Sunset horizons: a plated dessert

This dessert was inspired by the delicious end to a meal I had at Providence Restaurant in. The dessert itself was a chocolate ganache, two ways, with apricots, glazed and poached in vanilla as well as an apricot sorbet and puree. I was addicted to the combination before realizing that these were the flavors of the infamous sachertorte dessert from Vienna. For those of you who do not know what that is, Google it it’s a rich chocolate cake with a gorgeous chocolate glaze and an apricot jam spread between the layers. It is a really technical dessert and only few places are licensed to even sell an authentic, approved version of this cake in Europe. So I’m obviously not going to do that, but I loved that the dessert I had at Providence included those flavors.

For my version, I wanted to do an olive oil-dark chocolate cake with an apricot-brown butter coulis, apricot-olive oil gelato, and a fleur de sel-dark chocolate mousse. For the mousse, I went with Heston Blumenthal’s method of whipping dark chocolate with water, then finishing it with sea salt, for a light, but chocolate-forward mousse, almost like a whipped ganache. For another garnish, I went with a simple poached apricot, in this case, in a simple syrup with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger in there, just to help imbrue more flavor into it.

For the olive oil cake:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg white
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ingredients together. Pour onto a sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool completely and slice into bars.

For the gelato:
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup apricot coulis
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Bring apricot coulis and heavy cream up to heat. Whip egg yolk, olive oil, sugar, and salt together. Temper and whisk over heat for 1-2 minutes. Strain and cool down to room temperature. Churn in an ice cream maker then transfer to the freezer.

For the coulis:
3 tablespoons brown butter
2 apricots
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Simmer ingredients until apricots are completely soft. Puree and strain.

For the mousse:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
fleur de sel
warm water as needed

Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler. Take off heat, season with a pinch of salt, and whisk, slowly adding in a little warm water at a time. Continuously add in warm water while whipping until the chocolate has doubled in volume. Set in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before quenelling.

For the simple syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
orange peel
1 apricot, cut into segments

Bring all ingredients besides the apricot to a simmer. Poach apricots in the warm simple syrup for 4-5 minutes.

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