Remember when I said (uh, just two days ago) that I would no longer be eating desserts not made by myself? The problem with that is, if you're a home baker with a desire to learn, if you want to lose any weight, your stint is pretty much over. Also, this blog would instantly die (well, I could still make non-desserts, but let's face it, desserts are mad fun: food of artists). The solution is to torture myself with the ambition to make entremets. Or not just an entremet, but a plated dessert. It will take me literally days to make one, is plenty of work, and pushes all your culinary skills to the limit while learning more.
The entremet is an orange crème brûlée with dark chocolate orange mousse, fudge brownie base, and enrobed in chocolate mirroire glacage. The decorations are candied orange peel and caramel doodads (not a technical term). It's not an original concept, I was inspired by the Amore of the Bizu Patisserie. However, I've never tasted that entremet and this is my original interpretation, construction, and recipe. So it's not quite, but almost a "signature" dessert, I guess. What's most important, though, is that it tastes smashing. The depth of the brownie, the lightness of the crème brûlée, and the character of the orange chocolate mousse work together splendidly. I didn't show my parents the plating of the dessert, they just got the regular glazed entremet. If they saw it, they might become fearful for my future, hahaha (oh, don't take that seriously). Just because you're a good doctor doesn't mean you can let your artistic soul just die! Speaking of which, I just received a new commission to make another Obstetrics and Gynecology poster, which I'm both excited and scared about, as usual.
Because milk chocolate orange gets such a bad rap, I used organic dark chocolate with orange (bought at Healthy Options, THE health food store in the Philippines) for a sophisticated flavor, making this the most expensive dessert I've produced. Here we have the pleasant and lower-priced Newman's Own Organic Sweet Dark Orange and the more expensive but totally worth it Green and Black's Organic Maya Gold, which is the inspiration and namesake of my dessert. The Maya Gold, and I'm not being a chocolate snob or inciting a UK-vs-US choco-battle here, is superior in every way except price-- mouth feel, depth, and flavor. The spices are all secret, but I'll wager there's pepper, cinnamon, and cloves in there. However, the Newman's Own chocolate is still very good, and while not as interesting flavor-wise, is still a quality choice. Ready? Let's go make entremets!
This dessert can be constructed in an entremet ring, but since the inspiration was "Maya Gold," there's no better shape than pyramidal, so I used silicon molds (about 3" demisphere and 3" flat-topped pyramid), sold for P700 ($17 or £7, at Robinson's Manila and SM Makati).
Orange Crème Brûlée (adapted from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking)
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).Stir the cream, sugar, vanilla, and orange zest in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and bring to a simmer. Let it rest for 15 minutes. During that time, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together 6 egg yolks. Once the cream has rested, drizzle it in slowly into the yolks, whisking all the while, and once half a cup has gone in, you can add it more liberally, still whisking the whole time. Whisk until well-blended. Strain into a pitcher. Divide among the 12 silicon containers (if you want to serve it as is, just use 6 ramekins)-- they should leave enough space for the brownie and mousse, so you only want each one filled to 2/3 or 3/4 of the capacity. Place the containers in a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with boiling water going to 2/3 of the height of the silicon container. Be careful that water doesn't enter the custard, especially as you place it in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes-- that's the time you should start checking it, at least-- until the center is jiggly but not sloshy. If it's not yet done, just check again at 5 minute intervals. Take it out of the oven, taking care not to get the custards wet. Let them cool, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze in their containers.
Dark Chocolate Orange Mousse
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and set aside. In the microwave or a very small saucepan, bring the 33g cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted and set aside. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water (not touching the bottom of the bowl), whisk together the egg yolk and sugar until no longer grainy. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until well-blended and smooth. Take the bowl off the heat and whisk in the chocolate ganache and 150g cream until well-blended. Do not store in the refrigerator because it will set-- continue assembling the dessert instead. This mousse can also be eaten on its own.
Fudge Brownies (adapted from King Arthur's The Baker's Companion)
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease, line with parchment, and grease again a 9x13" pan. In a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Cool until you can comfortably test it with your finger (it should feel like comfortably hot bath water). Whisk in the eggs madly until smooth, then add the flour, stirring until smooth. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or knife poked in the middle shows only moist crumbs. Cool for 15 minutes on a rack, then pull out the brownies with the parchment in one piece and let cool completely.
Chocolate Glacage: follow the recipe here.
Take the crème brûlées out of the freezer and pipe or spoon a thin layer of mousse on the surface. Don't be lazy as I was and just put a dollop in the center; the seam will show. You really have to make sure it reaches the edges. Using a round biscuit cutter (for demispheres) or a knife (for pyramids), cut the brownie into 2.5" rounds or 2.25" squares-- the measurement doesn't matter as long as it is not flush with the sides of the mold. Use the remaining mousse to completely fill the mold and swipe a spatula over the top to level it. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze a few hours until firm-- it can be frozen for a week, away from strong odors.
Pop the prepared entremets out of the molds and set on a cooling rack or dipping tray over a sheet pan. Allow any frost to thaw, about 15-30 minutes. To save on glacage, I elevated the cooling rack and placed a small bowl on the bottom for recycling.
Working quickly, pour the glacage over the top of each. It's advisable to glaze them at least twice for a smoother finish:
Leave in the refrigerator until serving time.
Candied Orange Peel (adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé)
Put a large pot of water (not the quantity specified here, that is to be used later) to a boil. Cut off a thin slice off the bottom and top of the oranges and cut off wide bands of peel about 1 inch across, making sure that a sliver of fruit is included in the peel as you cut it off. Toss in the boiling water and boil for two minutes, then remove from the water with a slotted spoon into a colander and rinse under cold running water for 2 minutes, then repeat the boiling and cooling process twice more. Set aside. Place the remaiing ingredients (water, sugar, and all) into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the peel and adjust the heat to very low so the syrup simmers gently. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 hours. Remove the casserole from heat, and with the cover still on, allow to macerate overnight. The next day, pour into a canning jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. It can also be dried on a rack and coated in sugar.
To make the caramel, I have to confess there is no recipe-- I just "winged it." I placed half a cup of sugar and a quarter cup of water into a medium saucepan and let it boil until it reaches a deep amber color, then plunged the bottom in cold water to stop cooking. When the syrup cools enough to run from a spoon in a thread (if it drips, it's too hot), take the loaded spoon and create all sorts of designs on a nonstick sheet pan or parchment paper and allow to cool. I used "jewel" shapes and swirls to keep in theme.