Sesame-Kinako-Chocolate: a Petit Gateau

This recipe came about because I was craving something kinako-flavored. Kinako is a toasted soybean flour, which is 100% gluten-free! It kind of tastes like peanut butter, in that it is nutty and warming. I personally love using it with flavors like sesame, which is where the inspiration to pair the two came into play with this concept. In terms of contrast, I wanted to use chocolate, since chocolate and something peanut butter-like works nicely together, and I also used cardamom as a way to introduce a spice as well. The cardamom adds a perfume-y and floral note to the dessert, which plays off of the sesame and chocolate-portions really nicely. Sesame and cardamom are a very popular pairing in Middle Eastern pastries, so I knew it could work here with the sesame, kinako, and chocolate as well! In terms of what this recipe is, it is a petit gateau, or a small mousse-based cake. I love making entremet(the bigger version of this kind of dessert) and petit gateau all the time, because they are such great blank canvases upon which you can add fun visual touches to. In the case of this specific recipe, I was really just thinking of color contrast, specifically gold and black, which are colors that strike me as elegant. Kinako, which literally translates from Japanese to “gold powder”, the black sesame, the golden-colored toasted white sesame, the perfume-y dark speckles of cardamom, and the dark chocolate, it all just came together to make a really classy-looking petit gateau!

For the components, we have a gluten-free kinako sponge cake, a caramelized sesame core, a tahini-cardamom mousse, a dark chocolate glaze, a cardamom chantilly, and a kinako-sesame tuile. The entire dessert is gluten-free, from the cake to the tuile, with sesame and kinako being the primary flour substitutes, although the cake does use glutinous rice flour as well(you can sub that out with virtually any gluten-free flour for similar results!). The mousse is fragrant with the cardamom and the nuttiness of the tahini comes through in a more delicate way. The core is where the most intense flavors are, being made by caramelizing sugar with tahini paste, and then turning that into a sort of nougat-like center with the toasted sesame seeds running through it. All in all, there is a surprising array of textures in this recipe, especially given how it is gluten-free, but you would not be able to tell that portion at all. If you love chocolate-peanut butter, this is a more unorthodox take on that flavor combination, and you can fall in love with the chocolate-peanut butter combo again, but through completely different ingredients in the form of the sesame and kinako, while the cardamom brings something completely new to the table!

Makes roughly 6 petit gateau:
For the kinako sponge cake:
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mochiko
3 tbsp kinako powder
1g xanthan gum
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with the sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with milk, canola oil, and vanilla first. Then sift into that the mochiko, kinako, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the egg whites to create your batter.

Pour the batter onto a lined quarter sheet tray, spreading it into a thin, even layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Allow the cake to fully cool before cutting into rectangles, making sure that they fit the sizes of whatever silicone bar molds you are using.

For the sesame cores:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp miso paste or a pinch of salt
1 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
2 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds

In a pot, heat up the sugar until it turns an amber-cold color. Add in the tahini paste, milk, and miso/salt first, stirring on low heat until everything is combined. Then add in the gelatin, stirring again on low heat until that is melted in completely. Then fold in the sesame seeds. Pour the mixture into a shallow square-shaped container. Freeze for 1 hour, then cut into 1/4-inch wide rectangles(make sure that these rectangles are also trimmed to be 1cm short on each side from the length of whatever silicone bar molds you are using!). Keep these frozen for assembly.

For the cardamom-tahini mousse:
1/4 cup tahini paste
1 tsp gelatin powder + 2 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp milk
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

In a pot, stir the tahini, gelatin, sugar, milk, salt, and cardamom over medium heat. Once everything is dissolved together, take the mixture off heat and allow it to cool down slightly before adding in the vanilla. Then fold in the cream. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag.

For initial assembly:
Pipe the mousse into silicone bar molds, then press in the still-frozen sesame cores. Press into that the kinako sponge cake. Freeze for 2 hours before attempting to unmold.

For the cardamom-chocolate glaze:
3oz milk
1oz heavy cream
4oz dark chocolate
a pinch of salt
1 tsp gelatin powder + 2 tbsp cold water

In a pot, heat up everything together until the chocolate and gelatin are fully dissolved into the liquid. Allow the mixture to cool down to 90 degrees F, maintaining it at that temperature, until time to assemble.

For the cardamom cream:
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a nonstick pan, toast off the cardamom on low heat for 20 seconds, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Let the cardamom cool down before adding it into a bowl with the other ingredients. Whip everything together until stiff peaks form, then transfer to a piping bag with a star tip. Keep everything refrigerated for easier assembly.

For the kinako-sesame tuiles:
1.5oz ground toasted white sesame seeds
.5oz kinako powder
1/2 tbsp egg white powder
1 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp oil

Mix to form your tuile batter. Spread into your Pavoni feather baking mold(or onto a lined sheet tray) and bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes(if using the mold) or 15 minutes(if just baking into a solid sheet). While the tuiles are warm, press them against a curved surface, just so that they retain a little wavy shape.

To assemble:
Black sesame seeds

With the unmolded cakes on an elevated surface, pour the glaze on, allowing the excess to drip off the sides. Once the glaze is set, remove the cakes, and pipe onto them the cardamom cream. Garnish with toasted black sesame seeds and the sesame tuiles.

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