Jade Fairy: a petit gateau

So this dessert went through several phases because I was not 100% sure where I wanted to go in terms of the flavor profiles. I knew it had to be green, and that I wanted to feature pistachio and chrysanthemum tea. For those unfamiliar with it, chrysanthemum tea is a popular Chinese/Taiwanese drink made from the chrysanthemum flower. It is really sweet, usually, and has floral notes to it. Because of how delicate and mild it was, I knew with something saltier and crunchy like a pistachio, the salty notes would pair well with the sweet. I also juggled with the idea to use pandan as well. Pandan has this refreshing profile to it that I felt would play off of the pistachio and chrysanthemum well. I knew that this would be an unusual flavor profile, but it all came together nicely, since none of the flavors are particularly strong or overpowering.

For the components, we have a pistachio namelaka(rich chocolate ganache that is whipped) as a core to a chrystanthemum mousse, a pandan glaze, pandan-pistachio shortbread, pistachio crunch, chrysanthemum and pandan kohakutou(Japanese rock candy), and pandan tuiles in the shape of a feather. I love how the green color of the pandan comes through nicely, while the pistachio being a vibrant green as well compliments that color. I really wanted this petit gateau to have that “woodland fairy” aesthetic to it, while the name references Jade, being a valuable stone in China, and fairies, which exist more in European culture, since I am using European techniques and pistachios being a more Western ingredient.

For the kohakutou:
8oz chrysanthemum tea
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pandan powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons agar agar
2 drops pandan extract

Reduce the tea, sugar, agar, pandan powder, and salt until it reduced to about 1/4 the liquid. The mixture should have an almost jam-like consistency. Take off heat and stir in the pandan extract. Pour into a silicone bar mold and freeze for 5 minutes. Unmold and cut the gelees into smaller cubes. Dehydrate at 150 degrees F for 1 hour, then store in an airtight container for at least 2 days before attempting to use. The final product should be crystalized in sugar on the exterior.

For the pistachio namelaka:
4oz unshelled roasted and salted pistachios
1/4 cup milk
4oz white chocolate
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Puree all of the ingredients together to form a smooth, creamy mixture. Pour into silicone 1-inch half sphere molds. Freeze solid, at least 2 hours, before using in the mousse.

For the chrysanthemum mousse:
8oz chrysanthemum tea
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder
1 tablespoon cold water
a pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Reduce the tea to just 2oz of liquid. In a bowl, mix the gelatin and cold water. Place into the tea with salt and heat up until fully dissolved. Allow the tea mixture to cool down to room temperature before folding in the cream. Pipe into three petit gateau silicone molds and press into the center of those half spheres of the namelaka. Freeze solid, at least for 3 hours, before attempting to unmold and glaze them.

For the pistachio shortbread:
4oz ground pistachios(made from unshelled salted and roasted pistachios, crushed into a powder)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and kept cold
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon pandan powder
2 drops pandan extract

Mix the ground pistachios, flour, and butter together into a crumbly, sandy mixture. Mix the cold water with the other ingredients and pour into the flour, stirring together to form a dough. Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 minutes. Roll out to 1/8th inch thickness between two silpats. Bake the dough at 375 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cut out 2 1/2-inch circles from the baked dough and reserve the remaining baked off dough pieces for the crunch.

For the pandan glaze:
1 packet gelatin powder
2 tablespoons cold water
4oz chrysanthemum tea
1 tablespoon milk powder
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pandan powder
1 teaspoon pandan extract

Mix the gelatin with cold water. Place the gelatin into a pot with the tea and milk powder and bring to a simmer. Once the gelatin is melted, take off heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Pass through a sieve. Mix about 1/3 of the glaze with the pandan powder and extract. Once the glazes have cooled down to 90 degrees F and pour the glazes together. Pour the glazes over the frozen mousses, then transfer the mousses onto the shortbread.

For the pistachio crunch:
reserved pistachio shortbread
unshelled salted and roasted pistachios, measured out to the same amount as the shortbread

Crush the pistachios into a course consistency. Do the same with the reserved shortbread. Mix together to finish. Store in an airtight container.

For the pandan
1 egg white
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pandan powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 drop pandan extract
a pinch of salt

Mix into a batter. Spread the batter(I used Pavoni feather molds) and bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes. Allow the tuiles to cool before storing into an airtight container.

To plate:
Place a small amount of the crunch onto the glazed mousse. Garnish with the kohakutou and tuile to finish.

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