Peanut Butter Cookies was the easiest I’ve made, with only 4 ingredients; 250g crunchy peanut butter, 125g castor sugar, 1 egg and dark couverture choc chips. The chocolate chips weren’t incorporated into the cookie dough but added afterward for decoration. I weighed out the exact amount (30g), so every cookie was uniform size, which was important as they were going to be used to sandwich the mango ice-cream. The cookies were baked on a lined baking tray in 170C preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. They are very fragile, so allow to cool completely on the baking tray before gently lifting.
The other use of the Crème Anglaise was for the Mango Ice cream base. In class we used a pre-made mango puree, but you can simply heat 100g of mango puree with 20 ml of mango liqueur or sugar syrup for the same result. Allow it to cool and add it to the strained and cooled Anglaise and churn in an ice-cream machine as per instructions. Once the ice-cream is ready, construct your cookie and ice-cream sandwich, storing it in the freezer until ready to serve. This is a good dessert for a dinner party as it can be done ahead of time and all you need to do at the last minute is dress the plate.
Chocolate Fondant, or Lava Cake (recipe below), requires a molten centre, but the ones made in class were slightly over baked & not so molten. Again we cooked as a group and in hind-sight the oven temperature was too low, so it took longer for the outer crust get a firm and all at the loss of a gooey centre…. lesson learned! The moulds/tins need to be greased and then coated in cocoa powder before filling with the chocolate mixture. Chilling the mixture for at least 2 hours before baking is important to ensure a molten centre, as long as you don’t overcook them 😳.
Since my last post I’ve had a few requests for the White Chocolate Pannacotta recipe we made in Lesson 2, so I’ve also added that below. Next week is the last lesson before the final assessment and is titled Hot Desserts, it will include; Orange Soufflé with Caramelised Oranges and Suzette Sauce, Apple Crepes and Champagne Sabayon and Sticky Date and Rhubarb Cake with Butterscotch Sauce. See you next time!
Chocolate Fondant Puddings
The promise of a lava centered chocolatey cake which can be made ahead of time if needed. It might take a few practice bakes until you get the timing right, but it's worth the effort. Serve with creme anglaise or ice cream, add a fruit coulis to take it to anotherlevel
- 85 gm Butter, unsalted
- 100 gm Dark Chocolate
- 3 Eggs
- 85 gm Sugar, castor
- 50 gm Flour
- Oil spray
- Cocoa Powder
Preheat oven to 180C.
Spray the moulds on the inside and coat them with cocoa powder.
Combine butter and chocolate in a bwl and warm to approx 50C over a baine marie.
Combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk them until light in colour.
Add the chocolate to the eggs mixture and whisk to add volume.
Take off the stand mixer and sift the flour directly into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold through until all thoroughly combined.
Pipe or pour the mixture into the greased moulds to 3/4 full.
Chill the mixture in the fridge for 2 hours
Bake for 8 mins – depending on size of moulds. The aim is for the outside to be cooked and the inside liquid.
Once out of the oven rest for 2 minutes before de-moulding.
White Chocolate Pannacotta
A smooth, silky and rich dessert which can be dressed up with the addition of fresh fruit and or a fruit jelly or served quite simply.
- 125 gm White Chocolate, chopped
- 300 ml Cream
- 30 g Castor Sugar
- 5 ml Vanilla extract
- 20 ml Cold Water
- 10 gm Gelatine powder
- 125 gm Greek Style Yoghurt
Prepare the dariole moulds, or glasses, by slightly oiling.
Sprinkle gelatine powder over cold water and allow it to bloom
Bring cream and sugar to the boil, take off heat and add gelatine mass.
Once gelatine has dissolved, add the white chocolate to melt. Put mixture over ice to cool.
Add the yoghurt to the cooled mixture and whisk to combine, keep on ice until mixture is 20C.
Pour mixture into the moulds and loosley coverwith plastic wrap and refrigerate until set @ 2 hours.
Note: If using jelly, either place in moulds first with a segment of fresh strawberry and chill to set before placing the chilled pannacotta mix on top to chill or add to cooled pannacotta.