The first time I ever worked with black cacao was actually at Milkbar, when I had some downtime to test whatever I wanted. I stumbled upon a small container of black cacao powder, and I was really curious. I opened it, sniffed it a little, and it had this earthy, but fragrant aroma. It was very similar to cacao nibs, but not as bitter or acrid. So I opted to make cookies with it, and they tasted delicious! Since then, it has been an ingredient that I like using here and there for desserts, just to give them a more complex flavor.
With tiramisu, I love doing the Asian styled ones in the aesthetically pleasing wooden boxes. So I wanted to make one that featured the black cacao. Normally, you would just dust a tiramisu with the powder and that would be it, but that’s boring. So I opted to use the black cacao in a jaconde sponge, and I dusted a tempered white chocolate square with the black cacao, just so that the powder can settle into something and not come off tasting dry or unpleasant! I went with a Kona coffee soak, since I love my Kona coffee, and it ties into the more tropical notes of the black cacao as well.
For the jaconde sponge:
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons black cacao powder
A pinch of salt
Whip your eggs with canola oil and half of your sugar to ribbon stage. Whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. Sift your remaining ingredients together. Fold everything together and spread on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cool down and cut out 2 inch squares.
For the Kona coffee soak:
1/2 cup kona coffee
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
Combine ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved into the coffee.
For the cheese foam:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, whisk together your egg yolks with sugar until light yellow and doubled in volume. Whisk in your other ingredients and stir until combined.
For the tempered white chocolate:
1 cup white chocolate chips
black cacao powder
Melt 3/4 of your white chocolate chips in a double boiler. Once half melted, take the chocolate off the heat and stiff in your remaining white chocolate until everything is combined. Spread onto acetate and dust with black cacao powder. Let the chocolate sit in the refrigerator for 30 seconds then cut out 2 inch squares. Continue to refrigerate until it is time to assemble.
Soak your squares of jaconde and place into wooden sake cups, alternating with cake and cheese foam. Top with a square to finish.