“Wishing star”: a plated dessert

I really only came up with this dessert because I wanted to test my new chocolate  sphere molds. So I knew chocolate was going to be a central part of the dessert, but then I thought about what I could pair that with. Luckily, there was a large bin of pistachios in front of me, so I figured pistachio would work, and that I could go Middle Eastern. With that, I thought about making a chocolate-knafeh-type of dessert, using the elements and flavors of knafeh, with chocolate. So the base is a chocolate-ricotta “cheesecake”, an on top of that, a na’ama(semolina dough)-pistachio crumble, a rose-halva crumble, rose meringue sticks, and a tempered chocolate sphere. I dubbed the dessert “Wishing star” since it resembles a star shooting through space.

For the rose-halva ice cream:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon rose water

Whisk everything but the rose water together in a pot on low heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Take off heat and whisk in the rose water. Strain and chill down to room temperature. Churn in the ice cream maker for 20 minutes then freeze the ice cream for another hour.

For the chocolate-ricotta “cheesecake”:
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strain the excess moisture out of the ricotta. Melt the chocolate and whip together with everything else into a smooth, creamy consistency. Spread onto the bottom of a shallow bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Reserve some for filling the sphere with.

For the na’ama-pistachio crumble:
1/4 cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup crushed pistachios

Combine everything but the pistachios and spread the dough in small pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Crush into smaller pieces and toss in the pistachios. Cool down the crumble completely.

For the chocolate sphere:
1/2 cup dark chocolate
A pinch of salt
Gold leaf

Melt 3/4s of the dark chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler with the salt. Take off heat once the chocolate reaches 100 degrees F, and fold in the remaining chocolate. Mix together until the temperature goes down to about 90 degrees F. Pour the chocolate into half sphere molds, scraping the excess by tipping the mold upside down once you fill them completely, and scraping with an offset spatula. For the top halves of the spheres, drizzle in the chocolate into the sphere molds using a piping bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then remove the chocolate. Place some of the cheesecake mousse into the bottom of the whole half sphere. Place some crumble on top of that and place on the piped top half. Keep these spheres in the freezer.

For the rose meringue sticks:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon rose water

Whip everything to stiff peaks. Pipe on a parchment-lined sheet tray into thin sticks. Bake at 285 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature in a dry area before storing in an airtight container.

To assemble:
Place your crumb over the cheesecake. Top with the sphere, meringue sticks, and a quenelle of the ice cream to finish.

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