Amber Sky: a mirror glaze cake

So this dessert came about because my friend Ann gave me a TON of really, really ripe persimmons. I haven’t made a proper mirror glaze cake for a while, so I really wanted to do another one and capture the essence of fall. Persimmons, for those of you who have never had one before, kind of have the starchiness of an unripe apple or pear, when they are not ripe themselves. However, when they are ripe, it’s very similar to quince paste or a super ripe peach in texture, albeit slightly wetter. I also was inspired, from a presentation standpoint, by my friend David, who made these really cool edible autumn leaves out of beet and sweet potato chips. While I did not want to do that for mine, I did borrow the inspiration of autumn leaves in general, as well as the usage of beetroot to dye my “leaves” red. Well, that and other dyes I used included turmeric to tie in with the golden milk spice I used for my mirror glaze, and sea buckthorn, since I have an abundance of the sea buckthorn oil, and it does work well for dying things orange. For the naming of the dessert, it was inspired by a song from Kobato of the same name.

For this cake, I knew I needed spice, brown butter, and of course, those super ripe persimmons. For the spices, I wanted to use golden milk, and in my mirror glaze, as a way to temper down the sweetness of the white chocolate. I wanted to use the persimmons in two ways, one in a mousse and another in a gelee-type of disk/insert. I went with an agar-based pate de fruit, just to be fancy. Normally, pate de fruit is set with pectin, but since persimmon are so abundant with it, I opted for agar as my setting agent instead. For the cake itself, I opted for a kinako(Japanese toasted soy flour)-brown butter cake, since those flavors will pair well with basically anything fall-related. I wanted to also make a really pretty garnish, and originally, I was going to opt for phyllo dough to effect leaves. However, I decided to go with warqa or brick pastry instead, half because I have never made it before and wanted to try and half because it would be easier to naturally dye a batter as opposed to a dough. Warqa is a kind of pastry, similar to a crepe, made by brushing batter on a nonstick surface placed over a double boiler. It is super thin and when baked, crunchy, so it’s perfect to accentuate the sound, color, and texture of a leaf in general.


Makes 1 mirror glaze cake, about 6-8 servings:
For the brown butter-kinako chiffon cake:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup kinako powder
1 egg yolk
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons brown butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Whip egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and the brown butter until light and airy. Do the same with the egg whites, remaining sugar, and salt. Sift the flour, kink, and baking powder together. Fold the three together and pour a lined small sheet tray, about 1/4 sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes. Cool completely before cutting out a 6 inch ring.

For persimmon puree:
about 8 really, really ripe persimmons, leaves and seeds removed

Puree the persimmon in a blender with a pinch of salt, adding just the tiniest bit of water to thin it out. Pass through a sieve and heat up just slightly to cook off any excess water.

For the persimmon pate de fruit:
1/4 cup persimmon puree
2 tablespoons agar agar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Simmer together ingredients until they’re reduce by about half. Pour into a lined 5 inch ring mold and freeze until set firm.

For the persimmon-brown butter bavarois:
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons brown butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup persimmon puree
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff
a pinch of salt

Melt gelatin into persimmon puree with salt. Temper with egg yolks and sugar. Sieve. Allow the persimmon-egg mixture to cool to room temperature. Fold in the whipped cream. Line a 6 inch ring mold with acetate, and place the cake in first. Pour about 1/3 of your bavarois mixture in. Then place in your pate de fruit disk, then pour in the rest. Freeze solid, overnight or about 4 hours, before unmolding. When it comes time to glazing, make sure that the cake is still frozen solid, just to guarantee a neat glaze.

For the golden milk mirror glaze:
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of ginger
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of black pepper
2 packets gelatin powder + 1/4 cup water

Combine everything but the white chocolate chips first and bring to a scald. Pour over your white chocolate chips and allow that to sit for 1-2 minutes before mixing with a rubber spatula. Pour through a sieve to remove any lumps. Make sure that the glaze is around 90-100 degrees F when you are pouring it over the still frozen cake, just to make sure that it will not melt the bavarois.

For the brick pastry leaves:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon semolina flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup warm water
a pinch of salt
beetroot powder
turmeric powder
sea buckthorn oil

Puree everything but the last three ingredients together to form your batter. Divide into three batches, and dye them with their respective colorings, using 1/4 teaspoon increments, until they reach the desired colors. Please note that the colors will be very vibrant post cooking the batter. To cook the batter, set up a double boiler using a pot of water and a nonstick pan on top. Using a pastry brush, start by brushing some of the batter in a very light layer onto the pan and allow that to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until set. Peel off the batter and place on a sheet tray in the oven, preheated to 250 degrees F, to keep warm and to crisp up. Repeat this until you have used up all of your batter. Allow the pastry leaves to cool down to room temperature before using to garnish.


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