(This recipe appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
When first starting to conceptualize this dish, the goal was to bring a sense of comfort to the guest while they enjoyed the dessert. I believe flavors like chocolate and caramel are familiar and comforting. Flan also brought me back to my childhood, remembering how I would scrape the little bits of flan and the deep caramel from the bottom of the pan when my mother would make it. It is this sense of comfort and nostalgia that I wanted guests to enjoy.
Yield: 10 individual desserts
Cacao Nib Feuilletine
- 65 g Valrhona Guanaja chocolate 70%
- 31 g unsalted butter
- 60 g cacao nibs, ground
- 270 g praline paste
- 135 g feuilletine
- Place the chocolate and butter in a small bowl and melt over a bain marie.
- Place the cacao nibs in a blender to make them more finely ground.
- Once the chocolate and butter are melted and homogenous, add the ground cacao nibs and mix well. Remove from heat and slowly fold in praline paste and feuilletine and well combined. Keep at room temp if using immediately; if not, store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- 16 g cocoa powder
- 202 g pastry flour
- 26 g almond flour
- 0.5 g salt
- 128 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 81 g confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 48 g whole eggs
- Combine the cocoa powder and pastry flour and sift to remove any clumps. Gently whisk the almond flour and salt into the sifted dry mixture. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy. Add the egg and blend, scraping the bowl to ensure it is evenly mixed. Add the dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, mixing just until blended. Gather into disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
- Roll out dough to approximately 3 mm thick. Place on silicone baking mat-lined sheet pan and bake at 325˚F (163˚C) for about 13 minutes. Let cool and set aside until ready to use.
Chocolate Caramel Flan
- 380 g granulated sugar, divided
- 114 g Valrhona Caramélia milk chocolate
- 54 g Valrhona Caraïbe chocolate 66%
- 600 g whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 325˚F (163˚C). Make a dry caramel with 300 g of the sugar, cooking to a deep amber color and pouring enough caramel in ten 3-oz (89 ml) molds to cover the bottoms.
- Place chocolates in a small bowl and melt over a bain marie.
- In a small pot, combine the milk and the remaining 80 g sugar and bring to a simmer. Once at a simmer, turn off the heat, take a small amount and temper into the eggs, and return tempered mixture back to the rest of the milk and sugar mixture. Pour mixture over chocolate and allow to stand for 2-3 minutes, then hand blend and strain through a sieve. You may reserve mixture at this point, or can bake it right away.
- Pour approximately 2 oz (59 ml) into the caramel molds. Place on a sheet tray and place in the oven. Pour warm water halfway up the sides of the sheet tray. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through baking time. Check flan by jiggling – the flans should jiggle slightly in the center when done. Remove tray carefully from oven and remove molds from hot water tray. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator, and let rest for a minimum of 2 hours (the longer the better).
Milk Ice Cream
- 340 g granulated sugar, divided
- 5 g ice cream stabilizer
- 5 g sorbet stabilizer
- 3401 g whole milk
- 46 g sweetened condensed milk
- 204 g trimoline
- Mix a small amount of the sugar into the stabilizers to prevent clumping when adding to the milk mixture; set aside.
- Get a large pot and scale, making a note of the weight. Place milk and sugar in the pot, and slowly reduce this mixture by 30%. Whisk stabilizers into the milk mixture. Whisk in the condensed milk and trimoline. Hand blend ice cream base for approximately 2 minutes. Store in the refrigerator overnight before spinning.
Caramelized Phyllo Décor
- 2 full sheets phyllo dough
- 300 g unsalted butter, melted
- 500 g confectioners’ sugar
- Cocoa powder, as needed
- Preheat convection oven to 325˚F (163˚C) with fan on high.
- Place one sheet of phyllo on work surface and brush the entire sheet with melted butter. Dust the entire surface with confectioners’ sugar, making a thin layer of sugar that is not entirely soaked from the butter, but just partially. Then fold this sheet in half crosswise. Brush the entire surface of the folded side with butter, then dust again with the confectioners’ sugar.
- Place a new sheet of phyllo on top of the folded sheet, lining up the corners. Repeat the steps of brushing with butter and dusting with sugar. Now fold the full top sheet in half crosswise (in half from the short side) and repeat the buttering and sugaring steps. At this point you will have 4 layers (2 full sheets folded in half) of phyllo that have been brushed with butter and dusted with sugar. Place the phyllo on parchment paper, and then place another sheet of paper on top. Place in between two heavy duty sheet trays and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the top sheet tray and paper and check the color – it should be an even and shiny golden-brown color.
- Using a chefs’ knife, cut the phyllo layers into very think tuile “sticks”. You may need to return the phyllo to the oven to warm and continue cutting if it begins to get too cold to cut the sticks.
- Once cut and cooled, lay the sticks flat and dust with cocoa powder to fully cover each one. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.
Mixed Media Crumble
- 70 g milk powder
- 70 g malt powder
- 8 g fleur de sel
- 2 g cocoa powder
- 75 g Valrhona Jivara milk chocolate 40%
- 50 g Valrhona Guanaja dark chocolate 70%
- 200 g Chocolate Sablé
- In a large bowl, mix together the milk powder, malt powder, salt and cocoa powder.
- Place the chocolates in a food processor and pulse to break up large pieces into hazelnut-size pieces. Combine with the malt powder mixture.
- Break up the sable with your hands to form medium-size pieces. Toss everything together. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Cocoa powder, for dusting
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Gold leaf
- Take the room temperature Cacao Nib Feuilletine and stir to ensure all is mixed well and not separated. Place about 150 g on a plate and pat it down with a small offset metal spatula so that the feuilletine is flattened and not a mound.
- Run a paring knife along the edge of a flan mold. Dip the mold in a small amount of hot water to help release the flan. Its best to hold in the hot water for around 45 seconds. Place the Chocolate Sablé on the flan and press down slightly. Turn the sable and flan around in the mold to ensure the flan is released from the sides of the mold. Turn the mold over with some emphasis to release the flan. If the flan seems stuck, try dipping the mold in hot water for another 30 seconds. Once released, using a small spatula, lift the flan and place on top of the fueilletine on the plate. Drizzle the caramel liquid that will have come out when you unmolded the flan on top of the flan once it is on the plate.
- Place some of the Mixed Media Crumble around the base of the flan. Dust the tuile sticks with cocoa powder first, then confectioners’ sugar; set aside.
- Scoop a quenelle of the ice cream on top of the flan. Arrange 2 tuile sticks, slightly crossing each other, on top of the ice cream. Finish with a touch of gold leaf.
About Priscilla Scaff-Mariani
Priscilla Scaff-Mariani is the executive pastry chef at Restaurant Gabriel Kreuther, New York, NY. She describes her pastry style as based on French techniques and blending different cultural flavors. Chef Priscilla leans toward the organic form in her dessert and gives a lot of attention to how the guest will enjoy the pastry from a sensory perspective.