(This article appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
Throughout summers in my childhood, I would pick and devour wild blackberries while they were still warm from the sun. I wanted to create a dessert that had the same concentrated, juicy flavor of fresh, ripe blackberries, but was also balanced by lighter, creamier textures. Here, the jam and cremeux provide intense blackberry flavor and are complemented by the almond sponge and the lighter flavors of the mousse and meringue.
Yield: 18 petits gateaux
- 1.5 g gelatin (200-bloom strength)
- 32 g egg yolks
- 15 g whole eggs
- 32 g granulated sugar
- 114 g blackberry puree, strained through cheesecloth
- 20 g unsalted butter, very soft
- Bloom the gelatin.
- Combine the egg yolks, eggs, and sugar.
- Warm the puree, then temper into the egg mixture; cook to nappé stage as for anglaise. Add the bloomed gelatin.
- Cool to 95°F (25°C) and blend in the butter using an immersion blender. Portion into mini demi-sphere molds (approximately 10 g each).
- 140 g fresh blackberries
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 2 g rapid-set pectin
- 100 g blackberry puree
- 25 g cassis puree (if unavailable, substitute blackberry puree)
- 20 g glucose
- 4 g lemon or lime juice
- Cut each blackberry into approximately sixths.
- Combine the sugar and the pectin, then add to remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture reaches 225°F (107°C), or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and chill. Reserve refrigerated.
- 7.5 g gelatin sheets (200-bloom strength)
- 240 g Greek yogurt
- 264 g heavy cream
- 84 g egg yolks
- ¼ vanilla bean, scraped
- 105 g granulated sugar
- 36 g water
- 22 g lemon juice
- Bloom the gelatin in ice water.
- Warm the yogurt to room temperature.
- Whip the cream to very soft peaks.
- Make a pâte à bombe: On medium speed, whip the yolks and the vanilla bean seeds in a 5-qt mixer. Cook the sugar and water to 240˚F (115˚C) –softball stage. Pour the syrup into the whipping yolks (be sure to get all the syrup into the yolks by mixing in by hand), and continue to whip in the mixer until cool.
- Melt the gelatin in the lemon juice. Add to the yogurt and combine.
- Fold the pâte à bombe into the yogurt mixture, followed by the very softly whipped cream. Pipe into medium dome molds at 20 g each.
- Push a frozen demi-sphere of blackberry cremeux into the center of each mold. Freeze. Reserve a small portion of the Yogurt Mousse in the refrigerator for piping.
Almond Sponge Cake
- 60 g all-purpose flour
- 250 g unblanched almond flour
- 110 g confectioners’ sugar
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 150 g egg yolks
- 50 g whole milk
- 240 g egg whites
- 2 g fine sea salt
- 120 g brown sugar
- Have all ingredients at room temperature.
- Combine the all-purpose flour and the almond flour and set aside.
- Cream together the confectioners’ sugar and butter. Slowly add the yolks. Alternately add the combined flours and milk, mixing just until blended.
- Make a meringue with the whites, fine sea salt and brown sugar.
- Fold the meringue into the batter. Portion into a ¼ sheet pan that has been lined with paper. Bake at 163°C (325°F) until the cake springs back to the touch. Cool.
- Once cooled, trim the cake to 2 cm in height. Using a circle cutter, cut out 6 cm wide round disks.
- Chill, then hollow out the center of the cake with a melon baller. Fill the hollow with blackberry jam and freeze.
- 12 g albumin powder
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 150 g blackberry puree, strained of pulp through cheesecloth
- 65 g water
- Combine the albumin with a small amount of sugar. Add to the puree, then begin to whip in a stand mixer.
- Meanwhile, cook the sugar and water to 240˚F (115˚C) – softball stage. Stream into whipping puree, and whip until cool.
- Remove from the stand mixer. If needed, thin with some additional liquid puree to achieve a soft, smooth consistency for dipping.
- Pink tinted white chocolate, tempered
- White chocolate, tempered
- Cut acetate into 20 cm x 10 cm strips.
- Pour a small amount of tempered pink chocolate onto the strip, then spread into a thin layer using an offset spatula. Allow the chocolate to partially set, then pour a small amount of tempered white chocolate onto the acetate and spread to form a second thin layer.
- Once the chocolate is barely set, cut 2.5 cm wide strips, then at a diagonal, trim off a 0.5 cm strip to form an offset edge. Quickly roll the acetate around a 6 cm wide tube.
- For maximum shine, allow to fully crystallize prior to unmolding.
- Dark chocolate, tempered
- Freeze-dried blackberry powder
- Pipe dime-sized chocolate dots onto acetate. Dust with freeze-dried blackberry powder.
Allow to fully crystallize.
Assembly & Finishing
- Place a small amount of the reserved Yogurt Mousse in a piping bag, and pipe a ring of mousse on the top of each disk of Almond Sponge. Center a frozen demi-sphere of Yogurt Mousse with Blackberry Cremeux insert onto each cake and re-freeze to secure the mousse.
- Prepare the Blackberry Meringue.
- Hold the Almond Sponge Cake in your fingers and dip the Yogurt Mousse demi-sphere into the meringue using a circular twist. Place onto serving boards.
- Place chocolate rings around each petit gâteau, and seal the garnish by attaching a chocolate button with a small amount of tempered chocolate.