24-26th January 2011 marked the biannual return of the two most watched culinary competitions in the world. The Pastry World Cup and the Bocuse D'Or. Both premier competitions take place Sirha Hospitality show in Lyon, France.
Two years ago I was there marvelling at the event and the enthusiasum of the spectators,covering the Pastry World Cup on behalf of the California Almond Board. Then later writing a round-up article about both competitions for several magazines including Yes Chef.
Back then I was given a copy of a rather delicious recipe which was the official Pastry World Cup dessert. The original gateau dessert was 6 different layers and definately not achievable at home. After a negative response to the complexity of the original recipe, a simplified replacement was put together, photographed and given out as a press release.
Due to my hectic schedule, there never seemed a good time to work into my blog because I wanted to try the recipe myself to make sure it worked and that the recipe was achievable at home if you were a decent cook.
* I did change the recipe quite a lot after trying the recipe and method I was given. In the making of the ganache, I added liquid glucose and a small amount of alcohol (Amaretto) to give it a softer, smoother texture. I also added a small amount of butter and egg yolks to enrich the sponge base. I also prefer to make white chocolate mousse without gelatin, because it can give the mousse a rubbery texture if you don't get the quantities exactly right.
Now, finally I have found a suitable cake pan that makes this professional looking dessert achievable...so a big thanks the good people at Alan Silverwood, I can highly recommend this brownie pan.
Ingredients (10 portions)
570 ml (1pint) double cream
454 g dark (1 lb) (75% cocoa solids )chocolate
5Tbsp liquid glucose
3 Tbsp of Amaretto
100g skin on finely chopped almonds
White Chocolate Mousse
300g (10 1/4 oz) white chocolate
2 egg whites
2 tbsp castor sugar
180ml(61/4oz double cream
1/2 vanilla pod
Chocolate Sponge Base
50 g (2oz) flour
25g (1oz) melted butter
1/2 level teaspoon baking powder
25 g (1oz) ground almonds
25 g (1oz) cocoa powder
25 g (1oz) dried apricots
1 large apricot
Break the dark chocolate into small pieces into a heatproof bowl and sit the bowl ontop of a saucepan of simmering water ,then turn off the heat. When the chocolate has melted and become quite smooth then stir in the Amaretto and the finely chopped almonds well. Remove from theat and allow the chocolate mixture to begin to cool.
In a separate bowl whisk the 570ml of double cream until slightly thicken. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 5-7 minutes then fold the mixture gradually into the cream. Once the cream is all incorporated, cling film the bowl and place in a cool spot but do not refrigerate yet.
Chocolate sponge base
Preheat the oven to 175 C (fan assisted oven /gas mark 3 and line the base and sides of the
Alan Silverwood 10 x 8" brownie tray with baking paper.
Using an electric whisk beat the two eggs and 75g sugar until the mixture is pale. Mix the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and cocoa powder together, when gently fold the dry ingedients into the eggs. Finally fold the melted butter in then pour the cake mix into the pan, smoothing with a wet palete knife to get a level surface. Bake on the lower shelf of a for 5-8 minutes.
Allow the sponge to cool on a cooling rack (still in the brownie pan), then carefully slide the base out (this is to make sure you can do the same when the cake is complete. Now slide it back in... leaving the baking parchment in place.
When the sponge is cool cover the sponge with the chocolate ganache and smooth if necessary with a wet palette knife. Place the gateau in the fridge.
White Chocolate mousse
Scrap the seeds from the vanilla pod into a heatproof bowl and add the white chocolate in small pieces.
Gently melt the chocolate over a saucepan of hot water on a very low heat (not simmering because white chocolate can split if it is heated to fast or gets to hot). Remove the chocolate from the heat as soon as it has fully melted.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they are quite stiff, then add the sugar and whisk further until well incorporated. In a third large bowl whisk the double cream into peaks. Fold the white chocolate into the cream and then the stiff egg whites. Refrigerate the mousse for 3 hours to allow to set.
Caramel sheet and sauce
Meanwhile finely dice the dried apricots and finely chop 30 g of almonds.
To prepare the caramel sheet, caramelise 150 g of sugar in a pan until a golden yellow colour and pour onto a hot baking tray lined with baking paper.
Smooth over with a spoon and sprinkle the chopped almonds and apricots over it.
Caramelise 75 g of sugar until golden brown and leave to cool for a short while (until semi fluid). Place 10 fairly large almonds on toothpicks and dip into the caramel mixture and carefully place them onto a sheet of parchment.
To prepare the caramel sauce pour 2-3 tablespoons of water into the caramel and reduce. Roughly chop 30 g of almonds and add to the caramel sauce. Leave the almonds to cool.
Wash the apricot, remove the stone and cut into 10 segments.
Remove the gateau from the brownie tray and with a hot knife cut into 10 slices rectangles (approximately the same size of your caramel sheet rectangles) and please remember the portions don't need to be large because this is so chocolate intense . Place a caramel sheet on each slice (as shown in the finished photo).
Upon that place an apricot segment, 1 small dollop of white chocolate mousse and a toffee almond.
*To get a nice professssional look to the white chocolate mousse this is what you do. Warm a dessert spoon for a second or two in hot water, then draw it across the set mousse in one continuous motion (this is called a quenelle).
Preparation time approx. 1 1/2 hours. 3 1/2 hours waiting time.
Each slice contains approx. 3,690 KJ/880 kcal. Energy 13 g/fat 60 g/carbohydrates 75 g