dreaming of springtime: an icebox cake

Icebox cakes are fun to make, mostly because they’re just giant cookies with fun fillings sandwiched between each layer. In this particular rendition, I wanted to use ruby chocolate, since I have a whole bag of it and I never really use it. I wanted the dessert to be pink, since Pinktober is coming up, and I knew that with ruby chocolate and pitaya powder, that could easily be accomplished. When it came to the other flavors, admittedly, I was stumped for a second. I was planning to do a rose, pistachio, and ruby chocolate dessert, but I couldn’t find my rose jam for the life of me, and I was too lazy to shell enough pistachios to make a pistachio-flavored anything really. So I rummaged around my fridge and found pickled sakura(cherry blossoms). So I figured, I could use those. And I had matcha on hand, so that’s when the flavors of my dessert became ruby chocolate, matcha, and pickled sakura.

For the people who have never cooked with these flowers before, they are salt-brined. So the easiest way to handle them, in my eyes anyways, is to replace salt with them. And that honestly worked wonders. Not only was every component that I used them on seasoned through the salinity of the flowers, but they also had the background perfume of the cherry blossom running through them. And it helps, just because ruby chocolate, while tart, still has this richness to it that when contrasted with the blossoms, results in a really fragrant, balanced end result. So for my components, we have sakura sable layers with pitaya-dyed ruby chocolate-sakura mousse, matcha-soy gelee, and matcha white chocolate vines. I also garnished the dessert with sakura sable flowers, just to pay an homage to the flower being used and to offer that same flavor of the cake, but in another texture and format.

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For the sakura sable:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon minced preserved sakura blossom
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blitz together ingredients, adding a little water to bring it together. Refrigerate it until firm, about 15 minutes, then roll out and punch 4 6-inch disks, each about 1/8th an inch thick. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 10 minutes and allow to cool.

With spare dough, roll out on a sheet tray and cut out the sakura blossom shapes using a cookie cutter. Bake those at 325 degrees F for 8 minutes.

For the ruby chocolate mousse:
1 cup ruby chocolate
1/4 cup milk
1 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons pitaya powder
1 teaspoon minced preserved sakura blossom

Heat up milk with gelatin and pitaya. Pour in the chocolate and stir, off heat, until properly combined. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Cool down the ruby chocolate mixture before folding in the heavy cream. Pipe into silicone half dome molds (I used 2 trays of the 1/2 inch and 1 sheet of the 1 inch) and freeze, reserving your spare mousse mixture for the assembly.

For the gelee:
1/4 cup agar
2 tablespoons ceremonial matcha powder
1/3 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring ingredients to a simmer. Pour onto a deep bowl and chill down until set. Cut into smaller cubes.

For the vines:
1/4 cup white chocolate
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon matcha powder

On a double boiler, combine ingredients. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into ice water to form vines.

For assembly:
Start by taking 1/4 of your spare ruby mousse mixture and spreading it evenly on the sable disks. Place 1/2 inch half spheres of the mousse on the layer, scatter on the matcha gelee, then repeat until you have the top layer, covered in the last 1/4 of the spare mousse mixture. For the top layer, garnish with your 1 inch spheres and then your gelee, cookies, and vines to finish.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset


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