HomeRecipesForbidden Tree by Gunawan Wu

Forbidden Tree by Gunawan Wu

(This recipe appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)

This dish was inspired by the seasonal change from autumn to winter, a time when all the leaves start falling off, revealing the ‘bold tree’. This trunk of this tree is made with modelling chocolate, while the leaves are represented by Pashmak Fairy Floss (Persian cotton candy). The dessert combines different textures, including a mousse, cake and jelly, and there’s also a surprise hidden in the chocolate pot base. The tartness from the raspberry elements complements the rich milk chocolate used in the mousse.

Yield: 6 servings

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse

  • 4 g gelatin sheets (gold)
  • 80 g dark chocolate couverture
  • 100 g milk chocolate couverture
  • 95 g heavy cream
  • 25 g milk
  • 50 g raspberry purée
  • 35 g glucose
  • 300 g whipped cream
  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in iced water for few minutes. Drain and set aside.
  1. Combine dark and milk chocolate together in a bowl and set aside.
  1. In a saucepan, bring cream, milk, raspberry purée and glucose to a simmer and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir until well combined. Allow to cool in refrigerator.
  1. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and then pour into a piping bag.

Vanilla Cake

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 180 g superfine granulated sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 180 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 356˚F (180°C).
  1. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  1. Pour into a lightly greased flat tray 7.8ʺ x 7.8ʺ (20 cm x 20 cm) with non-stick baking paper and bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  1. Use a ring cutter to cut cake to fit the silicone molds and set aside.

Raspberry Jelly

  • 4 g gelatin sheets (gold)
  • 150 g raspberry purée
  • 50 g sugar syrup
  1. Soak the gelatin in iced water for few minutes. Drain and set aside.
  1. In a saucepan, heat the raspberry purée and sugar syrup, then stir in the gelatin until it is dissolved. Pour into lined flat tray and freeze. Once frozen, using a ring cutter, cut the jelly to fit into the molds. Set aside.

Assembly of Pot

  1. Pipe the chocolate mousse into silicone molds (use cylinder molds measuring 6.14ʺ x 0.78ʺ x 3ʺ [15.6 x 2 x 7.6 cm]), then top with the Raspberry Jelly and the Vanilla Cake. Fill the mold with the remaining mousse, then freeze. 

Tree Trunk Base

  • 500g Couverture Dark Chocolate
  • Tempered chocolate, melted, for brushing
  1. In a food processor, blitz in some of the couverture chocolate a little at a time until it is a smooth, pliable paste.
  1. Roll the paste so that it resembles a tree trunk, then brush it with melted tempered dark chocolate to give the tree bark texture.
  1. Roll some twigs to stick onto the tree trunk with melted tempered dark chocolate, and repeat the process of brushing the twigs with chocolate to give them texture.

Dark Chocolate Coating for Pot

  • Tempered Dark Chocolate, as needed
  • Cocoa powder, as needed
  1. Once the mousse has set, dip each mold into the tempered dark chocolate to create coating and let it set, then brush It on the outer layer to give some texture. If you want, brush the pot with cocoa powder to give it a rustic feel.

Chocolate Soil

  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g superfine granulated sugar
  • 200 g almond meal
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat until brown. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  1. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, almond meal,and cocoa powder. Pour the brown butter into the dry mixture and mix well. 

Pashmak Fairy Floss

  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 tsp raspberry extract
  • 1 drop pink food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • Cornstarch, for dusting working surface
  1. Place the sugar, water, raspberry extract and food coloring in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar and stir slowly until the mixture thickens. Place the sugar mixture in a heatproof container and let it cool.
  1. Once the sugar mixture reaches room temperature, remove it from the container.
  1. Sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch onto a baking sheet. Roll the sugar mixture in the cornstarch and dust off the excess starch. Burrow a hole into the center of the sugar mixture using your finger or a chopstick, using gentle pressure, create a larger circle. Keep the sugar mixture a consistent thickness around the edges. When the rope become long, twist it into a figure eight and bring the two halves together. Next, start pulling the mixture. Then twist your hand and the sugar mixture and continue pulling until the strands are long. And repeat for 10 to 14 turns, and it should look like threads.


  • Micro herbs
  • Edible flowers
  1. Place the Chocolate Soil onto the Pot Dessert, then place the Chocolate Tree on it.
  1. Gently arrange the Pashmak Fairy Floss on the tree. Garnish the soil with some micro herbs and edible flowers.

About Gunawan Wu

Gunawan Wu is the pastry chef and owner of Enchanté Patisserie, Jakarta, Indonesia. He has always been interested in the arts since he was a child, so when he started working in the pastry kitchen, he discovered his true passion: putting art on the plate. He sees the plate as a blank canvas on which to express his creativity. His signature style is to include the WOW factor not only in the design of the dessert but also in the elements and flavors within it.

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