Tag Archives: valrhona

Dark chocolate Swiss Meringue Frosting


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It’s been a while since I made icing for cakes. I didn’t like my old buttercream recipe as it was fiddly and a bit too buttery for my taste. I haven’t tried swiss meringue buttercream and thought it would be interesting to see how it turns out.

Three words: WOW. WOW. WOW. Pillowy, soft and cloud-like.  Amazing. Thanks to bloggers like @stylesweetca and @toplessbaker my cake deco game is back on! 🍰🍫 The buttercream was a joy to make and pipes so well. So smooth and tastes light. It also sets a bit when cooled in the fridge which is great if you have to transport it. This will be my go-to recipe for icing!

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I added Fresh As freeze dried raspberries inside each of the layers, raspbery chocolate paste from Sabato, Miann gold dusted almond and coffee Valrhona dark chocolate, Solomon’s Gold new chocolate kibble (as deco pieces and also melted and added into the chocolate icing), Valrhona cocoa powder. What a cutie!

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Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Frosting

(Adapted from Style Sweet Ca)

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites (120ml)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons mascarpone, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 60g dark chocolate, melted (best you can afford)
  • 4 teaspoons of your best baking cocoa powder

Instructions

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Whisk by hand to combine.  Fill a medium saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. (I have a small metal steamer rack that I use to rest the bowl on as my saucepan is a bit too wide for the bowl). Whisking intermittently, warm the egg mixture until it reaches 60-65 degrees C on a candy thermometer.
  3. Once hot, place the mixer bowl back on the stand.  Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form and the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature (about 8 minutes).
  4. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add in the softened butter and mascarpone, two tablespoons at a time.  Stop the mixer and change the whisk to the paddle attachment.
  5. Add in the vanilla, melted chocolate, and cocoa.  Mix on medium-high until the buttercream is smooth, fluffy, and cloud-like (about 3 minutes).

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Just for fun I switched the tip and pipped some ruffle stars as well!

Key points:

* Make sure your butter is at room temperature when you add it to the meringue. Keep mixing if it looks like it has curdled.

* Make sure your meringue has returned to room temperature before adding the butter or your bowl of cloud will become bowl of soup! Cool the whole bowl and mixture for 20 minutes before whipping again.

Cassis, chestnut and Valrhona Satilia Lactée ganache macarons


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Unlike the more premium Gran Cru line, the Valrhona Satilia range of chocolate is made from a blend of cocoa beans from different regions. Nonetheless, it is as delicious as ever: strong chocolate flavour with 35% cocoa, slightly sweet and a little biscuity. Kinder to the wallet so why not!

Here I’ve paired it with blackcurrants and chestnut, to simulate a Mont Blanc-esque flavour.

Macarons shell ingredients
(makes about 40 macarons)

  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 150 g almond meal
  • 110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 38 ml water
  • 1 g meringue powder
  • daffodil yellow gel colouring

Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.

Ingredients:

  • 120g Valrhona Satilia LactĂ©e fèves
  • 80ml pure (heavy) cream
  • 3-4 tsp Cassis paste or blackcurrant jelly
  • a few whole cooked chestnut, broken into pieces

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Instructions:
Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Let it cool and thicken in the fridge.

Spread cassis paste on half of your shells. Add two pieces of broken up chestnut and pipe a teaspoon of ganache on top. Top with the remaining half of your shells.
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The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze well (up to 3 months).

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Here’s my cone of macarons!

Glorious Tiramisu with Bailey’s


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This is how I make Tiramisu – for as long as I can remember. 
Trouble with making Tiramisu is what do you do with the left overs. I’ve learnt that if I used a narrow based bowl that opens up to a wider top, while aesthetically pleasing, I would have half-used packets of lady fingers and left over mascarpone cheese filling yet wouldn’t quite be enough to make another! I’ve found that if I use a straight edged rectangular bowl (20cm by 15 cm straight edged Pyrex bowl) it would be close to perfect, with just enough left to also make some cute little deconstructed pots of Tiramisu. 
This also won me the top prize at my previous job’s departmental cooking competition so it has truly been tasted and approved by many. My current colleagues love it. My point of difference is the use of Bailey’s – lots of recipes call for rum or brandy but I love Bailey’s and have always preferred Tiramisu made with Baileys. Airy and pillowy; velvety and light; a glorious pick-me-up dessert.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 400g mascarpone cheese (2 packets of Tatua Mascarpone cheese)
  • 350ml cream, whipped
  • 22 Italian Lady fingers
  • 1 cup cold instant coffee (Moccona)
  • ½ cup Baileys 
  • 1 tbsp of your best cocoa for dusting

Instructions

  1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, whisking constantly. This is your sabayon, remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
  2. Add Mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.
  5. Mix the cold espresso with the Baileys and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them! Do only several at a time.
  6. Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of your bowl.
  7. Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.
  8. Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers and mascarpone cream.
  9. Dust with cocoa.
  10. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It tastes better the next day.

If there are any leftovers, I often make up small individual servings, as shown here.

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(Styled by J)

Valrhona chocolate, salted caramel and crunchy feuilletine entremet


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Ever since trying out entremet desserts from Milse, I’ve been planning on making some. The making of entremets involve several more elements than other desserts. With cakes you may have cake batter, cream and ganache. With macarons you have the shells and the filling, be it buttercream or chocolate ganache. Entremets typically involve layers of mousse, cake, some ‘surprise’ element within and then a chocolate glaze or cocoa powder.

There was a missing ingredient that had taken me a long time to find, but thanks to Equagold I finally got my hands on some feuilletine – crunchy ‘leaves’ – for my ‘surprise’ element.

It also took me a while to find and master the perfect glaze as the shiny coating for these little domes. It wasn’t until recently when I flipped open Darren Purchese’s Sweet Studio book that I realised the perfect recipe had been lying around the house all along!

I urge you not to be put off by the steps and the number of elements. The list looks long but if you plan ahead, like baking (or buying!) the sponge one night, making whatever filling (e.g. Salted caramel) another, you will have everything ready to assemble easy peasy. I looked at it as a massive mise en place and the assembling is truly the highlight and most fun part. The result is amazing and all the time spent in preparation worthwhile.

So excited when I finally got them done, I had a goofy smile all day and could hardly wait for my colleagues to try.

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Chocolate mousse domes – makes 6

Chocolate mousse
60 g dark chocolate – melted
45 ml full cream milk
1 leaf of gold strength gelatin – softened in water
175 ml cream – lightly whipped

1) Combine dark chocolate and milk
2) Mix in gelatin
3) Fold in cream until just mixed

Chocolate Genoise/ sponge cake – you can use your own sponge cake recipe or store-bought cakes!

Salted caramel
See my recipe from the Salted Caramel Macaron post. I almost always have a jar of this in my fridge, so this element is ready whenever I need it.

Crunchy chocolate Crisp * you will have lots of left overs for other desserts, these keep well in an airtight box
60 g dark chocolate – melted
25 g crunchy feuilletine

1) Line baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Spread feuilletine on baking paper.
2) Melt chocolate and pour over feuilletine.
3) Spread out and leave to cool.
4) Using a round cutter, cut out small discs. Alternatively, you can break them up into small pieces.

Chocolate Glaze*prepare this 45 minutes before you unmold the domes as you need the glaze to be cool but still liquid.
50 g water
50 g cream
45 g sugar
20 g cocoa powder
1 leaves of gold strength gelatin – softened in water

1) Combine water, cream, sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan.
2) Bring to a boil
3) Add in gelatin and combine with a whisk
4) Cool to room temperature

Assembly
These little entremets are layers of mousse, cake, some crunchy, tasty element and more mousse. What you put in it entirely depends on your taste. To finish it off a shiny chocolate glaze is poured on the frozen domes.

1) Using cookie cutters, cut cake into small and medium rounds
2) Add a dollop of salted caramel on the small cake circle
3) Add about 2 tablespoons of mousse per dome mold
4) Place small cake circle on top and press lightly to half submerge in mousse
5) Top with more mousse to hide the small cake circle
6) Add crispy chocolate disc pieces
7) Add the medium cake circle
8) Freeze well, preferably overnight
9) Unmold
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10) Pour glaze over domes, letting the glaze drip down over covered trays (you can reuse the glaze)
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11) Decorate to your heart’s content. I’ve used Godiva chocolate pearls, more crispy chocolate feuilletine and freeze-dried raspberries here.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate hazelnut mousse entremet


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What’s more delicious than a pot of velvety chocolate mousse?” I asked J, my 5 year old daughter. She looked puzzled, not that she didn’t understand me, but that it was already quite up there on her ‘best food moments’ list I think.

One decorated with all sorts of chocolatey bites and pearls, perhaps?” I offered and her eyes lit up like the time she got Movenpick ice cream at a buffet and realised she could go back for more.

Yes!!!!” She said, grabbing onto my arm and shaking it excitedly, “we could put those little pearls and even gummies!

Next, we were both in the pantry looking for all sorts of things to use to decorate our little pots of black gold…

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I gave J creative freedom to do what she wanted to the pots while trying to explain the concept of ‘less is more’ – I think I failed. I must be kidding myself to think I could persuade a 5 year old to put less chocolate on!

(After thought – for adult versions, do exercise control over how much more chocolate you add. As the mousse is already quite sweet, adding too many more sweet elements to it may just tip the balance!)

Biscuit base
250g nice biscuits, blitzed into crumbs
125g unsalted butter, melted

Hazelnut spread layer
Leoine or Nutella hazelnut spread

Chocolate Mousse
180g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
170g unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee (optional)
4 large eggs, separated
4 + 1 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) (or use Cointreau for orange-flavoured mousse)

Textural component / Decoration (optional)

  • Valrhona chocolate pearls (for crunch)
  • Dark or milk chocolate squares – for artistic/structural representation
  • Chocolate spheres – I used ones with blueberry pieces in it
  • Candy gems – for texture and children  (or the young at heart)
  • Edible soil – cocoa powder or blitzed chocolate biscuits
  • Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder – for colour and taste contrast

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1. Mix the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs. Divide into serving bowls or pots and push with finger tips to form a firm base. Place in fridge to firm up.

2. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate  and Frangelico (also add coffee now if you are using), stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Add the cubed butter in and mix gently. Remove from heat.

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3. Beat the yolks of the eggs with 4 tablespoons of sugar for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick.

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4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. Let it cool.

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5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff.

6. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites until just incorporated.

7. Remove your serving bowls from the fridge. Spread hazelnut chocolate (I used Leoine, you can use Nutella if you wish) onto the surface of the crumb layer.

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8. Pour the mousse into the serving bowls, layering alternately with a biscuit crumb layer and more mousse.

9. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

10. Add your textural components before serving – I’ve chosen chocolate squares, pearls, biscuit crumbs, blueberry-in-chocolate balls and freeze dried raspberry powder for added taste and textural comparison. The sharpness of the raspberry powder cuts through the sweetness of the mousse which is my 5% magic for this mouth watering dessert. (Why oh why am I giving this away?!?!?!)
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11. These are served in tiny pots here, you can equally plate them in larger vessels. Trust me, no one will complain!

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