I feel like it’s been forever since I did anything with nama chocolate. As a refresher for what that even is, nama chocolate, or “fresh chocolate” as directly translated from Japanese, is a set ganache that is dusted with cocoa powder or matcha, and served as truffles, typically on Valentine’s Day. It was made very popular by Royce Chocolate, and my own personal first experience with having it was in college when my friend brought some from her trip to New York. It was creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, and delicious, and I have been incorporating it into desserts here and there since! For this dessert, we are doing a coffee infused nama chocolate, using kahlua or coffee liquor. You can also use Irish cream instead if you want, because that stuff is delicious too! We are taking the nama chocolate then whipping it to a pipe-able state, then piping it into layers of homemade puff pastry to form our mille feuille(French pastry that is made of layers of puff pastry and cream). To finish our mille feuille, a dusting of cocoa powder to echo the inspiration, and some edible pearls, just to keep this Valentine’s Day friendly! Overall, I wanted this to resemble a box of chocolates, only 100% edible and just as portable!
For the puff pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and kept cold
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Toss the butter in the flour. In a cup, stir the remaining ingredients together. Pour the liquid and salt into the floured butter and mix until it is just combined(you want the butter to still be large, frozen chunks). Roll out on a floured surface into a triangle and fold into thirds, brochure style. From there, Freeze the dough for 20 minutes. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, making sure that the side with the seam is on the counter, and the seam is facing your right. Repeat the rolling, folding, chilling, and rotating steps another 4 to 5 times(depending on your patience). Roll out the dough to about 2 feet by 1 foot, and then cut the sheet of dough in half. You’ll only need half of the puff pastry for this recipe, but save the rest to do things like palmier cookies, chicken pot pie, or even egg tarts! Cut out the dough into heart shapes(about 3 inches in diameter), and bake between two parchment or silicone baking mats for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. If the dough is still too blonde, bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. Allow the pastry to full cool before using.
For the nama chocolate:
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cups heavy cream, in two parts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Kahlua
a pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate with two parts of the heavy cream, butter, Kahlua, and salt over a double boiler until completely melted together. Pour into a shallow nonstick surface and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Place the chilled down chocolate into a stand mixer and whip with the remaining cream until light in color and very soft and creamy in texture. Transfer into a piping bag and pipe the chocolate onto the puff pastry. Dust with cocoa powder and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving. Place on the pearls right before serving so that the moisture won’t melt off their sheen.