Ever since I started my culinary adventure, I tried to read as much as I could, to compare different methods and recipes for every thing I wanted to bake. After months and months of studying and comparing and baking, I was struck: MEN ARE INSPIRING ME THE MOST. The best recipes, the most spectacular results I got were by following tips, advice and work procedures written by men.
The men that I admire the most: Pierre Herme (today’s post, with some changes was inspired by him, the croissants we enjoy so much are also his), Peter Reinhart (he introduced me to his excellent bagels, and also to lots of breads that we love), Dan Lepard (with the best foccacia I have ever tasted – the post will be coming soon), Stephan Glacier (who inspired the Iced Delight).
I admire their talent, their dedication their ideas.
The change I made to Herme’s recipe was using my over tested chocolate mousse recipe instead of the buttercream he suggested (I kind of
hate prefer not to use butter based creams or mousses for my desserts).
For the meringue disks
4 egg whites
200 g sugar
The disks are to be baked at 125 degrees Celsius.
For baking the disks, you will need to draw 3 24 cm circles on parchment paper. Turn it upside down to avoid transferring the pencil to your disks. For piping the meringue, use a plain tip (1-1.5 cm).
Place the egg whites in big, clean/ dry bowl and whip them to soft peaks. Gradually add half of the sugar and continue whipping them until firm peaks form and the whites are glossy. At this point, add the vanilla extract.
The other part of sugar will be added by hand (please do not proceed otherwise). Gradually fold the sugar into the whites, with a large spatula: you should be fast but delicate (you do not want to deflate the whites).
Place the meringue into your pastry bag and start piping the disks from the middle describing a spiral. I would advise dividing the batter in 3 from the beginning, to ensure equal thickness to all layers. The disks are supposed to be about 8-10 mm high.
While baking the disks, keep the oven door slightly open (use a wooden spoon). They should be baked for 1.5-2 hours, until they are light brown and firm. Depending on how your oven works, feel free to rotate the pans to ensure even baking.
After baking the disks, dry them for about 8 hours in the oven with the door closed (I dried mine out of the oven overnight). I strongly recommend peeling the paper off the disks as soon as possible to avoid too muck sticking the next day (be very careful as they are fragile and brake easily – the missing piece does not appear in the photos).
For the mousse
7 g gelatin
200 ml water
200 g sugar
1 vanilla bean
480 ml heavy cream
170 g bitter sweet chocolate
Place the water, vanilla bean and sugar in a covered pan over medium high heat and bring to a rolling boil. When boiling, uncover, lower the heat and cook to 238 degrees F.
In the meantime soften the gelatin with some cold water, whip the cream and in a separate bowl whip the yolks. Melt the chocolate over a pot of hot water.
When the sugar syrup is almost ready, melt the gelatin (in a microwave or over hot water). Remove the bean and scrape it over the yolks. Pour the syrup over the yolks in a slow stream while mixing on high. Next add the gelatin and continue beating until the mixture cools and thickens. Add the melted chocolate and fold it gently. Then add the cream and incorporate it slowly as well.
For the icing
80 ml cream
100 g bitter sweet chocolate
30 g butter
7 Tbps chocolate sauce (recipe follows)
Bring the cream to boil. Remove it from the stove and gradually add the chopped chocolate stirring to melt it. Place the mixture over a pot of hot water until it reaches 140 degrees F. At this point gently mix in the butter and chocolate sauce. Use the glaze when it gets to 114 degrees F for best results.
For chocolate sauce
32 g bittersweet chocolate
60 ml water
30 ml cream
15 g sugar
Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to boil over medium heat. When boiling, lower the heat to low and continue until the mixture thickens a bit and coats the back of a spoon (10-15 minutes).
Place one disk (flat side down) on a cardboard circle. Spread 1/3 of the mousse. Place the second disk over, spread half of the remaining mousse. Top the cake with the last disk and spread the remaining mousse on the top and sides of the cake.
Place the cake on a wire rack and pour the glaze over. As it runs down the sides use a spatula to smooth the glaze.
Enjoy it either now or after the glaze settles in the fridge.