Monday, March 2, 2009

Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Dacquoise Napoleons

This was the dessert I made for my big dinner, and was by far the best part of the meal. You’ll have to forgive the lack of a photo of the plated dish, but it was so good that I forgot to take one. And despite this being essentially a modification of an earlier post, I strongly recommend this preparation. I served the final napoleons sitting in a vanilla crème anglaise, and drizzled a raspberry coulis over the top of the dessert. I should note that because of the addition of the jam, the mousse was not nearly as stiff as other times I’ve made this. I stuck the mousse in the fridge for a few hours and it firmed up enough to be pipable. I would recommend making the ingredients for this dessert in advance, but only combining the Dacquoise and mousse an hour or two before serving, and not adding the sauces until it is actually time to serve. In the prep photo, if you look closely enough, you might notice there are raspberries on the bottom layers, but not the top, that’s because I ran out of raspberries. I did top each napoleon with two raspberries, which I cemented in place with a little chocolate mousse. I’ve included an picture of the assembled but not plated dessert below.

Chocolate Raspberry Napoleons

Makes ~ 6

Chocolate Mousse 

400 ml water 
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate 
6 T seedless raspberry jam, melted (I recommend Polaner’s)

1. Get a large mixing bowl and a larger pot. Fill the large pot with ice and water, and place the mixing bowl in it. You might want to build a foil collar for the mixing bowl, as chocolate is going to spray.

2. In a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the chocolate and water. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixed with the water.

3. Pour the water and chocolate mixture into the prepared mixing bowl, and immediately begin to beat using a hand mixer. Beat for 5-10 minutes, or until mixture has cooled and stiffened into a mousse (the more you beat, the stiffer it will get, and because it will loosen up when the liquor is added, you want it very stiff to start).

4. Beat in the jam 1-2 T at a time. Store the mousse in the fridge until ready to use


Almond Dacquoise

215 grams blanched almonds 
150 grams confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting 
5 egg whites 
50 grams granulated sugar

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread the nuts out on a cookie sheet and bake them for 10 minutes, or until just golden. Quickly place them into a towel and rub them together to get the skins off. (chances are you will be more successful getting the skins of the hazelnuts than the almonds, don’t worry about it).

3. Reserve 80 grams of the nuts. Place the remaining 135 grams in the food processor and pulse until coarse. Add the powdered sugar and pulse until combined and fine.

4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer on high, gradually add the granulated sugar. Continue beating the egg whites until they reach still peaks.

5. Gently fold the nut and sugar mixture into the egg white mixture, until just combined.

6. Using a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch tip (this is just a bear coupler on a regular bag). Pipe the dacquoise into rectangles. I didn’t bother using any kind of form for this, I just made each rectangle 5-6 inches long, and three passes with the pastry bag wide.

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until dacquoise are crisp and golden, switching the baking sheets half way through. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between the dacqoise until assembly.


Raspberry coulis

1 pound bag frozen raspberries 
½ cup sugar 
1 T lemon juice

1. Put the raspberries and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk until liquefied (this may take awhile if you start with frozen raspberries). Continue until mixture is brought to a simmer and somewhat reduced.

2. Remove from heat and strain the coulis through a sieve to strain out the seeds. Stir the lemon juice. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use.


Crème Anglaise

2 cups whole milk 
1 T vanilla paste 
½ cup sugar 
4 egg yolks

1. Set a medium bowl in an ice bath, with a sieve over the top. Set it aside.

2. In a second bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Set aside.

3. Combine the vanilla and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until small bubble begin to form.

4. While whisking the egg mixture, pour the half of the milk into the eggs in a thin stream. Pour egg mixture into the saucepan and combine it with the rest of the milk.

5. Put the saucepan back over the heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture has thickened slightly (Do Not bring to a boil).

6. Pour the mixture through the sieve into the ready bowl (the one sitting in the ice bath). Refrigerate until ready to use.



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