Moonlight dust: a mirror glaze cheesecake

The name of this dessert came about from a song by harmonicblend of the same name. I adore harmonicblend and their aesthetic and fantasy-driven soundtracks, and Moonlight dust was no exception. For the dessert itself, obviously, I needed to incorporate the moon into it somehow. So I went ahead and went with the most iconic shape, being a crescent, using white chocolate as my medium. The idea with the moon motif in the dessert was to almost represent a descent into insanity. The term “lunatic” is a reference to somebody who goes crazy in the face of the moon, and I sort of wanted to capture that with this dessert, just to show a less peppy and optimistic side to the moon. Going with colors of purple and using blood orange, I felt really brought out that psychedelic concept, and the color could be naturally achieved using blueberry, an ingredient that pairs perfectly with citrus, so flavor and presentation wise, it is something that works together well!


Tying into the darker themes of the cake, I also wanted to incorporate almost like a Tim Burton-inspired aesthetic to the cake, because his art is whimsical and really out-there, something that this entremet would greatly benefit from. For my layers, we have blood orange-mascarpone cheesecake mousse, blueberry chiffon cake, blueberry center, a naturally colored mirror glaze(using blueberry and orange), white chocolate crescent, activated charcoal-orange sable, a modeling chocolate tree, and blue chocolate curly Q’s. The colors, textures, and appearance, I was really hoping that it just looked really whimsical, but at the same time, eerie.


For the chiffon cake:
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons blueberry puree
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt

Whip together the canola oil, egg yolk, and half the sugar. Whip the rest of the sugar into egg whites and the blueberry puree. Fold together with the sifted flour and salt. Pour onto a lined sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cut out one 2 inch circle and one 5 inch circle of the cakes.

For the blueberry center:
1 cup blueberry puree
3 tablespoons agar agar
a pinch of salt

Simmer together. Pour some into one hole in a 1 inch silicone half dome mold and the rest into a 5 inch ring mold. Freeze until set.

For the cheesecake mousse:
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz mascarpone cheese
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons gelatin powder
Juice and zest from 2 blood oranges
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Bloom gelatin powder in some of the orange juice first. Simmer with the rest of the orange juice and salt. Temper with egg yolks and sugar. Whip mascarpone and cream stiff with a paddle attachment until soft. Fold everything together and season with vanilla. Pour some of the mixture into a petit gateau mold, then press in the half dome of gelee into the center and a 2 inch circle of the cake. Pour half of the rest into a lined 6 inch ring mold. Place in the 5 inch blueberry circle, then pour over the rest, and press in the 5 inch ring of chiffon cake. Freeze both mixtures solid.

For the purple mirror glaze:
1/4 cup white chocolate
1 1/4 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup blueberry puree
2 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt

Melt the gelatin into puree and water. Season with salt and stir in the white chocolate. Melt and then strain. Keep warm.

For the orange mirror glaze:
1/2 cup white chocolate
2 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder + 2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup blood orange juice
a pinch of salt

Bloom gelatin. Melt into the orange juice. Stir in the white chocolate and season with salt. Strain and keep warm.

To glaze:
While your cakes are still frozen solid, pour your glazes together, then pour over the 6 inch cake with the petit gateau sitting on top of it. 

For the shortbread:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
zest from 1  blood orange
1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Blitz together ingredients into a dough. Spread out and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Blitz into a fine powder.

For modeling chocolate:
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon corn syrup
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder

Melt together ingredients over a double boiler. Pour onto a nonstick surface and mold into one cone shaped cylinder, six thin branches, and six thinner roots. Allow the branches to set on the back of a silicone half dome mold to allow them to form curves. Press the branches into the top of the cylinder, using a ring mold to prop up the branches. Freeze for at least 2 hours, or until the tree is firm.

For the other garnishes:
White chocolate
Edible luster dust (gold and silver or purple)
Butterfly pea powder

Temper your white chocolate over a double boiler. Stir in gold luster dust and salt then pour onto an acetate sheet. Spread out and allow to set at room temperature on a colder surface for 2 minutes. Then cut out your crescent moon shape, then transfer to the freezer to set fully.

For the curly Q’s, temper white chocolate again, but this time, add in the purple or silver dust, and the butterfly pea powder. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe out the Q’s on acetate. Allow to set.

To assemble:
Lay your roots along the cake first. Gently press your set tree into the center, and then garnish with your sable crumble. Finish with the curly Q’s and your white chocolate crescent as well.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

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