Chocolate Crémeux with a Dacquoise Biscuit

cremeuxchocolat1_lefermier_021015

Superfoods and raw foods may be the culinary trends du jour, but there’s still something about a decadent chocolate dessert that can tip most diet-devotees of the wagon, if only for an indulgent moment.

This is one such dessert. You know the kind: almost too pretty to be eaten, seemingly rich, but wonderfully light at the same time. Transporting, satiating, moreish. Drooling yet? Stop reading, and start baking!

Chocolate and Coffee Crémeux on Dacquoise:

DSC_0658

Ingredients:

  • 200g full cream milk
  • 200g mascarpone
  • 80g egg yolk, about 4 yolk
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 155g dark chocolate
  • 5g instant coffee

Method:

  1. Boil the milk, mascarpone and the instant coffee.
  2. Whisk the yolk and sugar together until slightly white.
  3. Pour the boiled milk over the eggs in two times while whisking non stop!
  4. Cook the mix over medium heat until it reaches 83 degrees Celsius, just like a crème anglaise.
  5. Place the chocolate in an electric mixer bowl and pour the hot mix over it while whisking. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted.
  6. Transfer the mix into a clean recipient and wrap it with cling film, making sure it’s in direct contact, and place in the fridge until the next day.

Dacquoise:

DSC_0659

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 35g plain flour
  • 70g Hazelnut powder
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 30g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 240 degrees celsius
  2. Whisk the egg white in an electric mixer until they become slightly firm, then start adding the sugar. Whisk for about 3-4 minutes to obtain a nice meringue.
  3. Gently fold in the icing sugar and hazelnut powder using a rubber spatula.
  4. Then gently add the flour to the meringue.
  5. Spread the mix on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, about 1cm thickness, and bake for 6 minutes.

Cut the Dacquoise using a round cookie cutter, the size you use is up to you!

Pipe the crémeux on the biscuit using a pipping bag with a star nozzle and garnish with fresh raspberries.

The richness of the crémeux, the nuttiness of the biscuit and the acidity of the raspberries create, I think, a well balanced dessert!

Bon Appétit

Le Fermier

Jean-François’s Mousse au Chocolat: Jean-François Chocolate Mousse

chocolatemousse3_lefermier_010615

This decadent dessert is a favourite among restaurant go-ers at the Restaurant de L’Abbaye and I’m thrilled to be able to share the chef’s recipe with you today. Once you taste the rich and creamy texture of this mousse you’ll be surprised at how straightforward it is to make, and because it will keep for a few days in the fridge, I think it’s the perfect ‘wow-factor’ dessert to make in advance when you’re entertaining guests.

chocolatemousse2_lefermier_010615

There’s no oven time required for this chocolate mousse, which has the added advantage of allowing you to be creative with your presentation. There are the usual ramekins or decorative bowls, but you could also set the mousse in vintage crystal glasses or teacups for an afternoon tea with a twist.

chocolatemousse_lefermier_010615

The most important thing to keep in mind with this dish is the darker the chocolate you use, the richer the finished product; so don’t overdose on a good thing by serving your guests enormous portions! Less is always more when it comes to indulgence.

Ingredients:

  • 450g dark chocolate
  • 10 egg yolk
  • 10 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Break the chocolate into little pieces and place them into a stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl on a bain-marie, turn the heat to the lowest setting and leave the chocolate to melt slowly.
  2. In the meantime separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Place the yolks into an electric mixer bowl with the sugar and whisk at high speed until it becomes slightly white and fluffy or about double in size. Then pour the mixture in a large mixing bowl and keep aside.
  3. Whisk the egg whites with a tablespoon of sugar until the mixture forms soft peaks, i.e. until the mixture holds its shape for a little bit (or another way to know if it’s ready is to tip the bowl upside down and if the misture stays in!)
  4. Combine the melted chocolate and the yolk mixture and slowly fold them together using a spatula.
  5. Then add about a ¼ of the whites at a time and gently mix them with chocolate mixture.
  6. Portion the chocolate mousse into individual little bowl and leave to set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  7. Serve by itself or with some sable biscuit on the side!

Fruit Mince Pies

mincepie3_lefermier_191214

I shared these fruit mince tarts with an English friend and I could see in their expression, as they bit into the crumbly pie casing, that they were tasting nostalgia as much as spiced fruit mince. These merry morsels are historically British you see, heralding from the Crusade era when the English brought back Middle Eastern recipes mixing meats with fruit and sweeter flavours as well as exotic spices.

Mince Pies have always been associated with Christmas, though as time has gone by the recipe has evolved to leave out the meats but amp up the sweets! For this recipe I left my fruit mince to soak in brandy for 24 hours, but some people have told me tales of their grandmothers soaking it for months!

Fruit mince pie

mincepie2_lefermier_191214

Ingredients:

  •  250g dried figs
  • 300g raisins
  • 150g Slivered almonds
  • 250g dried apricots
  • 300g currants
  • 300g sultanas
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 200g mixed peels
  • 110g macadamia
  • 150g hazelnuts
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 150mL brandy
  • 1/3 cup Verjuice
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 175g unsalted butter

Method:

  1. Peel and coarsely grate the apples, then cover with verjuice to prevent discoloration.
  2. Chop the apricots, raisin, figs, macadamia and hazelnuts.
  3. Combine them in a large mixing bowl with rest of the ingredients except the butter and mix thoroughly.
  4. Cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring from time to time.

mincepie4_lefermier_191214

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 175g unsalted chilled butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g self raising flour
  • 55g icing sugar
  • 1 free range egg
  • 2 Tbspn iced water

Method:

  1. Dice the chilled butter
  2. Blend the flours, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you do not have a food processor use the tip of your fingers to mix the butter and flours together.
  3. Add the egg yolk and iced water and mix until the dough comes together. Form a ball and flatten it a little bit, it will make your life easier when you start rolling, wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour to rest.
  4. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392F).
  5. Take the pastry out of the fridge 15 minutes prior to rolling it.
  6. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured clean surface to the desired thickness (about 2mm).
  7. Stir the fruit mince one last time before filling the pastry.
  8. Line the moulds with pastry (a cupcake tin works perfectly for this) and fill them up with the mince to about 3/4. Press the mince down gently in the pie. Using a star shape pastry cutter, cut a star for each of the pie and place them on top. Press down a little bit and brush them with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown on top (some oven might cook a bit faster or slower).
  10. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before serving with.