Kate Reid's decadent, black forest cake-inspired croissant is filled with sweet cherry jam and a smooth chocolate mousse
For the Chocolate Mousse, half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the saucepan of water to low heat.
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl that fits over the simmering water without touching it. Leave the chocolate to melt, stirring as needed. Remove bowl of chocolate from the saucepan of water when melted and smooth.
Meanwhile, soften gelatine in a bowl of water.
Use the back of a small paring knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod. Place 250ml thickened cream and scraped vanilla seeds and pod in a small saucepan and heat gently until just below a simmer. Remove saucepan from the heat and discard vanilla pod.
Place egg yolks and caster sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until pale and creamy.
Whilst whisking, gradually add hot cream to the yolks and sugar and whisk until combined. Return yolk mixture to the same saucepan.
Sift cocoa powder. Add sifted cocoa to the yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove saucepan of anglaise from the heat.
Add softened gelatine to the anglaise and stir to dissolve.
Add anglaise to the melted chocolate and stir to combine.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Place the bowl of chocolate anglaise over a larger bowl of iced water and continue to stir until mixture has cooled. Remove the bowl of chocolate anglaise from the iced water.
Place remaining 300ml thickened cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form.
Add one quarter of the whipped cream to the chocolate anglaise and stir to combine. Add remaining cream and gently fold through until combined. Transfer mousse into a deep oven tray or half size gastronorm and place in the fridge until completely chilled.
Meanwhile, for the Cherry Jam, place frozen cherries in a food processor and process until roughly chopped. Transfer chopped cherries to a medium saucepan.
Use the back of a small paring knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod. Add scraped vanilla seeds, cherry puree, caster sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt to the cherries. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce saucepan to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.
Meanwhile, for the Cookie Crumble, grease and line an oven tray with baking paper. Melt the butter.
Sift cocoa powder, plain flour and cornflour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add caster sugar and salt and mix with the paddle to combine. Add melted butter and mix until dough resembles a chunky crumble texture.
Transfer crumble mixture to prepared oven tray and bake in the turbo oven at 160°C for 10-15 minutes, gently stirring halfway through, until crumb is cooked and dry. Remove tray from the oven, break crumble into small pieces and set aside on a wire rack at room temperature.
Meanwhile, for the Chocolate Mousse, transfer chilled mousse to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until mixture has lightened in colour and texture. Be sure not to over whisk. Transfer mousse to a piping bag, fitted with a size 3 star nozzle and chill until required.
For the Cherry Jam, remove saucepan of jam from the heat. Transfer cherry jam to a small bowl and set aside at room temperature to cool. When cool, transfer jam to a piping bag and set aside.
For the Maraschino Syrup, combine caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce saucepan to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar has completely dissolved.
Remove saucepan from the heat. Add kirsch and stir to combine.
Measure out 100ml of this syrup and transfer to a small bowl. Add strained maraschino cherry syrup and stir to combine. Set aside.
For the Chocolate Frangipane, place the butter and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy, scraping the sides with a spatula.
Add egg yolks, one at a time and beat until well after each addition. Then add whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until fully incorporated.
Sift the cocoa powder and chocolate powder together. Add sifted cocoas, almond meal and salt to the batter and beat until combined. Transfer frangipane mixture to a piping bag fitted with a size 11 round nozzle and set aside.
Very gently, use a serrated knife to slice cooled croissants in half horizontally, cutting from the back to the front of the croissant. Brush the inside of each half with a little Maraschino Syrup.
Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place croissant halves on prepared tray, with bases cut side up and lids cut side down. Keep the matching lids and bases together.
Pipe a squiggle of Cherry Jam onto the base half of each croissant.
Pipe a smear of Chocolate Frangipane around the border of the base of each croissant, making sure you can just see the edge. Pipe a more generous amount inside this border of frangipane to cover the base.
Pipe a 1cm wide seam of Chocolate Frangipane down the centre of each croissant lid and gently press a generous amount of Chocolate Crumb into the frangipane, being careful not to squash the croissant.
Bake croissants at 160°C in the turbo oven for 12 minutes or until Chocolate Frangipane is set. Remove tray from the oven, transfer croissant halves to a wire rack and set aside for 10 minutes. Transfer to the fridge to cool completely.
Meanwhile, for the Tempered Chocolate Shards, bring the same half filled saucepan of water to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the saucepan of water to low heat.
Place 240g chocolate in a heatproof bowl that fits over the simmering water without touching it. Leave the chocolate to melt, stirring as needed until it reaches 46-48°C.
Remove saucepan from the heat and add remaining 40-60g chocolate. Stir to melt chocolate and reduce overall chocolate temperature to 31-32°C.
Pour chocolate onto a large sheet of acetate and use a large offset palette knife to spread thinly across the entire sheet. Place a second sheet of acetate on top and allow chocolate to set at room temperature. Once set, break into shards and set aside until needed.
For the Chocolate Icing Sugar, sift the icing sugar and chocolate powder into a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
For the Garnish, cut the maraschino cherries in half. Place double cream in a piping bag fitted with a size 11 star nozzle.
Once the croissant halves have completely cooled, pipe small dollops of cream around the border of each base. Pipe a few dollops in the centre.
Place 4 or 5 maraschino cherry halves between some of the gaps in the cream. Fill all remaining gaps with small piped dollops of Chocolate Mousse.
Use a fine sieve to lightly dust each lid with Chocolate Icing Sugar. Gently place the matching lid on top of each piped base.
Pipe 5 or 6 random dollops of double cream on top. Garnish the top with a 4 or 5 maraschino cherry halves and Tempered Chocolate Shards.