HomeRecipesHazelnut, Saffron & Chocolate Entremet by Chef Ruchit Harneja

Hazelnut, Saffron & Chocolate Entremet by Chef Ruchit Harneja

Sponsored by Ghirardelli

This indulgent cake harmonizes the richness of Ghirardelli chocolates with the alluring charm of saffron. A dark chocolate mud cake is layered with a black pepper cremeux and a chocolate-saffron mousse, with hazelnut dragées and a praline croustillant adding texture and crunch.

Yield: one 9ʺ (23 cm) entremet

Chocolate Mud Cake

  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g water
  • 20 g glucose syrup
  • 60 g Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Couverture
  • 120 g unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 135 g all-purpose flour
  • 15 g Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder
  • 4 g baking soda

1. Boil the sugar, water and glucose together in a saucepan. Stir in chocolate and butter. Put in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until the temperature cools down a bit. Mix in the eggs one by one. Once the mixture is at room temperature, add the dry ingredients. Pour into an 8ʺ (20 cm) round cake ring. Bake at  338°F (170°C) for about 20 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 2 hours.

2. Chill the cake in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

Saffron Simple Syrup

  • 100 g water
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • A few threads of saffron

1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Add the saffron threads to the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to infuse the saffron flavor into the syrup.

2. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the syrup to cool completely.

Hazelnut Dragées

  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 25 g water
  • 225 g hazelnuts
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Couverture
  • 20 g Ghirardelli Majestic Premium Cocoa Powder

1. Boil the sugar and water together in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the hazelnuts and cook until the sugar starts to crystallize on top of the nuts. Remove from the heat and place in a pre-heated oven at 356°F (180°C) for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to another bowl.

2. Add the butter and allow it to cool down to 86°F (30°C).

3. Melt the dark chocolate to 86°F (30°C) and coat the crystallized hazelnuts. If possible, use a dragée coating machine to ensure an even and smooth coating. Encrust immediately with cocoa powder and allow the chocolate to solidify. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Praline Croustillant

  • 30 g hazelnut praline paste
  • 55 g hazelnut crumble
  • 20 g cereal flakes

1. Mix the hazelnut paste with the other ingredients.

2. Cast a thin layer into an 8ʺ (20 cm) cake ring and reserve in refrigerator.

Black Pepper & Chocolate Cremeux

  • 35 g heavy cream
  • 150 g milk
  • 5 g black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 20 g granulated sugar
  • 45 g egg yolk
  • 90 g Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Couverture

1. Cook the cream and milk to 194°F (90°C). Add the peppercorns and allow to infuse for 5 minutes.

2. Strain and weigh the resulting liquid. Add milk to readjust to 190 g.

3. Start making a crème anglaise by cooking the infusion along with the sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over the egg yolks. Ensure correct pasteurization.

4. Gradually pour over the couverture and emulsify.

Saffron & Chocolate Mousse

  • A few threads of saffron
    65 g milk
  • 65 g heavy cream
  • 170 g Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Couverture
  • 240 g semi-whipped cream

1. Combine the saffron, milk and heavy cream and allow to steep for 12 hours in refrigerator to extract flavor and color out of saffron.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil. Gradually pour over the couverture and emulsify correctly to obtain a smooth glossy ganache.

3. Fold the semi whipped cream into the chocolate mixture at 104°F (40°C). Gently mix and assemble the cake immediately.

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

  • 4 gelatin sheets (silver)
  • 45 g water
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 75 g glucose syrup
  • 75 g Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Couverture
  • 50 g sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 g yellow food coloring
  • 30 g nappage

1. Soak the gelatin in ice water.

2. In a pot, bring the water, sugar and glucose to a boil (217°F/103°C). Add the soaked gelatin, chocolate, condensed milk and yellow food coloring. Mix with a hand blender and add the nappage. Use at 95°F (35°C).

Chocolate Decor

  • 100 g Ghirardelli White Chocolate Couverture
  • 1 g fat-soluble orange food coloring
  • 1 g fat-soluble yellow food coloring

1. Melt the white chocolate and blend in yellow and orange coloring using an immersion blender.

2. Temper the chocolate and pour in Silikomart “Alveole 9” silicone honeycomb décor molds and allow to crystallize.

3. Once set, unmold and set aside.


Assembly for Insert

1. Begin by slicing the cake into two equal layers and evenly soaking each layer with saffron simple syrup.

2. Take an 8ʺ (20 cm) cake ring and line it with plastic wrap. Place a layer of the mud cake soaked with syrup at the base.

3. Divide the Black Pepper & Chocolate Cremeux in half, pouring one part onto the layer of mud cake within the cake ring. Arrange a complete layer of Hazelnut Dragées on top of the cremeux.

4. Add the second layer of mud cake, then pour the second half of the cremeux over it. Place the Praline Croustillant crisp on top of this layer. Freeze for 8 hours.

5. Gently remove the cake ring from the insert using a culinary torch.

Final Assembly

  • Gold leaf
  • Saffron threads

1. Prepare a 9ʺ (23 cm) cake ring by lining it with plastic wrap.

2. While it’s still flowy, pour the Saffron & Chocolate Mousse into the cake ring. Carefully position the insert in the center of the mousse, ensuring even coverage on all sides. Freeze for 8 hours.

3. Remove the cake ring using a culinary torch.

4. Adjust the temperature of the glaze to 95°F (35°C) and blend it with an immersion blender, making certain no bubbles are incorporated. Apply the glaze immediately over the entremet.

5. Garnish the top with the honeycomb chocolate décor.

6. Use the same tempered orange chocolate to craft a decorative chocolate ribbon on an acetate cake collar, and wrap the sides of the entremet with it.

7. Complete the presentation with a garnish of gold leaf and saffron threads.

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

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