Pierre Hermé…..Ladurée…..Gerard Mulot……Hugo & Victor……Hediard…….Fauchon……Eric Kayser.
This is but a sampling of the famous pastry chefs / shops that kept us giddily happy and full during our recent trip to Paris. This same group is also responsible for opening Muppet’s eyes to the heights that the very best pastry can achieve. These folks are the best of the best, the “Top Gun” pilots of the pastry world, and eating their confections has inspired Muppet to dream-up her very own original creation.
Aren’t we all lucky?
You remember Muppet, don’t you? She is our budding young pastry chef, and was responsible for our blogging Pierre Hermé’s “Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Puffs”, his delicious and simple “M Cookies”, and her other original creation, “Muppet’s Mint-Chip Brownie Ice Cream” . Well, she’s back with a cake that combines two of her favorite treats in the world, lemon scented madeleines, and bittersweet chocolate mousse. We’re not entirely sure what it was that she ate or saw on the trip that inspired the birth of this cake (though I suspect it was a chocolate mousse cube that she ate at Gerard Mulot’s boutique near Place de Vosges), but whatever it was, we are forever in its debt.
Her original thoughts for this masterpiece differ somewhat from where we ended with this final product. At first, she wanted to craft a layer cake, with a chocolate ganache center and madeleines adhered to the outside, but the engineering required to stick the madeleines to the side of the cake gave us pause. After a few discussions (design sessions), we decided to make our standard batch of madeleines, using about half of the batter to make the traditional shell shaped little cakes, and using the other half for making a single layer of “madeleine cake” in an 9″ round cake pan. We then took the cake, placed it in the bottom of a ring mold lined with a sheet of acetate (one of my cooking purchases from “Mora” in Paris), topped the cake with the very best chocolate mousse in the world (from La Maison du Chocolat: Transcendent Desserts by the Legendary Chocolatier , and finally, decorated the whole thing once the mousse had set, with the little madeleines on top, and some fresh chantilly cream.
Pretty sweet, huh? Oh yeah, and its REALLY GOOD!
for the Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse
- 14 ounces bittersweet chocolate (we use Valhrona - Guanaja 70%)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 10 egg whites
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
for the Madeleines go to http://www.ouichefnetwork.com/2009/09/madeleines.html
for the Madeleines
- follow the instructions from the link above, making just one tray of the little cakes, reserving the balance of the batter. Butter a 9" round non-stick cake pan. Cut and place a round piece of parchment in the bottom of the pan and butter again. Place the reserved madeleine batter in the pan, and when the little cakes are done baking, place the round cake in the oven at 350℉ for about 15-16 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove the round cake to a cooling rack and let rest for about 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan, then invert it onto another rack to dislodge. remove parchment paper from the bottom and let cool completely before preceding with making your cake.
for the chocolate mousse
- Finely chop the chocolate and place it in the top of a double boiler set over low heat. When the chocolate has melted add the butter and stir to blend. Whisk in the egg-yolks until they are thoroughly blended.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all of its seeds. Place them in a small pan with the cream and cocoa powder,and gently whisk and heat until just warm.
- Remove the chocolate-egg mix from the heat, pour the vanilla-cocoa-cream mix into the chocolate and stir to blend. Transfer this mix to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In another large bowl, beat the egg whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar, until they hold stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Overmixing will deflate the egg whites, but make sure the mixture is well combined, with no streaks of egg-whites showing.
assembling the cake
- Place the round madeleine cake inside of a 9" round, 2-3" high ring mold lined with a strip of acetate (or parchment paper, if you don't have acetate). Spoon the mousse in to cover the cake and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Set in the fridge for 1-2 hours, (or the freezer for about 30-45 minutes if your in a hurry) to set the mousse.
- When ready to serve, remove the ring mold, peel off the acetate and decoratively place the little madeleine cakes around the top of the cake. Dot with chantilly stars if you desire.