Dijonnaise de Chocolat

So this is probably the most random thing to admit to, but I grew up on shoujou anime(aka CardCaptor Sakura, a pinch of Sailor Moon, and Mirumo De Pon to name the main ones I watched), and there was an anime I was exposed to called “Yumeiro Patissiere”, which was a baking anime. I had never really been into baking prior to watching that anime, but it opened my eyes to things like tempering chocolate and making purin used eggs and milk. Needless to say, it was an anime that helped expose me to a ton a pastry techniques. Now there was one dessert in particular that had always caught my eye and that was the Dijonnaise de Chocolat. It was a dessert prepared by the show’s big bad, some French lady named Francois, and it was supposed to be this intense, intimidating dessert that was posed a major obstacle to the main girl with the stereotypically squeaky and high-pitched shoujo manga protagonist voice, Ichigo(not going to lie here, I had to watch the anime on mute because her voice did not agree with my ears, nor would it a dog’s ears). Unfortunately, there is very little source material to go off of here, since all we really see is Francois making it, a couple comments on about 1/3 of the actual components/flavors, and that was really it. But I figured I would take a stab at it, since compared to 12 years ago when that anime was airing and my pastry skillset was limited to just vegan cupcakes, I would say my pastry knowledge and abilities have expanded to the point of being able to handle that kind of recipe. Or at least that is the hope. I had to take a handful of creative liberties here, since again, a lot of things were not thoroughly explained in terms of what this recipe actually was. From what the anime mentioned, there were spices in the dessert, a peppered creme brulee layer, a crispy chocolate pain(French word for bread) layer, cassis or black currant was used in the dessert, and the name has chocolate in it, so it is safe to assume chocolate is used in the recipe as well. When I was rewatching the anime to see how Francois was assembling the whole thing. I saw her insert three disks into what appears to be a black currant-flavored something. One disk was a dark chocolate-looking thing, another was more yellow, and the third was almost a peach color.

From the critiques, I could figure out that the dark chocolate thing was the crispy chocolate pain and the yellow was the creme brulee. Chocolate pain, when you Google it, usually refers to pain au chocolat, which is a chocolate-stuffed croissant. However, based on the limited footage I could find on her preparing the dessert, it looks like she made a chocolate bread loaf that had dried fruits and nuts that were soaked in a honey or liquor of some kind. So I went with that route, making a chocolate bread with spices, fruits, nuts, and booze. Kind of like a rum baba, but chocolate flavored. For the creme brulee, I have looked up creme brulees in entremet to see if you blowtorch the brulee before inserting it into the mousses, but it looks like you just make the custard and use that as the insert, so that’s what I did. For the pink peach-colored disk, that is where I had to take a creative liberty. They mentioned that the dessert had cassis or black currant in it, so I figured, why not make a black currant sponge of some kind? Since the pink disk was the base of the dessert, I knew that it could not be a mousse, since that would just smear and get ruined, so it had to be something baked. Then I thought, why not make it a dacquoise? A dacquoise is a meringue and almond-based spongecake, and in this case, I made an Italian meringue using black currant juice, and that was my pink disk. With the black currant flavored thing that she was inserting the disks into, I assumed it was a black currant ganache or mousse, but I went with ganache based on how intensely dark the color was. I topped the dessert with a dark chocolate glaze and a spiced chocolate cream to finish. Truthfully, this dessert was challenging, just because getting the ratios down on everything had hard. I found myself needing to shave down layers(namely the creme brulee), just to get them to fit in the half-sphere molds, and that was extremely infuriating. For the below recipe, I already made sure to scale down the quantities and adjust the cooking times, just so that you won’t have the safe struggles that I did.

For the spiced chocolate bread:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup Ovaltine drink
3 eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 packet yeast
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp rum
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp aniseed
1/4 cup dried raisins
2 tbsp almonds
2 tbsp pistachios
2 tbsp hazelnuts

In a pot, heat up 1/4 of the flour with 1/4 cup of Ovaltine drink. Stir until a thick paste forms. Allow the paste to cool down before mixing into that the butter, remaining eggs, cocoa powder, yeast, water, sugar, and remaining flour. Knead that all together to form a dough, and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to the refrigerator and let the dough rest another hour.

In a pot, heat up the honey with rum and spices. Pour that over the dried fruits and nuts and let that sit for 30 minutes.

Portion the dough into 4 pieces. Fold in the nuts and fruits into each piece of dough. Rest each piece of dough in a lined loaf pan for another 30 minutes at room temperature. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Allow the loaves to fully cool before slicing 2-inch disks for the final petit gateau.

For the spiced Creme brûlée:
2/3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
A pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot, melt down the sugar down into milk, cream, and spices sans vanilla. Mix the warmed milk mixture into the eggs, then add to that the vanilla. Strain out solids or chunks and pour into a lined 9-inch round baking tray. Place onto a larger sheet tray and place into a 325 degree F oven. Add hot water into the larger tray, just enough to submerge the bottom of the cake round in. Bake at 20 degrees F. The center should no longer wobble. Refrigerate for 1 hour before attempting to cut out 2.5-inch rounds rounds from it. Transfer rounds to the freezer.

For the black currant dacquoise:
2 egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup black currant concentrate
1/2 cups almond flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
A pinch of salt

Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Heat up sugar and concentrate into a thick syrup and whip into the egg whites. Fold in the other ingredients. Pour and spread into an even layer in a 9-inch cake round and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes then at 325 degrees F for another 15 minutes. Allow the dacquoise to cool down before cutting out 3-inch rounds of it.

For the black currant ganache:
1/3 cup black currant concentrate
2 tsp gelatin powder
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
a pinch of salt

Mix the concentrate with gelatin. Place into a pot with the other ingredients and bring everything to a simmer until everything is melted together. Pour the ganache mixture into a bowl, and cool down for 20 minutes first. Then whisk until the ganache has almost doubled in volume.

For initial assembly:
Fill each 4-inch half dome silicone mold halfway full with the ganache. Press in the disks of chocolate bread first. Then add in another tbsp of the ganache. Then press in the frozen disks of creme brulee. Then another tbsp of ganache, and finally the dacquoise disks. Freeze the molds for 2 hours before attempting to unmold. Keep the petit gateaus frozen for glazing.

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

Melt gelatin into milk in a pot over medium heat. Add chocolate and salt into that and stir until everything is just melted together. Make sure your glaze is at 90 degrees F before attempting to pour over your frozen petit gateaus. Let the glaze drip off the frozen petit gateau for 5 minutes before attempting to transfer them to a serving surface.

For the spiced chocolate cream:
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp black cacao powder
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
a pinch of clove
1 tbsp chocolate liquor

Whip everything to stiff peaks. Quenelle the cream and place on top of each glazed petit gateau.

For the chocolate garnish:
1/4 cup dark chocolate
a pinch of salt

Partially melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler with the salt. Take the chocolate and salt off heat and continue to stir until everything is melted together. Pour onto parchment and spread thin. Freeze the chocolate, then once it is solidified, break into smaller pieces.

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