Pastry rings used for this recipe are the perforated tart ring - 4.25''/10.7cm diameter. (Look up my Shop Page). In a food processor, cream butter and salt – add sugar and almond meal; blend to smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and blend well. Add flour and process until combined. Wrap up the pastry and chill a couple of hours or until firm. Work the chilled pastry over a floured work surface until it turns supple but still cool. Cut out strip of dough slightly higher than the pastry ring and its diameter 1”x14”/2.5x35.5cm. Chill pastry for about 30 min. Carefully, apply each pastry strip against the sides of each greased ring. Trim off any excess from the bottom of the ring first and chill for 30 min. Trim off excess pastry from the top and freeze before baking. Save leftover pastry for later use – it can be stored in the freezer for weeks.
Bake pastry rings at 350ºF/180ºC for 12 minutes. Then carefully, flip pastry and put back in the oven for 6 min more. Take extra care regarding the baked pastry rings; it could break easily.
Toast nuts in a 350ºF/280ºC oven for about 12 min. Cook sugar to caramel stage and toss in nuts. Transfer caramelized nuts onto a silicone baking mat to cool. In a running food processor, blend caramelized nuts with a pinch of salt until it turns to paste. Set aside. Praliné can be stored for months in a cool area or refrigerator.
Soak gelatin in cold water to soften, and drain. Heat up milk and throw in hazelnuts; bring to boil and blend. Pass through a sieve and press down to extract as much hazelnut milk. Save solids for later use. Bring back hazelnut milk to the saucepan, add half of the heavy cream and bring to boil. Pour hot liquid in the chocolate and blend. Add gelatin and blend. Add praline and the second half of the cool heavy cream. Blend well and refrigerate overnight. Whip the chilled hazelnut ganache to soft peaks. Fill up pastry rings or three 3.14”/8cm diameter x 0.80''/2cm height silicone molds and freeze for 4 hours or more. Save leftover mousse for later use. Un-mold the frozen hazelnut mousse; cut in half and freeze.
Soak gelatin in cold water to soften, and drain. In a saucepan, bring to quick boil lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs whisking constantly. Turn off the heat and whisk in the melted gelatin. Allow the lemon mixture to cool to 140ºF/60ºC then throw in the cubed butter and blend with an immersion blender, and chill.
To temper milk chocolate: Melt chocolate and cocoa butter to 113ºF/45ºC using a water bath. Wipe off bottom of the bowl and chill it for 5 to 10 min or until the sides of the bowl begins to set, give a good stir and check the temperature; it should be at 80ºF/26ºC. Quickly rewarm chocolate to 84/86ºF (29/30ºC) and add hazelnut crumbs. Using the tip of a bamboo skewer, dip frozen hazelnut mousse halves in tempered chocolate up to its edges leaving its surface uncovered. Let set and refrigerate to thaw or freeze for later use.
Working with chocolate can be a challenging experience especially when the room temperature exceeds 77ºF/25ºC; the cooler the better. Turn AC on if needed. Prior working with chocolate, make sure that all the tools are clean and dry as well as a cleared and spotless work surface. It is important to melt more chocolate than needed (for 200g needed, melt 400g). Chocolate couverture is a high-quality class of chocolate, containing a high percentage of cocoa solids and cocoa butter, and precisely tempered. Couverture chocolate is used by professionals for dipping, coating, molding, filling, sauce and garnishing. Use ≈ 12''x17''/30x44cm acetate plastic sheets*. Each sheet gives 4x10 / 40 plaques (2 plates per dessert); make 2 sheets. Line work surface with a large silicone baking mat and place the acetate plastic sheet on top. *Acetate plastic sheets can be found online or through refined bakeries, patisseries, confectioneries and manufactures chocolate confections.
Melt milk chocolate to 104/113ºF/40/45ºC in a bain marie (water bath) on low heat (water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Wipe off bottom of the bowl and chill it for 5 to 10 min or until the sides of the bowl begins to set. Give a good stir and check the temperature; it should be at 77/80ºF (25/26ºC). Quickly rewarm chocolate to 84/86ºF (29/30ºC). Use 7 oz/200g tempered chocolate per sheet. Spread chocolate evenly using a large offset spatula starting from 9 to 3 o’clock and 12 to 6, running the spatula straight and keeping the chocolate on board, repeat once; the layer should not be thicker than one millimeter. Carefully, move the chocolate sheet further on the countertop to set. Meanwhile, scrape out chocolate left on the work surface and clean spatula. Before cutting; if the chocolate sheet takes too long to set, refrigerate for a couple of minutes; it will be ready as soon as it does not stick to the touch and it must remain supple otherwise it will break into pieces.
When chocolate does not stick to the touch, cut into 3.35 inch (8.5cm) x 1 inch (2.5cm) plate/plaque. Cover the chocolate plate sheet with a silicone mat or parchment, flip (acetate side up / shinny side). Top with a baking tray to prevent from curling and refrigerate for about an hour before using or store for weeks. Save leftover chocolate for the glaze, or later use.
Place milk chocolate plates on a flat and cool surface. Pipe out dots of lemon curds, candied or poached orange cubes (To make it, look up at Poached Lemons Recipe), edible flowers, micro mint and small red fruits cuts; refrigerate. Meanwhile, carefully place glazed hazelnut mousse (thawed) inside the pastry circle. To stay in place, it should be glued with a dot of glucose, or tempered chocolate, or a piece of marzipan. Slide over the garnished chocolate plate on top of the hazelnut mousse. Enjoy!