I have been planning on a blackforest project for the longest time. In fact, the frozen cherries have been sitting in my freezer for more than 6 months! Somehow, every time I wanted to get down to it, another seemingly more interesting project just popped up and grabbed my attention. Boy, the number of blackforest recipes I have bookmarked and read and studied is beyond any other types of recipe. Finally, for this Valentine’s day project, I finally made up my mind to give it a try. Plus, it is cherry season from Australia, so there were plenty of sweet cherries at very reasonable prices.
This is an amalgamation of multiple recipes. I used this recipe for the cherry gelée, this for the chocolate mousse, this one for the flourless chocolate sponge and my favourite white chocolate mirror glaze recipe, It was not as successful as I was expecting and I actually ended up throwing away almost half the cakes as the cherry gelée was not set enough and started weeping at room temperature. Afterwards, I read that in order to use gelatine to set certain fruit gelée, it will help to bring the fruit puree to a boil to inactivate bromelain which prevents the gelatine from setting. It was very sad to see all that yummy chocolate cake and mousse going down the bin, but at least I learnt an important lesson.
Makes approximately 16 mini cakes (I ended up throwing half away)
For the flourless chocolate sponge
86g unsalted butter
60g dark chocolate couverture, with 70% cocoa butter
60g ground almond
3 eggs, separated
112g granulated sugar
1) Preheat oven to 175C (fan).
2) Line a 20cm x 29cm sheet tray with parchment paper and spray with non stick cooking oil.
3) Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
4) Stir in ground almond.
5) Stir in egg yolks
6) Whip egg whites slowly until they start to foam. Add sugar and whip on high to soft peak.
7) Fold meringue into chocolate mixture.
8) immediately after mixing, empty onto sheet tray and bake at 175C (fan) for 8-10 min until cake appears to pull away slightly from the sides.
9) Let cake cool sligtly. Cover top with parchment and place another sheet tray on top and invert the cake so the bottom is now the top. Gently remove parchment paper from the top of the cake.
10) Cut out the desired shapes using a cookie cutter. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
For the cherry gelée
400g pitted frozen cherries, thawed
2 tablespoons kirsch
50g granulated sugar
5 gelatine sheets
1) Mix the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook this syrup for 5 minutes then remove from heat and stir in the cherries. Let them marinate overnight.
2) Pour the cherry mixture into a blender and puree until smooth. Sieve mixture through a fine sieve, extracting as much liquid as possible.
3) Pour the cherry liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow it to boil for 2 to 3 minutes then remove from heat and stir in the kirsch.
4) Bloom the gelatine sheets in cold water. Then stir into the warm cherry liquid until gelatine sheets are melted.
5) Pour the cherry liquid into the cling film lined pan (I used the same pan as the one for the chocolate sponge) and freeze for 1 hour.
6) When the gelée is set and frozen, remove it from the pan and cut it using the same cutter as the chocolate sponge. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
For the chocolate mousse
2 large eggs
50g granulated sugar
240ml whole milk
3 gelatine sheets
170g dark chocolate couverture, chopped
360ml cold heavy whipping cream
1) Beat eggs and granulated sugar with your mixer for about 3 minutes, until volume has at least doubled.
2) Heat whole milk in a small saucepan until little bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan.
3) With mixer on low pour the hot milk into the egg mixture slowly until combined.
4) Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and over low heat, stir for five minutes constantly until thickened. Do not boil.
5) Bloom gelatine sheets in cold water. Squeeze out the water, remove milk mixture from heat and add the gelatine sheets. Stir until melted.
6) Pour hot mixture into chocolate and stir until melted.
7) Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, until chilled, stirring occasionally.
8) When the mixture is completely chilled and firm use your whisk attachment on your stand mixer to whip the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
9) Remove chocolate from fridge and using the paddle attachment or a spoon fold/stir the whipped cream into the chocolate until incorporated and smooth.
10) Store covered with cling film in the fridge under ready for assembly. Make sure to push the film firming on the mousse to prevent skin from forming.
For the white chocolate mirror glaze
85g heavy cream
15g corn syrup
130g good quality white chocolate, melted
2g gelatine bloomed in 1 tbsp cold water then melted
12g vegetable oil
Few drops of red food gel colouring
1) Bring to boil the heavy cream, water & corn syrup.
2) Pour over slowly to the melted white chocolates.
3) Using a ballon whisk constantly whisk to combine, it will look curdle as soon as you add the liquid to the chocolate, but keep stirring and it will come together like thick syrup.
4) Once this is all combined add the soften gelatine and whisk until it has all dissolved then gradually the oil. This gives it a lovely shimmer and loosen it up.
5) Add food colour to the colour you wish to achieve or jam.
6) This glaze is ready to coat on a chilled cake when it is really thick, it should look like glucose syrup.
To assemble (I used heart-shaped silicon molds)
1) Pour in about 20g of chocolate mousse into each mold.
2) Put in a slice of the cherry gelée.
3) Pout in more chocolate mousse until mold is almost filled
4) Press a slice of the chocolate sponge to fill up the mold, scrapping away the overflowing mousse.
5) Leave to set in the freezer overnight,
6) Glaze cakes with white chocolate mirror glaze after unmolding.
It looks like there is quite a fair number of components, but when made separately, it is really not as difficult as it seems. Just before serving, top each cake with some whipped cream and a cherry. I trust this makes a nice little Valentine’s day treat.