A plated dessert is an arrangement of one or more components. For most desserts, all the parts are prepared well in advance. Then it is assembled à la minute (at the last minute). So, what makes a worthy plated dessert?. Flavor, texture and temperature. This dessert is inspired by Chef Na Rae Kim from Paris. The original dessert calls for using the best bittersweet chocolate from Peru. So, there is a lot going on in this dessert; chocolate crust, crémeux, hazelnut praliné, cocoa nibs crunch, clarified cocoa gelée, raisins macerated in Armagnac and mascarpone ice cream. Make 2 days ahead.
This crust is eggless. Combine flour with baking soda. In a food processor, turn chocolate into small pieces and transfer it to a separate container. Mix butter with sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add flour – give a few pulses and add pieces of chocolate and mix to combine. Divide pastry in 2 portions. Press down pastry and top it with parchment. Spread it out evenly into a 2 mm thick sheet and freeze. Do likewise with the remaining pastry.
This is an interesting addition to this dessert. Toast cocoa nibs in a 350ºF/180ºC for about 10 mins. Bring milk and cocoa nibs to a boil, cover and let infuse for 3 hours and keep refrigerated overnight. Soak gelatin in cold water to soften and drain. Pass milk through a sieve and bring back to a boil and stir in the citric acid. Now, the liquid is going to separate, that's normal. Pass through a sieve lined with paper towel and mix hot liquid with the softened gelatin. Transfer clarified cocoa water in a separate container, let cool and freeze overnight. Place frozen clarified cocoa water in a strainer and let thaw at room temperature (it'll take a few hours). You only want to use the left on the bottom of the container. Discard the gelatinous part left in the strainer.
Soak gelatin in cold water to soften and drain. Heat up clarified cocoa water with sugar and vanilla to 140ºF/60ºC, remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatin. Line a 13X9.5-inch/33X24 cm baking tray with an opened freezer bag (do not use plastic wrap). Lightly oil the baking tray so the plastic will more likely to adhere. Pour liquid in the prepared tray and refrigerate overnight. Once completely set, cut into 2.5-inch/6.5 cm squares; keep refrigerated until ready to use.
To temper chocolate, melt a pound/450g dark chocolate couverture over a bain-marie. Dark chocolate should be melted between 120/130°F (50/55°C). Remove from the heat and refrigerate for about 15 mins until temp reaches 77/79ºF (25/26ºC). Stir it up every so often. Meanwhile, get a few sheets made from freezer bags or best use acetate sheets. Lay one plastic sheet onto a large silicone baking mat. Reheat chocolate over bain-marie stirring with spatula until it reaches 89.6ºF/32ºC max. Keep an eye on it because it wont take that long for the temp to rise. Remove tempered chocolate immediately from the heat and wipe off bottom. The worse enemy of chocolate is heat and water. As the video shows, pour about a third of the tempered chocolate from the left side of the plastic sheet. Cover with another sheet and carefully spread chocolate evenly into a thin sheet. When chocolate is set to the touch, make 2.75-inch/7 cm diameter disks. Flip chocolate sheets and refrigerate to set.
Praliné can be made from scratch or purchased online. It could also be subbed for Nutella.
Make a caramel with sugar and water. When caramel begins to get form, add cocoa nibs. Continue to cook until dark brown color stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and spread onto a silicone baking mat. Let cool, bread into pieces and store in a sealed freezer bag at room temp.
Soak gelatin in cold water to soften and drain. Heat up milk to 140ºF/60ºC. Whisk in milk powder and honey. Remove from the heat and add egg yolks and mix immediately using an immersion blender. Bring mixture back to the stove and cook to 185ºF/85ºC stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and mix in soften gelatin and mascarpone. Refrigerate mixture overnight prior to churn.
Combine milk powder with glucose, stabilizer, sugar and yolks. Heat up milk to 176ºF/80ºC and add the milk powder-yolk mixture. Cook to 185ºF/85ºC stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and mix in mascarpone. Refrigerate mixture overnight. Use an ice cream turbine or *Pacojet right before serving. *Pacojet is a kitchen appliance for professionals that micro-purees deep-frozen foods into ultra-fine textures.
Melt chocolate over a bain-marie. Do not over heat. Meanwhile, bring to a boil milk and heavy cream. Combine chocolate with the hot milk-cream mixture. Smooth out using an immersion blender. Add the egg and blend well; set aside a room temp. Do not refrigerate.
Bake crust and make crémeux the day you want to serve the dessert. It won't hold refrigeration for too long. Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Remove chocolate crust from the freezer (save the other one for backup). Flip frozen crust over a Silpain baking mat. The Silpain mat is a flexible, non-stick liner that has a perforated texture which happens to be useful since the dessert is going to be served crust side up. Grease a 9-inch/23 cm diameter cake ring and cut through the pastry using the cake ring and remove excess pastry. Bake crust for 20 mins with the cake ring. Remove from the oven and lower temperature to 275ºF/135ºC, add chocolate crémeux and bake for 10 more mins. Turn the oven off and leave it for 5 mins more. Do not over bake. Let cool and refrigerate a couple of hours. To remove the cake ring, carefully run a small and warm spatula around the edges and cut into portions.
Plate out a crust side up chocolate dessert. Top with a teaspoon of praliné or Nutella, add a couple of pieces of cocoa nibs crunch and a few macerated raisins. Add clarified cocoa gelée that should touch the dessert and the plate. Add a chocolate disc and soften it up with a hair dryer. Scoop out ice cream and break a piece of chocolate over it. Serve immediately!