Plaisirs Sucrés

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The essence of this milk chocolate, praline, and Piedmont hazelnut cake is the contrast between the milk chocolate and the varied crispy, crunchy, smooth, and melting textures—and the complex sensations they give.

Preparation time: 90 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes

Drink pairing

Regular water, Corsican Muscat, a Marsala-type Italian wine such as Morce di Luce.

Ingredients

Roasted, Crushed Hazelnuts

  • oz (100 g) whole, raw Piedmont hazelnuts

Dacquoise Hazelnut Biscuit

  • oz (210 g) ground Piedmont hazelnuts
  • 8 oz (230 g) confectioners sugar
  • 8 egg whites (8 oz/230 g)
  • oz (75 g) superfine sugar

Hazelnut Praline

  • 1 oz (30 g) unsalted butter
  • oz (75 g) Jivara Valrhona cooking chocolate* (40% cocoa)
  • oz (150 g) hazelnut praline 60/40 (Valrhona)
  • 5¼ oz (150 g) pure hazelnut paste (hazelnut purée)
  • oz (150 g) crumbled Gavottes Crispy Lace Crepes

Fine Milk Chocolate Leaves

  • oz (160 g) Jivara Valrhona chocolate (40% cocoa)

Milk Chocolate Ganache*

  • oz (250 g) Jivara Valrhona chocolate (40% cocoa)
  • scant 1 cup (230 ml) heavy cream

Method

Roasted, Crushed Hazelnuts

  1. On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer and roast them at 320°F (160°C) for 20 minutes. Using a sieve, remove the skins, then crush the nuts.

Dacquoise Hazelnut Biscuit

  1. On a dish, roast the ground hazelnuts at 300°F (150°C) for 10 minutes. Sift* the confectioners sugar and ground hazelnuts together. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks while adding the sugar in three parts. Fold in the sifted mixture, using a spatula.

  2. Place a frame measuring 14-by-11 inches (37 by 28 cm) and ¹/³-inch (3 or 4 cm) deep on a baking sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Weigh out 1 lb 8 oz (700 g) of dacquoise hazelnut biscuit and spread it evenly inside the frame using an offset spatula, then sprinkle evenly with crushed hazelnuts. Bake in a convection oven at 340°F (170°C) for approximately 30 minutes, leaving the door ajar to keep the dacquoise from rising and falling, from the concentration of steam in the oven. Once cooked, it remains both firm and soft. Leave to cool.

Hazelnut Praline

  1. Melt the butter and the cooking chocolate* separately at 105/110°F (40/45°C) in the bain-marie*. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the blade, mix the hazelnut praline, the hazelnut paste, the cooking chocolate, and the butter. Add the crumbled gavottes.

  2. Weigh out 1 lb 3 oz (550 g) of hazelnut praline, lay it on the dacquoise hazelnut biscuit in the frame, and flatten using an angled spatula. Store in the refrigerator.

  3. Remove the frame from the dacquoise hazelnut biscuit and hazelnut praline and cut into rectangles measuring 4-by-1 inch (10 by 2.5 cm). Store in the freezer.

Fine Milk Chocolate Leaves

On a 8-by-12 inch (20 by 30 cm) sheet of plastic, spread the softened milk chocolate. As soon as the chocolate sets, mark it into 4-by-1 inch (10 by 2.5 cm) rectangles. Lay a leaf of plastic and a weight over it before placing in the refrigerator to set.

Milk Chocolate Ganache

  1. Chop the chocolate. Boil the cream and pour it on to the chocolate; mix. Pour into a dish and let set at room temperature.

  2. Place the rectangles of fine milk chocolate leaves (shiny side down) on a baking sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper. Using a pastry bag fitted with a railroad nozzle and filled with milk chocolate ganache, cover the rectangles from end to end, lengthwise. Place a second rectangle on top, and repeat the procedure. Do not put a chocolate rectangle on the second layer of ganache. Store in the freezer.

Chantilly Milk Chocolate

  1. Chop the chocolate. Boil the cream and pour it onto the chocolate. Mix. Pour into a dish and leave in the refrigerator for approximately 12 hours.

    In a bowl, whip the mixture. Fill a plastic pastry bag fitted with a stainless steel No. 12 nozzle with chantilly milk chocolate. Pipe* two thin lines of Chantilly on a rectangle of dacquoise hazelnut biscuit and hazelnut praline, and lay a milk chocolate and ganache rectangle on top.

  2. Pipe two thick lines of chantilly milk chocolate, side by side. Finish by placing a rectangle of milk chocolate (shiny side up) on top.

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