Forêt de cauchemars: a petit gateau

This dessert literally only happened because I purchased a ton of cherries to make another recipe with, and I had to figure out what to do with them before they went moldy. Which is always a great motivator when you purchase way too much of an ingredient! So I went ahead and pureed my remaining cherries, and made a cherry gelee out of them. I figured I would use this gelee as a core for little mousse balls. But since I only needed a small amount of cherry gelee, I had a surplus of gelee that I had to get rid of. My solution? Dehydrate the heck out of it, and transform the extra gelee into this long, thin cherry veil/tuile things. I figured these long sheets of semi-translucent cherry puree would look gorgeous, but I wanted them to be crunchy, which, luckily enough, they were! Since I had the intentions of doing a cherry mousse sphere situation, I figured, why not default to the one cherry dessert that I grew up on? Aka black forest cake. I love doing takes on the black forest cake, because it was my birthday cake for the first 13 years of my life. So I wanted this to be my prettiest yet!

With the components, we have an Almond Inspiration namelaka sphere surrounding a cherry gelee core, chocolate glaze, an almond-chocolate shortbread, dehydrated cherry veil, chantilly cream, almond butter ganache, and a chocolate micro-cake. Truth be told, this is not a dessert you can make in a day. Unless you have liquid nitrogen. And multiple ovens. But the end result is really satisfying. The almond mousse surrounding the tart cherry core alone is a fun combination, but adding chocolate into the mix makes for a really fun experience! And the tuiles are honestly one of my favorite takeaways from this, just because they are addictively crispy and just a ton of fun to eat! I dubbed this dessert “Forêt de cauchemars”, which is French for “Forest of Nightmares”, just to reflect the really modern French aesthetic I went with a classic black forest. That and because this dessert came from me having nightmares about moldy cherries.

Makes 6 petit gateau:
For the cherry gelee core:
1 1/4 cups pitted and de-stemmed bing cherries
1 tbsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp agar agar

Puree everything together first. Reduce on low heat by half. Pour the gelee base into 1/2-inch half sphere molds and freeze solid. Reserve the remainder of your base for the veil. Once frozen solid, press the flat sides of two of your half spheres together to form a full sphere. Repeat with the rest of the gelee cores until they are all paired up.

For the cherry veil:
Remaining gelee base

Reduce the gelee base even further until it becomes almost the consistency of warm honey. Pour onto a cooking spray-lined silpat sheet and spread as thinly and evenly as possible. Bake at 225 degrees F for 2 hours first. Then gingerly peel the baked veil off the sheet. Cut into smaller pieces and return tot he oven at 225 degrees F again for another 2 hours. While the tuile pieces are still warm, fold them ornately and then allow them to cool down completely on a drying rack. Store in an airtight container or else they will go soggy quickly!

For the almond mousse:
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tspn gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup Valrhona Almond Inspiration
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Mix together the almond milk, cornstarch, gelatin, sugar, and salt first. Place on a stove and whisk on medium heat until combined and thickened enough for the mixture to cling to the sides of your whisk. Take off heat and whisk in the Almond Inspiration first. Once that has been fully melted into the mixture, pass through a sieve to remove any residual lumps. Allow that mixture to cool down before folding in your heavy cream to finish. Transfer into spherical ice cube molds(I used 2-inch molds where you press the lids over the top to seal them). Fill the molds halfway then add in your cores. Then seal the molds with the rest of your mousse base and freeze for at least 2 hours.

For the chocolate glaze:
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 packets gelatin powder + 1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsp almond butter
1/2 cup almond milk
a pinch of salt

Mix together all of your ingredients on low heat until fully combined. Pour through a sieve to remove any lumps. Allow the glaze to cool down to 90 degrees F before using. To glaze, skewer your still-frozen mousse balls and dip into the glaze, tapping the skewer against the sides of the bowl to release any excess glaze. Allow the glaze to firm up before carefully removing the balls using a fork and an offset spatula or a butter knife, placing them either onto a cooling rack or a cold plate. Store the balls back in the freezer until time to assemble for optimal structure.

For the chocolate micro-cake:
1/4 cup dark chocolate, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
CO2 cartridges + foaming siphon

Mix ingredients together to form your batter. Place in a foaming gun and charge with 2 CO cartridges. Line 2 microwave safe paper cups with a thin layer of cooking spray. Poke 3 holes into the bottoms of both cups. With the siphon facing downwards, discharge the batter into 2 microwave safe paper cups, filling each 1/3 the way full with the batter. Microwave your cakes for 1 minute. Turn them upside down and allow the cakes to rest for 1 minute before unmolding and cutting into smaller pieces for garnish.

For the chocolate-almond shortbread:
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tbsp black cacao powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

Mix to form your dough. Roll out between two pieces of parchment. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cut out 2-inch rounds and allow the shortbreads to cool down completely before placing underneath the glazed mousse spheres.

For the chantilly cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tspn confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tspn almond extract
1/4 tspn vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag with a star tip and keep refrigerated.

For the almond butter ganache:
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp milk
a pinch of salt

Melt together on low heat until just combined. Cool down completely before transferring into a piping bag.

To assemble:
Pipe the chantilly cream on top of the glazed mousse spheres. Press a small hole into the center of the cream and pipe in your ganache. Garnish the top with the micro-cake and the tuile to finish.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. ruthwilmore says:

    This is amazing. I will attempt to make it one day but will not have time for about a year. About to get started on some intense volunteering to get rid of the governor of Texas. Wish me luck ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s