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"Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 2)


Patrick S
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Moderator note: The original "Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: "Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 1)]

Continuing with the chocolate-caramel theme, I made the chocolate-caramel mousse from Desserts by Pierre Herme. This mousse has a whipped cream base, into which is folded melted into bittersweet chocolate+caramel sauce. Very sweet, and very delicious.

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Edited by Mjx (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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One of the main reasons for me buying this book was the Plaisir Sucré. Actually, the first time I even heard of Pierre Hermé was when I was reading a food blog and saw pictures of a Plaisir Sucré. That made me determined that I wanted to make one.

Now, I've finally gotten around to doing it. Some pictures and description below. It was really a great dessert, and not that difficult to make either (it is a bit time consuming as there are several different components, but each component in itself is fairly simple). The things that required the most work was the chocolate sheets (first time tempering chocolate...).

Since I had just bought a number of circular cutting thingies I decided I wanted to make round Plaisirs instead of rectangular.

The first picture shows the daquiose discs with the praline on them and being piped with ganache:

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In the next picture the ganache, a sheet of chocolate, more ganache, another sheet of chocolate and the chocolate whipped cream are present, and the final sheet of chocolate is being put in place:

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The final plated desserts are shown below. The chocolate sauce from the Plaisir Sucré recipe is on the plate, then the Plaisir itself in the top left corner of the plate. The truffels are the caramel choclate truffle, and the milk chocolate and passion fruit truffle (this one turned out way too soft, so I had to keep it in the freezer, and also really really sweet, so dusting it with cocoa was better than with confectioner's sugar), and in the bottom right corner there is a raspberry, strawberry, and kiwi mousse.

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A few more pictures of the dessert below:

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All in all, it was a fun dessert to make.

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Thornado, they are beautiful!!!! I've been wanting to try that one but the fear of tempering has kept me away. Any advise? I'd hate to destroy expensive chocolate. :biggrin: When the recipe calls for scoring, did you use your round cutter?

Once again, fabulous job!

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That looks great, Patrick and Thornado!

Thornado, who were the lucky recipients of those plated desserts? Was it a special occasion, or just a dinner party?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Thornado, they are beautiful!!!! I've been wanting to try that one but the fear of tempering has kept me away. Any advise? I'd hate to destroy expensive chocolate.  :biggrin: When the recipe calls for scoring, did you use your round cutter?

Once again, fabulous job!

Tempering wasn't that difficult, it was mostly time consuming... Especially the first time I did it as I melted all my chocolate and didn't have any seed chocolate to bring the temperature down with, so it took forever for it to cool to the correct temperature. When reheating the chocolate, you might also want to remove it from heat slightly before it reaches the target temperature. As I was melting it in a metal bowl over water, the bowl got heated and continued to heat the chocolate after removing it from the heat, i.e., easy to overshoot the target temperature.

Yes, I used the cutter when the recipe said to score the chocolate. By making round sheets instead of rectangular ones, you will of course get a lot of "left over" chocolate in between the rounds, but this can be used for the other parts of the recipe (or, even better, you can keep those around for the rest of your baking session and snack on them every now and then...).

Thornado, who were the lucky recipients of those plated desserts?  Was it a special occasion, or just a dinner party?

No special occasion, and no dinner either (who needs dinner, when you can have good desserts? :biggrin: ). Just some friends coming over.

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Thornado, they are beautiful!!!! I've been wanting to try that one but the fear of tempering has kept me away. Any advise?

I would recommend using a relatively inexpensive, high quality chocolate like Callebaut(I buy it for $2.83/#), and work with it in # quantities. I usually temper 2 or 3# of chocolate at a time using a double boiler, a digital thermometer and an ice bath. I had a lot more problems with the tempering process when I used to try to work with small quantities of chocolate (<1#).

Edited by R Washburn (log)
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R Washburn, thank you very much for the advice! I would hate to ruin $20 of chocolate in the name of experimentation. :laugh: Do you use acetate? If so, where do you buy it? Thx for your help!

Edited by Mel (log)
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I would hate to ruin $20 of chocolate in the name of experimentation.

As long as you don't scorch it, or get water in it so that it seizes, you can save what's leftover, or the whole batch if you can't temper it, or lose your temper :wink: Spread it out on a piece of parchment to set up, and then it can be chopped and used for other baking (anywhere you're going to need melted chocolate in a recipe).

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Wow, everyone's desserts look amazing. I had a copy of this book but unfortunately lost it to someone else in the process of moving *ahem*

I'd love to get another copy and start baking from it again - I really want to make the pave Faubourg next. I have made the Nutella tart, the chocolate mousse, and... um... I know there was something else but I'm drawing a blank right now. The tart is to die for. I don't bake it anymore because I'd eat half of it still warm and the other half for breakfast the next morning. :hmmm:

I also made a "turtle" version of the nutella tart with caramel on the bottom, toasted pecans on the top... that was excellent.

Jennie

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jgarner53- it seems you can just keep re-tempering the chocolate until you get it right? does parchment work as well as acetate? reading these strings always makes me hungry..... :laugh:

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Yes, Mel, you can keep re-tempering the chocolate until you get it right. But I think there's probably a limit to that (I've gone back and forth on the temp thing about 5 or 6 times before finally nailing the temper). But when you have leftover tempered chocolate, or leftover melted chocolate for whatever reason, just spread it onto the parchment. The chocolate won't stick to it. Acetate, is fine, too. I'm not even neat about it (since it will just get broken up again anyway)

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I tried the chocolate sparklers tonight. They're pretty good. I think I like them better than the Korova cookies, and I definitely like them better than the chocolate sables. I rolled them in turbinado like Elie, and I baked them for 14 minutes.

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"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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We finally made those damn macaroons.. Using the silpat helped alot.. Cant wait to experiment with differnent flavors.. The whites sat for 72 hours...

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Trick or treat smell our feet..

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Nice macarons Daniel, that filling looks luscious. (I just ate a Herme noir amer macaron myself)

Patrick, I'm surpirsed you like the sparklers more than the korovas. It's funny, when I first made the sparklers I didn't like them at all and now they've really grown on me. Glad someone else enjoys them too.

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Hey everyone...so glad I found this thread. I noticed at a store today they were selling what looked a heck of a lot like the Concorde and it reminded me that I haven't baked in a while. The chocolate sparklers are among my favorite cookies. Seeing the cake in the store made me want to try it. I'm not the most experienced home baker so it was encouraging to hear the success stories with this cake. And if you are wondering what your efforts are worth, they were selling it for $45. I didn't have easy access to everything I'd need or the time to pick stuff up so I made my first attempt at the chocolate-lemon caramels instead. I was unsure about the lemon surivivng that much cooking so I'm not surprised to hear from everyone that the taste doesn't really come through. I'm not sure if mine will be as soft as others' because they got pretty hot while caramelizing, well above soft ball temps. They are cooling now and I'll report back how they came out.

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Sparklers and Hazelnut Dacquoise today--great reviews from the recipients, but I'm not quite happy with the results. (A complicating factor is that I don't eat sweets, so all of the feedback I get is second-hand.)

So, Sparklers. I have never had a hole in the middle of formed cookies before, but being warned about it seems to have jinxed me. Not a big deal, but not the perfect cookies in the book or Patrick's photos. Brushing with yolk and then rolling in crystal sugar was not as successful as I'd hoped--that only a small amount of yolk would dissolve the crystal sugar was a surprise, but less wasn't doing the job of cementing the sugar to the cookie. I froze about half the batch, so I'll try again later--any suggestions will be welcomed!

Dacquoise: Rave reviews with much "mmm mmm'ing" so I'm pretty confident that the end result was at least a B+ (but I want an A+!). I started with some toasted hazelnut and almond flours I'd gotten from King Arthurs. Ran them through the Cuisinart with the sugar, as suggested, but never got them to the consistency of flour. Started to push through strainer, but without much luck. Given the time constraints, I abandoned the straining in favor of moving forward with the whole recipe. The meringue had really deflated by the time I got to the second disk. It didn't seem to affect the enjoyment of the dessert, but I'd been anticipating a little more height.

Peeling hazelnuts. My DH picked up some roasted hazelnuts for me. About 1/3 of the nuts were peeled, so I toasted 2/3 c. of those. At the same time, I thought I'd try the "boil with baking soda" method to get the skin off some of the others. Warning: use a bigger pot than you expect to need--there was some significant boil-over, leaving a lovely white deposit baked to the burner. The process worked fine for getting the skins off, so I toasted them for a while to get a good comparison. Word from the family is that the boiled ones were disgusting--soggy, and not nut-like. Will experiment with the "toasting and rubbing" method, although previous attempts with pistachios don't give me much hope.

No photos, but I don't think I'm ready for prime time yet, anyway! :rolleyes:

Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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When I make the Sparklers I generally have to pat some sugar to cover the bald spots of the initial roll. I use demerara sugar and haven't had a problem with it sticking. The sugar on the bottom of the roll gets a little moist by the time I finish cutting so I try to move fast.

After my concern about the caramels being too hard, they were way too soft. And also sort of oily to the touch as if all of the fat hadn't been incorporated. Is that common when they are undercooked? Should I cut back on butter in my next attempt? They tasted wonderfully (but no discernable lemon) and I'll use them as a middle layer for some brownies where shape won't matter.

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I started with some toasted hazelnut and almond flours I'd gotten from King Arthurs.  Ran them through the Cuisinart with the sugar, as suggested, but never got them to the consistency of flour.  Started to push through strainer, but without much luck.  Given the time constraints, I abandoned the straining in favor of moving forward with the whole recipe.  The meringue had really deflated by the time I got to the second disk. 

To explain: If you bought almond flour and or hazelnut flour thru a reliable source like King Arthur, what you recieved was those flours. They wouldn't need to be processed further.

The instructions where your supposed to process the nuts with the sugar is to make the flour. But if you bought nut flour, you wouldn't need to process it further so you'd pass that part of the recipe.

Nut flours are not as fine as other flours. They are indeed rather course and will not sift thru a strainer completely.

The part where you say your meringue started to deflate before you piped out the second disk...........my guess would be that you either didn't whip your eggs stiff enough before you folded in your nut flour or you over mixed in your flour deflating your batter.

You really didn't make any obvious mistakes....I think I made both when I began.

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After my concern about the caramels being too hard, they were way too soft.  And also sort of oily to the touch as if all of the fat hadn't been incorporated.  Is that common when they are undercooked?  Should I cut back on butter in my next attempt?

The caramels are supposed to be very soft. Mine were just firm enough to hold their shape at room temperature. Actually, even at room temperature, they would spread out a little bit. If you look at the pics I posted in post #77 on page 3 of this thread, particularly the upper left hand pic, you can see what happened when I stacked 3 caramel pieces. They slowly, over the course of a few minutes, slumped over. That's how I like them, super-soft, almost gooey. I've even made some caramels that were so soft you had to keep them in the fridge, because at room temp they were like a really thick caramel sauce. If you want a firmer caramel, I would try cooking to a higher temp and/or adding less butter.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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The caramels are supposed to be very soft.  Mine were just firm enough to hold their shape at room temperature. Actually, even at room temperature, they would spread out a little bit. If you look at the pics I posted in post #77 on page 3 of this thread, particularly the upper left hand pic, you can see what happened when I stacked 3 caramel pieces. They slowly, over the course of a few minutes, slumped over. That's how I like them, super-soft, almost gooey. I've even made some caramels that were so soft you had to keep them in the fridge, because at room temp they were like a really thick caramel sauce. If you want a firmer caramel, I would try cooking to a higher temp and/or adding less butter.

They are certainly tasty but it makes it hard to bring them someplace to share and I can't eat all this stuff myself! (OK- I probably could but that wouldn't be the best idea) I'm going to try another batch tonight and cut back a little on the butter and go to a slightly higher temperature.

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The chocolate caramels came out wonderfully this time using 2/3 the butter and going 2 degrees higher. Still no discernable taste of the lemon and I added the zest at the end as others suggested trying. It would be interesting to try without and compare to see what sort of background note it gives the candy. I also made the fleur de sel caramels mentioned in another thread to get a handle on the color of the caramel as Wendy suggested. The folks at work will eat well today.

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I'm no expert on this subject, but I think the firmness of caramels must depend on more variables than just the temperature at which you pull them off the burner. I'm guessing the surface area of the pan in use and the heat level/time it takes to reach the target temperature are also factors. I pulled mine off at the specified temperature and I don't think mine were nearly as soft as yours, Patrick.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I tried the chocolate sparklers tonight. They're pretty good. I think I like them better than the Korova cookies, and I definitely like them better than the chocolate sables. I rolled them in turbinado like Elie, and I baked them for 14 minutes.

I also tried the chocolate sparklers. I loved the flavour, but had a great deal of difficulty keeping them in a log shape - they were very crumbly. I refrigerated them overnight, and when I sliced them then crumbled very easily - not nice a even like Patrick's.

I was concerned about overmixing as per the instructions, so perhaps I did not mix enough?

Will make them again if I can figure out what I did wrong, as I liked the flavours.

Life is short, eat dessert first

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