"The Divine"

So this quarter I'm taking a European Cakes and Tortes class. Our first assignment was to make a chocolate mousse cake (basically). The problem is, there's nothing "basic" about this torte. It's 4 layers of the best of the best... CHOCOLATE.
Top layer = Milk Chocolate Glacage (glaze)
2nd layer = Milk Chocolate Cream (mousse)
3rd layer = Hazelnut Feuilletine (wafer crumbs)
4th layer = Almond Dacquoise (softer than sponge, cake)
The French really named this torte correctly... it's tastes DIVINE.

(the recipe is in order of how it should be made and assembled)

Milk Chocolate Cream
70g water
15g milk powder
75g egg yolks
15g glucose
4g gelatine 180 bloom (silver sheets)
20g water
450g milk chocolate
50g hazelnut paste
350g whipped cream

Directions: Combine water (1st listed) milk powder, egg yolks and glucose in saucepan and heat to 86 degrees celsius - do not boil (*if you do not have milk powder, use the combo of the 2 in liquid milk form - meaning 85g milk).
Bloom gelatin sheet in 20g water (roughly 2 sheets). Combine bloomed sheet to egg yolk mixture, whisk until fluffy.
Melt chocolate and hazelnut paste over double boiler (bain marie) until melted. Add egg mixture to chocolate. Set aside.
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold in cream 1/2 at a time into milk mixture. Place mixture inside of a small ring line with plastic strips that are higher than the height of the ring and place in freezer. Do not touch.

Almond Dacquoise (cake)
150g almond powder
200g powdered sugar
50g flour
215g egg whites
3g dry egg whites
125g sugar
2g salt

Directions: Sift together almond powder, sugar and flour. Whisk egg whites with dry whites. Sprinkle in sugar and salt with mixure becomes foamy and comes away from bowl. Pour in 1/2 flour. Fold slowly and carefully, do not overmix. Pour in remaining flour... repeat. Pipe this mixture into a medium sized ring (buttered and lined with parchment paper) creating edges around the outside first then filling in the middle. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Milk Chocolate Glacage
750g milk chocolate
70g cacao butter
200g clarified butter
100g roasted sliced almond

Directions: Melt chocolate, and butters together. Roast almonds and keep separate.

Hazelnut Feuilletine (wafer crumbs)
150g milk chocolate
300g hazelnut praline paste
300g feuilletine

Melt milk chocolat and paste together. Keep mixutre warm until right before using.
Crumble feuilletine, by hand and place in large bowl. Pour warmed melted chocolate over top and coat feuilletine completely. Should make a large paste-like mixture.


Unmold almond dacquoise (cake) and place on plate, cake ring, etc. Using same size ring as with chocolate cream (in freezer), center the ring on top of the dacquoise. Fill ring with hazelnut feuilletine, pat down to level off mixture. Place ring of chocolate cream on top of feuilletine. Using the glacage, laddle the melted chocolate on top of the cream and sprinkle the almonds on top of the melted chocolate.

Place everything back into the freezer until ready to serve. Cake should be out of the freezer for 20 minutes prior to serving (unless your house is hot as hell). :)

Petits Four Glace

So... have you ever been out to one of those "fancy-smancy" restaurants and they gave you a mini-dessert to "have" along with the bill? Not the after-dinner mints.
These small pastries, cookies and mini-desserts are known as "Petit Four" or miniature pastries. They are meant to be consumed in 1-2 bites.

Honestly you can turn amost any recipe into a 'petit four' just pay close attention to detail, and make them ALL LOOK SAME!

*2 part recipe - 1 for the joconde (dough layer) and 1 for the in between filling*

5oz almond flour
6oz sugar
1.5oz cake flour
4 eggs
3 1/2 egg whites
1.5oz unsalted butter, melted

Directions: Combine almond flour, 5oz of sugar, cake flour and 1/2 of eggs. Whip the mixture for 2 minutes. Stop, scrap the bowl then mix for another 3 minutes. Slowly add remaining eggs. In another clean bowl, whip egg whites and remaining sugar until medium peaks. Fold in melted butter to the almond mixture. Fold in 1/3 of egg whites to lighten the batter, fold in remaining 2/3. Spread mixture over silpat. Level off mixture and bake at 450 for 6-8 minutes. Cut joconde into uniform strips

4oz simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar)
2oz raspberry liquor/puree
raspberry jam, as needed
tempered chocolate, as needed

Combine simple syrup and raspberry liquor/puree together, set aside.


Directions: Place a strip of the joconde. Brush the simple syrup/ liquor mixture on top of the strip. Spoon/brush raspberry jam on top of liquor mixture, and repeat the steps. Finish product should be 2" tall. Cut the strips 2" wide and you'll end up with a 2x2 petit four. Shapes include squares, rectangles, diamond, rounds, etc.
Decorate the tops of the desserts with tempered chocolate (or if you're lazy, more of the raspberry puree - which is what I did)


*Please do not attempt this recipe UNLESS you have a madeleine molded tray/pan.

Nothing tooooooooo fancy about these cookies. They're ok. Easy to make and decorate.

RECIPE: (yield 12 cookies)
4oz unsalted butter
2 eggs
3oz sugar
1tsp lemon zest
1/4tsp vanilla extract
1/4tsp baking powder
3oz cake flour

Directions: Brown the butter (place butter in pan and cook slowly until it turns brown - do not burn). Set aside to cool. Whisk eggs and sugar over double boiler until warm. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Sift baking powder and flour together and stir into egg mixture. Stir in melted butter. Cover bowl and allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Butter and flour madeleine pan, spoon or pipe in batter to pan. Fill 3/4 the way.
Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, until light brown. After baking, invert pan over wire rack, cool completely.

Spritz Cookies w/Raspberry Preserves

So these cookies are sold everywhere. I know that I pick them up all the time. Peperidge Farm (sp?) sells them in raspberry, blueberry, etc. The trick in making them is just using a star tip during the piping process.

RECIPE: (yield 12 cookies)
4oz butter, softened
2oz sugar
1/4tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
1 egg
5oz cake flour
4oz raspberry preserves
powdered sugar, as needed

Directions: Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt, vanilla and egg. Combine well. Slowly add flour, until just combined - dough should not be sticky or stiff. Pipe dough unto ungreased sheet using large star tip.
Wet your index finger and create a "well" in the middle of the cookied. Place 1tsp of preserves in the middle of each cookie.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (until edges are lightly browned). Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired

Chocolate Souffle

So, we had to make these as a group, so it's hard to determine exactly which one is mine, out of a group of 20. I made 5 though, so THERE!

1pt orange juice
8 egg yolks
4oz sugar
3oz A/P flour
8oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
2oz orange liquor
Butter, melted - as needed
Sugar, as needed
16 egg whites
Powdered sugar, as needed

Directions: Heat OJ to lukewarm in saucepan. Whisk egg yolks with 3oz of sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in flour and warm OJ, return mixture to saucepan. Cook on med-low heat until thick - do not boil, remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until completely melted. Add liquor. Cover mixture with plastic wrap (touching the mixture) keep at room temperature.

Prepare ramekins by brushing with melted butter and dust with sugar, coat completely.
Preheat oven to 425.

Whip egg whites to stiff peaks with 1oz of sugar (remaining). Fold whites into chocolate base and spoon mixture into ramekins (filled to within 1/4" of rim. Bake immediately, for approximately 12 minutes.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over the tops.

Chocolate Pistacio Biscotti w/Cranberries

Warning, the making of biscotti resembles something you make when you're alone in the bathroom. It's a very tricky process that can go wrong easily.

.2oz cinnamon, ground
.3oz baking powder
10oz hazelnut flower
3oz almond flour
1lb pastry flour
5 eggs
1lb sugar
8oz butter, melted
10oz whole pistacios
10oz dried cranberries
4 oz cooled, melted chocolate
warm, melted chocolate (as needed)

Directions: Sift together cinnamon, baking powder. Stir in hazelnut, almond and pastry flours. Whisk together eggs and sugar until thick and pale, and has doubled in volume (3 minutes). Add butter. Stir in flour mixture, then stir in pistacios and cranberries (start with half, then keep adding until you like the consistency). Hand gather all of the ingredients on a table to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.

Divide dough into 3 parts, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll dough into a log approximately 12" long (leave 3" in between each log).

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool, then slice logs into desire width. Place sliced cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place that sheet pan on top of anothe sheet pan, upside down inthe oven.
Reduce temperature to 325 back until thoroughly crips, 30-40 minutes.

Note: you can dip the biscotti into melted chocolate once it has cooled.

Eclair Paste (Pate a Choux)

Best made using a convection oven, these treats can be made and frozen in advance.
Use pastry cream (see a previous post for recipe - or ask) to fill and dip/drizzle with melted chocolate.

Eclair Paste Recipe:
8oz water
8oz milk
.3oz salt
.3oz sugar (optional)
7oz butter
10oz bread flour
10-11 eggs

Directions: Bring liquids to a boil, with salt and sugar (if using). Sift dry ingredients. Turn off heat. Add dry ingredients, combine well, then return to medium heat. Cook mixture until it thickens. Place mixture in bowl of standing mixture, with paddle attachment. Mix on low until mixture has cooled, add eggs one at a time. Mixture should be soft and "pipeable."

Pipe small-medium sized balls. Use a star tip to pipe a "donut" design and you've made a Paris-Brest. Bake on 325 for 8-15 minutes.

Note: If making Paris-Brest, you will then need to slice the donut in half, fill with cream, then re-top with other half.

Paris-Brest Cream Recipe (optional filling cream):
12oz butter, softened
4oz praline paste (or hazelnut paste)
1lb 8oz pastry cream

Directions: Cream butter. Add paste and combine. Mix in cream until well combined. Use immediately.

I'm Back!

Ok.... so it's been a while.
School really kicked my butt last quarter, and softball and the family didn't help ease the pain when I wasn't in school.

Anyhoot... I'm back. Here to share the greatest recipes (from school) ever and also here to try out some of yours.

Stay tuned... for a lot of catching up :)