Back

Chocolate Forest Floor

  • Steps
  • Ingredients

Steps

  • Preheat oven to 170C. Turn on ice cream machine to begin cooling down.
  • To make the almond and praline cream, line a tray with paper. Put the almonds and glucose in a bowl, and stir well to coat the almonds. Place the coated almonds onto the prepared tray and place in the 170C oven to bake for 12 minutes, stirring after 6 minutes, until golden and caramelised. Remove the tray from the oven, transfer the nuts into a thermomix along with the almond oil. Blend for 3 minutes on high speed, gradually adding the icing sugar in small batches. Add the praline paste and salt and blend until completely combined.
  • Heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium–high heat, bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine, and then stir into the cream and milk mixture until dissolved. Pour the hot cream and milk into the thermomix and blend on low until well combined and a smooth paste has formed. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce oven to 150C.
  • To make the lavender cream, place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and heat until it approaches a simmer. Add the lavender, turn off heat and steep the cream for 10 minutes. Bring the cream back to a simmer and then pass through a chinois and discard the lavender. Pour the hot cream into a blender and turn on low to create a vortex. Add the egg yolks and the sugar to the centre of the vortex and mix to combine. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and add to the lavender cream. Add the iota, then add the salt. Blend for 1 minute, transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge until set, about 15 minutes.
  • To make the soft chocolate cream, place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Put the chocolate and sugar in a bowl and then pour in the hot cream. Whisk together until completely dissolved and then set aside.
  • Place the agar, iota and 150 g of water in a plastic beaker and, using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium–high heat. Cook out for 1 minute then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and then stir into the warm agar mixture until dissolved. Pour the agar over the chocolate mixture and stir until completely combined. Pour the mixture into a bowl place in the fridge until set, about 40 minutes.
  • To make the sour cherry sorbet, place glucose and 215 ml water in a saucepan, set over medium heat and heat to 40C.
  • While the glucose is heating, place the sugar and sorbet stabilizer in a bowl and mix together. Add to the 40C glucose, while whisking and continue to heat to 80C.
  • Place cherry puree in a bowl, pour over the heated sugar mixture and blend with a stick blender. Place over an ice bath to cool.
  • Once cherry puree is cold churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the sorbet is fully churned, set aside in the freezer.
  • To make the chocolate crumble, heat the cocoa butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted around 40c. Place remaining ingredients into a medium sized bowl and slowly stream in the warm cocoa butter and using your hands mix through so that a crumb is achieved and it binds together.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread the crumb over the mat evenly making sure it is not too clumped together. Place in the 150 C oven and bake until dry and crumbly, about 12-14 minutes. Remove the crumble from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • Reduce oven to 120C.
  • To make the green tea moss, place sugar and butter in a bowl and using a spatula beat until well combined. Add flour and almond meal and fold to combine and then mix in the tea. Roll the paste into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in the blast chiller until frozen, about 20 minutes.
  • To make the almond brittle, heat the sugar, glucose and 42 g of water in a medium saucepan over medium–high heat to 115°C. Add the almonds and vanilla bean and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 155C. Remove the pan from the heat, add the salt, butter, and bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine. Pour the nut brittle onto a paper lined tray and leave for 30 minutes to cool completely .
  • To make the firm cherry brandy jelly, place the cherry brandy and 120 grams water in a small saucepan over medium–high heat and bring to the boil. Add the agar and cook, whisking frequently, until the agar has dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Strain into a loaf pan. Set over a tray of ice water and place in the fridge until set, about 20 minutes.
  • To make the aniseed praline mix, lightly warm the praline paste in a bowl over simmering water until it becomes soft and pliable. Gently toss through the feuilletine until the feuilletine becomes tacky. Add through the caramelised fennel seeds, liquorice powder and sea salt and set aside.
  • To temper the chocolate for the discs and twigs, melt 400 g of chopped chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until it heats to 55-58C. Remove the chocolate from heat, and gradually begin adding in the remaining 100 g chopped chocolate, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and adding the chocolate until entire chocolate mass has cooled to around 29C. There should be no unmelted lumps of chocolate. If unmelted lumps remain, heat the chocolate gradually to remove them, then cool chocolate again to 29C.
  • Once at this stage place the pot of water back onto the heat and bring to the boil, remove the pot from the heat and then quickly place the bowl of chocolate over the water to raise the temperature to 32C. Hold the chocolate at this temperature stirring regularly as the sides of the bowl will begin to set. As lumps begin to form, gradually warm the chocolate to eliminate them and continue to test for proper temper.
  • Measure out 300 g tempered chocolate to make the chocolate discs. Using a palette knife, spread the chocolate out, about 2 mm thick, over a sheet of acetate. Using a 6 cm cutter, mark out 8 discs of chocolate. Leave the chocolate to crystallise for a few minutes, until it starts to set. Transfer to the fridge.
  • Use remaining 200 g tempered chocolate to make the chocolate twigs. Pour chocolate into a piping bag and cut a very fine hole off the end. Pour half the cocoa powder, in an even layer, into a deep baking tray. Pipe the chocolate into the shape of branches onto the tray and then dust over the remaining cocoa powder. Set aside in the fridge to set.
  • To finish the green tea moss, remove frozen log from the blast chiller and grate over a paper lined tray, using a microplane. Place in the 120C oven and bake the tea paste until dry and crumbly, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool then set aside in the fridge.
  • Remove the tempered chocolate from the fridge. Peel away each disc. For the chocolate twigs, using a fork, carefully remove branches from the tray. Shake off excess cocoa powder and place on a clean tray and set aside in the fridge.
  • To make the chocolate soil, measure out 100 grams chocolate crumble and 100 grams aniseed praline mixture and place in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • Remove the set jelly from the fridge and cut into 5 mm cubes. Set aside in the fridge until required.
  • Chop the set brittle into very small pieces and set aside.
  • To finish the almond and praline cream, remove set cream from the fridge and transfer to an electric mixer bowl and attach the whisk. Whisk the cream for about 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate until required.
  • To finish the lavender cream, remove the set cream from the fridge and transfer to an electric mixer bowl and attach the whisk. Whisk the cream until medium peaks form and the cream is smooth and able to hold itself. Transfer cream to a piping bag and refrigerate until required.
  • To finish the soft chocolate cream, remove the set cream from the fridge and transfer to an electric mixer bowl and attach the whisk. Whisk the cream until medium peaks form and the cream is smooth and able to hold itself. Transfer cream to a piping bag and refrigerate until required.
  • To crystallise the fennel fronds, line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Lightly whisk the egg white in a bowl. Dip a pastry brush in the egg white and very lightly brush the fennel fronds. Lightly sprinkle over the caster sugar, making sure it doesn’t clump. Place the fennel on the prepared tray and leave to crystallise until ready to assemble dish.
  • To assemble, pipe a spoonful of lavender cream, soft chocolate cream, and almond and praline cream into the base of a serving bowl. Sprinkle the almond brittle over the creams.
  • Place the tempered chocolate disc on top and press down lightly.
  • Pipe another amount of the chocolate cream in the centre of the chocolate disc to help hold the chocolate soil in place. Sprinkle the chocolate soil evenly over the chocolate disc and chocolate cream to form a small mound.
  • Add a teaspoon of the cherry brandy jelly cubes evenly over the plate.
  • Sprinkle a little of the green tea moss evenly over the soil and then add the crystallised fennel fronds around the bowl.
  • Place the chocolate twigs around to resemble fallen branches.
  • Pick the flowers from the elderflower twigs and scatter in and around the forest. Top with small clumps of finger lime pearls.
  • Finally, add a quenelle of the sour cherry sorbet. Serve immediately.

More from this episode

You might like