Starry Wish: black sesame-coconut-tangerine petit gateaus

I was thinking of a way to utilize the many tangerines we had at home (fun fact, when you are family friends with citrus farmers in Southern California, you have a fuck-ton of citrus that you get to cook with). From that, I thought, why not go with an Asian inspired dessert? And not because I’m Asian, but because I have been itching to pair tangerine with black sesame and coconut. Which is literally what this dessert wound up being. The petit gateau itself is extremely simple, with three components: a black sesame sable cookie, salted coconut mousse, and tangerine gelee in two forms: a sphere center, and a veil. The inspiration was a play on a mooncake, which sometimes has this yolky center. The rest of the dessert would be more of a visual play on words, since the white mousse would actually resemble the moon, and I made the sable cookies little stars, and the tangerine gelee veil on top would look like more stars or suns!

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For the black sesame sable:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup black sesame powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter

Combine ingredients into a dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll out on a lined and floured baking sheet, to about 1/16th an inch thickness, and cut out 6 3-inch circles. Bake those at 325 degrees F for 17 minutes. For the remaining dough, roll out again on another floured baking surface, and cut out little stars. Bake those at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes.

For the tangerine gelee centers:
1 cup tangerine juice
1/4 cup tangerine zest
1 1/2 tablespoons agar agar
a pinch of salt

Reduce ingredients together until they form a thick syrup. Pour into 1 inch silicone half-dome molds, and freeze solid.

For the coconut mousse:
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup heavy cream; whipped stiff
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk coconut milk, sugar, and cornstarch together off heat. Melt in the gelatin powder with the coconut milk mixture on medium heat and whisk all together until thickened substantially. Season with salt and vanilla then pass through a strainer to remove lumps. Allow the mixture to cool down. Fold in the cream, then distribute into 3 inch silicone half sphere molds. Take the gelee centers, and press two of them together, flat side facing each other. Place inside of each coconut mousse half sphere and use an offset spatula to remove any excess mousse. Freeze solid. Place the large sable rounds on top, and unmold. Slice off any excess sable so that the entire petit gateau is perfectly uniform.

For the tangerine veil:
1 cup tangerine juice
1/4 cup tangerine zest
1 tablespoon agar agar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Reduce ingredients by half. Strain, then pour onto a lightly oiled flat surface, like a plate, and chill down until set. Cut out circles from the veil and transfer them onto the petit gateau using an offset spatula. Garnish the petit gateau with the star shaped sable.

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