No, this is not a photo of the bustier Madonna wore during her “Who’s That Girl” tour…..get your head out of the gutter, will you please?
What it is, is something even more spectacular, and I think you’ll have to agree, that upstaging one of the material girl’s bustiers, is a mighty impressive feat.
So…what is it, exactly?
Before you read any further, I suggest you sit down.
Yeah, you heard me….sit down.
The seemingly complex dessert you see pictured above, yes that lovely confection made up of a pair of chocolate meringues, home-made bittersweet chocolate ice cream, and luscious chocolate whipped cream was made by a TEN YEAR OLD. Not just any ten year old, mind you, but the most chocolate crazed and determined young pastry chef wannabe TEN YEAR OLD you’re ever likely to meet.
Those of you who have been with us for a while will recognize her fingerprints all over this chocolate bomb….yeah, Muppet’s back, and she’s taking names and kicking booty with this over-the-top delicious dessert. As we approach our 1 year anniversary here at “Oui, Chef”, Muppet felt the time was right to re-visit the cookbook that started it all for her, the one she has read front to back a few times already, the one she turns to WHENEVER she feels the urge to cook, the fabulous Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme written by the lovely and talented Dorie Greenspan.
As you may recall, Muppet started her pastry apprenticeship by making what we like to call “M Cookies”, a delectable chocolate sablé from this same cookbook. Well, now she’s back with a three piece chocolate tour de force that she’s had in her sights for some time now. Not only is this baby impressive to look at, but even more importantly, it is freakishly delicious. Be advised that this is a dessert for serious chocolate lovers only, a deep-dark extravagance that will leave you gently buzzing and begging for more.
Despite having three elements to craft, it is a pretty straight-forward dish to make, the only special requirements being VERY high quality chocolate, an ice cream maker, and a little patience. Pierre Hermé doesn’t mess around with his chocolate desserts, and as a result, his recipes demand using only the finest chocolate you can find and afford. He believes in letting the very essence of the chocolate be the focus of the dessert, and as such, limits other ingredients in a dish to a minimum. For instance, his bittersweet chocolate ice cream has neither egg yolks or cream in it, because he feels that they dull the chocolate flavor too much. That kind of thinking not only results in a fabulously bold chocolate flavor, but also an ice cream, that because it is made only with whole and powdered milk, is much lower in fat than most premium brands. Knowing that, you just might want to serve yourself a double serving of the stuff! Would it surprise you to learn that’s what Muppet and I did? No, of course not.
This post launches a new feature here at “Oui, Chef”, a little something we are calling “The Kid’s Table”. It is where my intrepid sous-chefs can blog about their own experience cooking a certain dish we are posting. Click the following link to read what Muppet has to say about cooking this amazing dessert. Muppet Says:….
Enjoy! – Steve and Muppet
- 1 cup (100 grams) confectioner's sugar
- 3 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon (90 grams) sugar
- confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder for dusting
The Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream:
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) powdered milk
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup (70 grams) sugar
- 8 ounces (230 grams) bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona), finely chopped.
The Chocolate Whipped Cream:
- 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Center a rack in your oven and pre-heat to 250 ℉ (120 ℃). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, and ready a large pastry bag with a plain 1/2 - 3/4 inch tip.
- Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder and reserve.
- In a large, clean bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the room-temp egg whites on high speed till they are opaque and just hold soft peaks. Whith the mixer still on high, slowly add 1/2 of the granulated sugar and whip until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks. reduce the mixer speed to low and add the rest of the sugar, mix to incorporate.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, and working with a large rubber spatula, gently fold the sifted confectioner's sugar and cocoa mixture into the egg whites until fully incorporated. Work quickly, but delicately and don't get discouraged when your whites fall a little, it is inevitable.
- Working with half the batter at a time, gently spoon the batter into the pastry bag and pipe large, plump rounds 2 1/2" (6.5 cm) in diameter onto the prepared sheets. They should look like giant hershey's kisses when piped. Allow 1" between each puff. This recipe should make around 20 puffs.
- Dust the meringues with confectioners' sugar then let rest 10 minutes on the counter. Dust again, this tyime with cocoa powder and place the sheets in the over, holding the door slightly ajar by placing the handle of a wooden spoon at the edge to keep it from closing fully. Bake the puffs for 2 hours.
- Turn the oven off and continue to dry the meringues for another 2 hours, or as long as over night. Transfer meringues, with parchment to racks to cool completely. Run a thin metal spatula under them to pull them from the paper, and store them in an airtight box until ready to use.
The Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream:
- Place the powdered milk in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and gradually whisk in the whole milk. When the powdered milk is dissolved, add the sugar and bring the whole mix to a boil. Add the chocolate, stir and bring to a boil again. Once all the chocolate has melted, pull the pan from the heat and pour the mix into a bowl to cool. Refrige rate until fully chilled.
- Churn the ice cream per the manufacturer's directions. Pack the finished ice cream into a freezer container for at least two hours, time enough for it to firm up.
The Chocolate Whipped Cream:
- Put the chocolate in a mixing bowl large enough for whipping the cream. Bring the cream and sugar to a full boil in a sauce pan, pull from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk vigorously to full melt and incorporate the chocolate. Chill the chocolate cream for at least 5 hors, or better yet, overnight. When ready to make your ice cream sandwiches, remove the cream from the fridge, nest the bowl in a larger mixing bowl with some ice in the bottom in order to keep the whipping bowl very cool. Whip with a hand-held electric mixer, but go easy, because the chocolate and cold bowl will help to thicken the cream quickly, and you don't want to over-whip the cream, you are looking for a nice smooth consistency.