Throughout the years, pastries have never stoped to evolved. If there were one kind of dessert concept that caches the attention the most, it would be the fruits en ''trompe l'oeil''... It all started decades ago when bakeries would propose edible bite size fruits or fruits déguisés (disguised fruits) made up of marzipan and often painted with food colorings. They are then candied in syrup for hours to create a thin crystalized enveloppe. Thanks to more advance silicone molds and brillant pastry chefs such as Cedric Grolet, the level of sophistication brought to fruits en trompe l'oeil have change the dynamic. They are build up with an ultra flavored insert, wrapped in a mousse and encapsule in a thin chocolate shell and often finish with a glossy glaze depending on the theme. The real challenge here is to be able to duplicate the skin from the real fruit.
This recipe calls for 10 servings. I did 2 batches using one Silikomart professional 5 cavities silicone sphere. Diameter of each cavity 58mm (2-5/16 inch). For the blueberry inserts, use 2 small 15-cavity semi sphere silicone molds non-stick. Molds are available on my Shop Page.
Make this dessert 2 days ahead. This kind of dessert concept requires organisation as pastry chefs do in the production line to ensure consistant results. High tech equipment such has blast freezer is a must. At home though, things can be challenging especially if we lack of equipment. Always have clean, organized and half full refrigerator and freezer. Keep a couple of baking trays and bowls in the freezer – this helps to cool things down faster.
Berry juice must be achieved using frozen fruits. In a saucepan, bring slowly to a boil the frozen blueberries along with lemon juice and sugar. Turn the heat off, cover and let it sit for an hour or best overnight. Pass mixture through a sieve and press down solids to squeeze out all the remaining liquid. Save blueberry juice and solids.
Combine sugar with agar-agar. Heat up blueberry juice and add sugar-agar mixture and citric acid (Citric acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant). Whisk that up, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes on low heat. Cool on ice water and refrigerate until completely set. Meanwhile, rinse and pick through fresh blueberries. Heat up a frying pan and quickly sautée fresh and frozen blueberries along with the solids saved from the juice and sugar. Transfer to a plate to cool off. Smooth out blueberry juice with an immersion blender and combined with sautéed blueberries – season with Timut pepper to taste. A lemon zest can be added too. Fill up 2 small 15-cavity semi sphere silicone molds and freeze overnight. Create spheres with 2 halves and keep frozen until ready to use.
Soak gelatin in cold water to soften and drain. Bring to a boil the first half (300g) heavy cream. In a narrow container, slightly melt chocolate and add hot heavy cream. Mix using an immersion blender. Add the soften gelatin and blueberry solids saved from the juice. Blend well and add the remaining chilled heavy cream, mix and refrigerate ganache montée overnight prior to whip.
Roll out a piece of marzipan into a 2 mm thick sheet. Dust with corn starch to prevent from sticking. Cut marzipan into 3 cm disks and turn them into paper thin coins and cut them again. Fold edges to form crowns; set aside.
If you only have one 5 spheres Silikomart mold, whip half of the blueberry mousse – and do the second batch the following day. Whip ganache montée to soft peaks. Fill silicone bottom spheres two-third full and top with the frozen inserts; press it down gently. Cover with the lid and seal. Fill up spheres completely making sure that no empty spaces are left behind. You'll have leftover mousse for afterwards touch up if it occurs anyways. Freeze cakes overnight. If you plan to make this dessert in advance, keep cakes in their original molds until ready to glaze.
Remove frozen cakes from mold and arrange them onto a frozen upside down semi-sphere molds to keep each in a stabilized position. Freeze again for an hour or so. Then, gently shave off ends, smooth out with your palms (wear gloves) and freeze for 30 min or so. Top with a dot of leftover mousse to stick in the crowns; freeze until ready to glaze.
*One of the most reliable and easy to use fat-based food coloring kit is called Power Flowers Cocoa Butter Florets. Make the purple color according to their color formula (VIOLET 9 A for instance). Since there is some dark chocolate added to the enrobage mixture, you may want to add more red and blue.
Melt cocoa butter first to ≈140ºF/60ºC. Remove from the heat and add chocolates. Once melted, transfer mixture to a narrow container and mix in food coloring. Add oil to the mixture, mix and sieve. Use chocolate enrobage at 90ºF/32ºC. The shelf life of the chocolate enrobage exceeds 6 months in the fridge or kept in a cool storage.
Grab one dessert at the time from the freezer. Insert a wooden skewer through the crown and dip in the chocolate enrobage. Pull out after a quick bath and flip (crown side down) rotating the cake as it begins to set. This ensures a neat result. Place the glazed fruit crown side up onto a baking tray lined with parchment or silicone mat. Remove the skewer and fill the hole left behind with a dot a enrobage. Repeat until done.
To create the blueberry bloom effect, coat some of the surface of the glazed cakes with corn starch – brush off excess starch. Smooth out the top of the crowns using a hot melon baller.
Once glazed, blueberry desserts can be kept frozen in sealed containers for up to 2 months. Defrost cakes overnight in the refrigerator and arrange them onto a pre-frozen tray. Indeed and because of thermic shock, avoid using a room temperature tray or the shells will crack. Also note that during the thawing time and after 3 hours or so, condensation will occur on the surface of the chocolate shells. No worries, it will dry out and come back to its original look when ready to serve.
Well, since this kind of dessert offers the perfect balance of texture and flavors, it is best served as is. Enjoy!