Sorry for the late posting. I had a massively hectic last week as I was busy putting together a dessert table for my younger sister’s wedding on top of being sick. I made blush and mint green coloured meringues, chewy chocolate brownies, vanilla bean cupcakes, rose cookies, spiced nuts, gourgeres.
Everything turned out well, thankfully. It was a beautiful wedding with the closest friends and relatives witnessing it. Words can hardly describe my joy for the newlyweds, my dearest sister and my brother-in-law.
It seems like we have been having celebrations a lot lately. Right before my sister’s wedding, J and I celebrated our fifth year wedding anniversary. It is amazing how five years have flown by just like that. I guess time does fly by when you are having fun. I’m too grateful for the wonderful journey that we have shared thus far.
I was thinking of what dessert to make for J. I decided to go with a chocolate and hazelnut this time.
This dessert was inspired by the one we had at Salt Grill and Sky bar by Luke Mangan. J really loved the flavours and textures a lot and it was not hard to see why. It was a plate with a chocolate delice with praline crunch, honeycomb, praline ice cream, toasted hazelnuts.
I recreated that particular dessert with my own variations. It consisted of a dark chocolate crémeux, praline feuilletine base, chocolate “soil” and caramelised hazelnuts – a simple chocolate and hazelnut combination.
The dark chocolate crémeux is rich, smooth and creamy. The praline feuilletine base adds a much needed crunch to the dessert. The caramelised hazelnuts make for perfect snacking but they too have a place on this plate. The chocolate and hazelnut delice is also perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
All the components are pretty easy to make and can be made ahead of time to be assembled when you intend to serve it.
Happy baking. I hope that all my dear readers will find some time, every now and then, amidst your busy schedules to tell the person you love how much you appreciate them. And always remember to enjoy the little moments…
Recipe: Chocolate and hazelnut delice
Makes 7″x9″ tray, about 1 inch thick
This is a dessert recipe that makes a full tray of chocolate and hazelnut delice. It definitely looks impressive on a plate and a great do-ahead dessert for a dinner party. This is a variation of the chocolate hazelnut cake that I made for my dad’s birthday.
Praline Feuilletine base
70g praline paste
30g 55% dark chocolate couverture, chopped
30g Feuilletine flakes
1. Place the praline paste and chopped dark chocolate into a bowl and place the bowl over a bain marie to melt evenly, stir until well combined.
2. Pour in the feuilletine flakes into the melted praline paste and chocolate mixture and fold with a spatula until it is even.
3. Transfer this mixture onto a baking parchment lined tray. Place another piece of baking parchment over it and use a rolling pin and roll out the feuilletine base into a even thin layer. This praline feuilletine base needs to be the same size as the baking tray you are using for your chocolate creameux.
4. Place this layer into the freezer for it to firm up while you prepare your chocolate creameux.
Dark chocolate crémeux
Recipe adapted from Chef Stéphane Glacier (M.O.F)
175ml cream (at least 33% fat)
175ml full-cream milk
88g egg yolks
88gg granulated sugar
237g 55% dark chocolate couverture
1/4tsp fleur de sel (or to taste)
1. Measure out all your ingredients before starting.
2. Make a custard: In a pot, heat the cream and milk. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until well-combined. When the cream and milk comes to a boil, pour this liquid into the yolk mixture and whisk. Then, return this mixture back to the pot at low heat and stir with a wooden spoon/rubber spatula. It should be done at about 84 degrees celcius/ when it is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
3. Pour the custard through a sieve over your chopped chocolate. Stir it slowly (do not incorporate air bubbes) until the chocolate has melted and crémeux is uniform. Add in the fleur de sel and stir to distribute evenly.
4. Transfer the creameux into a baking parchment lined tray to set in the freezer.
This recipe makes more caramelised hazelnuts than you need to use for the dessert. You can store the rest in an airtight container for snacking.
63g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds only
125g blacnched whole hazelnuts
5g butter ( or a small pinch)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1. Place water, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a clean, grease-free stainless steel pot. Place on low heat until sugar has dissolved.
2. Add in the hazelnuts into the sugar. Move the nuts around every now and then but do not stir it too much if not the sugar will start to crystalise.
3. Cook hazelnuts and caramel under golden, amber colour (as you desire).
4. Stir in the butter when it is done. Then pour the nuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Break it up as it starts cooling.
Makes more chocolate soil than you need but you can store the rest for future use
Recipe taken from Paul Foster on Great British Chefs
100g of caster sugar
100g of ground almonds
60g of plain flour
50g of cocoa powder
68g of butter, melted
1. Mix all of the ingredients for the chocolate soil together well and spread evenly onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
2. Bake at 160°C for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to break up the crumbs.
3. Let it cool completely on a baking rack before storing it in an air-tight container.