This dessert was conceived during the pandemic, when I was given a very dark chocolate which was far too intense as an ingredient itself. I developed the dish so that the chocolate would work in harmony with the other flavors in the recipe. A variant of this dessert was developed for my episode on MasterChef Australia 2021.
Yield: 2 servings
70.5% Dark Chocolate Décor
- 500 g Callebaut dark chocolate 70.5 %*
1. Begin by tempering the dark chocolate by gently heating it over a double boiler until fully melted. Do not leave the chocolate unattended for any amount of time.
2. Once melted, continue to heat and stir the chocolate until it registers 131°F (55°C). Remove the bowl from the double boiler, ensure the base of the bowl is dry, then pour 2/3 of the chocolate onto a suitable bench and set the bowl with the remainder of the chocolate down away from any heat. With an offset spatula and a chocolate scraper, move the chocolate on the bench around continuously – this will cool the chocolate and begin the crystallization process. Continue this process until the chocolate temperature reaches 81°F (27°C). At this point, add the benched chocolate back into the bowl with the warm chocolate, and mix until uniform, while making sure there are no lumps in the chocolate. The chocolate should be at 88.7°F (31.5°C) once mixed, and should now be tempered.
3. Pour 1 Tbs of the tempered chocolate onto an A4-sized piece of guitar sheet, then place another piece of guitar sheet on top, and with a small rolling pin spread the chocolate between the two sheets until uniform in thickness (1/2 mm). Allow the chocolate to partially set.
4. Once partially set, with a suitable tool such as the back of a small artist’s paint brush, draw your desired natural shapes (try to have three sizes, with the largest being approximately 3.15ʺ x 2ʺ/8 x 5 cm), essentially pressing the two pieces of guitar sheets together to create the chocolate décor. With the nozzle end of a 0.4ʺ/1 cm metal pastry tip and using the same technique, press out some disks in the chocolate, ensuring one of the disks is cut in the center of each of your shapes, so that when assembling the chocolate, sticks can be placed inside them. Repeat this until you have 3 individual shapes with the center disks cut out, and some disks cut from the excess chocolate. Make sure you have plenty to spare, as they break easily. Place the guitar sheets between two trays and allow the chocolate to set overnight, or 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
5. For the chocolate sticks, place the remainder of the chocolate into a piping bag and cut a very small tip. Prepare a tray with a piece of baking paper, then pipe your desired amount of sticks over the baking paper and allow them to set (you will only need 3 but make spares).
6. Carefully remove 1 side of the guitar sheet, and with a small offset spatula, remove the chocolate décor from the other guitar sheet, then place all of the required chocolate pieces onto a tray ready for use. This is something you do not want to do while plating!
*Note: Not all the chocolate will be used.
- 110 g milk
- 200 g Bulla Double Cream (45%) , divided
- 10 g honey or glucose
- 135 g Callebaut dark chocolate 70.5%
- 3 g Queen Organic Vanilla Essence
- 3.5 g powdered gelatin, hydrated with 17.5 g water
1. Place the milk, half of the cream and the honey or glucose in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until steam begins to appear above the pan.
2. Add the chocolate and the hydrated gelatin to the saucepan and remove the pan from the heat. Set aside for the chocolate to slowly melt, mixing occasionally. Once the chocolate mixture is fully mixed and emulsified, add the remainder of the cold cream and the vanilla and mix again slowly until uniform. Do not use a whisk, as you risk whipping the cream and splitting the mixture. Pour the finished mixture into a large gastronome tray and cover with cling film, making sure the cling film is directly in contact with the mixture (this will ensure that no skin will form on the cream0. Place the tray into the blast chiller for at least 1 ½ hours.
3. Once set, place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 0.4ʺ/1 cm pastry tip, and place the bag into the refrigerator until ready for use. This can be done 5 minutes before plating.
Cinnamon Salted Caramel
- 80 g granulated sugar
- 40 g glucose
- 100 g thickened cream (35%)
- 3 g salt
- 3 g good quality ground cinnamon
1. In a heavy-based saucepan, make a dry caramel with the sugar; heat the cream separately. Once the dry caramel is made, add the cream slowly. Once fully incorporated, boil mixture and bring to 248°F (120°C), then add the salt and the cinnamon and mix thoroughly. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
2. Pass the mixture through a chinois into a container and allow to cool.
3. Place the caramel into the refrigerator. Once cooled and thickened, pour it into a piping bag, ready for use.
- 100 g whole seedless mandarins (or use kumquats)
- 50 g glucose
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 50 g water
- Lemon juice, to taste
1. Blanch the mandarins twice in fresh boiling water. Cool slightly, then either quarter or mash the mandarins before cooking the jam.
2. Place the blanched mandarins, glucose, sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a boil. Once simmering, blitz the jam with a stick blender until smooth and uniform and continue to cook.Once boiling, add the lemon juice and reduce the mixture to a rolling simmer.Cook the jam to 217°F (103°C), skimming the surface scum often.Remove the saucepan from the stove, place a parchment paper lid on the surface of the jam, and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place the jam into the refrigerator.
3. Once chilled, pour the jam into piping bags, ready for use.
Cacao Nib Streusel
- 50 g almond meal
- 50 g Panela sugar
- 1 g Murray River salt
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 50 g all-purpose flour
- 15 g cacao nibs
- 40 g Callebaut dark chocolate 70.5%, melted and cooled (make sure it is not hot when using it)
1. Place all the ingredients except for the chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle. On a slower setting, begin to mix the ingredients until a crumble texture is reached. Add the melted chocolate and mix until uniform. Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it into a covered container. Refrigerate until chilled.
2. Line a tray with a silicone sheet or piece of parchment paper. Press the streusel dough through a resting rack over the prepared tray to form rough square or cube-like pieces of dough. Place the tray of prepared dough pieces into the refrigerator to chill again.
Preheat your oven to 320°F (160°C). Bake the dough for 10-15 minutes, or until done. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container until ready to use.
1. Check the shape of your first chocolate décor layer (this should be the largest one). Pipe teardrops of the Chocolate Cream onto your selected plate in roughly the same shape for the first chocolate décor layer to rest upon. Pipe some of the Mandarin Jam and the caramel inside, alternating with Chocolate Cream teardrops, then place a few of the streusel pieces in the center of the Chocolate Cream, making sure none of it is visible once the first chocolate disk is placed over it.
2. Place the first chocolate décor layer on top of the chocolate cream. Do the same for the next layer. Be really careful not to break the chocolate while piping the next chocolate and mandarin jam layer, keeping in mind that the central holes need to line up somewhat for the chocolate sticks to go into.
3. Place the third and last layer of the chocolate décor on top and pipe a few decorative teardrops on and around the dessert. Place some of the chocolate disks onto some of the teardrops and with the others, heat a small melon baller and press it into some of the teardrops to form cavities to pipe some of the Cinnamon Caramel (as pictured).
4. Finally, place the chocolate sticks into lined-up holes in the center of the dessert and serve.
Photo by Callebaut
(This recipe appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
About Anthony Hart
Anthony Hart, a seasoned pastry chef and photographer, attributes his career choice to diverse influences. His pastry style has evolved into a simpler, technique-focused approach, emphasizing quality ingredients. Inspiration for new recipes strikes spontaneously, drawing from color, technique, and the influence of fellow chefs and photography. Currently based in Brisbane, Anthony explores unique local ingredients, revisiting Viennoiserie and incorporating chocolate, caramel, and nuts into his creations.