Diamond dust: a petit gateau

When I was thinking of different, winter-themed desserts, I knew I had to do something with a reference to diamond dust. What diamond dust is, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is very light snowflakes that form and fall during clear skies. It’s very beautiful, and something I remember seeing on occasion when I lived in Boston during the earlier parts of those cold, cold winters. Freezing my everything and then some off aside, I wanted to capture that light snow, and those blue colors in a dessert, and that’s where this came from. For the dessert itself, we have a petit gateau consisting of a Chinese almond tea mousse, a thin layer of yuzu curd, a butterfly pea-almond tea financier, an almond tea mirror glaze and “snow”, and a vegan yuzu ice cream.

Chinese almond tea is a personal favorite ingredient of mine, having first been introduced to it by my friend Savannah during my senior year of college. She brought me a large bag of almond tea powder straight from Shanghai as a housewarming gift after I moved into my new apartment during the winter, and I just remember it having this warming, comforting feeling to it. Besides it giving you the warm fuzzies, taste-wise, it’s similar to the almond jello you would get in Chinese restaurants, but nuttier and less artificial-tasting. For the other flavors, I opted for yuzu because it is a winter citrus, and butterfly pea tea was a must too, just to color my dessert blue naturally with. I wanted to do a vegan yuzu ice cream, just because I felt like the milk could potentially curdle from the yuzu juice that I added into the base. For the snow, I made that with tapioca maltodextrin and coconut oil, along with the almond tea powder.

Makes 6 portions:
For the yuzu ice cream:
1/4 cup pureed silken tofu
zest from 1 yuzu
1/4 cup yuzu juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Reduce yuzu zest, sugar, and juice until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the coconut oil first, then puree together with the tofu until the mixture is completely smooth. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn until thickened, about 15-20 minutes, then finish setting in the freezer for about 2-3 hours.

For the yuzu curd:
1/4 cup yuzu juice
1 teaspoon yuzu zest
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons agar agar

Reduce the zest, juice, and salt together. Whisk sugar, egg yolk, and agar together and temper with the juice. Whisk on medium heat until the mixture is thickened and finish with the coconut oil. Pour into a shallow bowl and refrigerate until set firmly. Cut out 6  1 to 2-inch circles out of the curd.

For the financier:
2 egg whites
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cups almond flour, sifted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup almond tea powder
2 tablespoons butterfly pea tea powder
a pinch of salt

Whip egg whites with sugar. Mix powders into your coconut oil. Combine all of your ingredients and pour onto a lined sheet tray. Spread as thinly as possible and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool completely and cut out 6 2-inch circles.

For the almond tea bavarois:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon cold water
1/3 cup almond tea powder
2/3 cups heavy cream, whipped stiff
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Melt almond tea, bloomed gelatin, and salt into the warm water and bring to a simmer. Whip sugar and egg yolks together and temper the almond tea mixture into that. Whisk on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until thickened and pass through a sieve. Cool down and fold in the whipped cream. Fill 6 petit gateau molds halfway with this mixture, and press in the circles of yuzu curd, then fill up with the rest of the bavarois mixture. Press in your circles of financier to remove any air, scraping off the excess from the edges. Freeze for at least 3 hours to guarantee that the mixture is frozen solid.

For the mirror glaze:
1/3 cup almond milk tea
1 packet gelatin powder + 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup white chocolate
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butterfly pea powder

Melt gelatin and salt into the milk tea first and bring to a simmer. Pour over your chocolate and allow that to sit for 2 minutes before pureeing with an immersion blender, making sure the tip of the blender is fully submerged(if it is not, then you will get air bubbles in the glaze). Divide the glaze in half and dye half of it with the butterfly pea powder. Pour the two mixtures together right before glazing your still-frozen petit gateaus with. Once you glazed the cakes, allow them to sit for 2-3 minutes before moving so that the glaze can properly set around the cakes.

For the almond tea snow:
1/4 cup tapioca maltodextrin
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons almond tea powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Blend together into a fine powder.

To plate:
Place the petit gateau down first. Garnish with a dusting of the snow and then a quenelle or rocher of the ice cream.


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