Week 96: Chocolate praline entremet

 A good friend asked me to make a cake for his wife’s birthday. His wife apparently likes a “cake with some crunch”. Haha. I guess he is referring to an entremet, with a feuilletine layer, covered with mousse. “And she likes praline.”

It has been a while since I last made a chocolate entremet, and I kind of missed the process. So I was looking forward to making this cake. Instead of the original brownie cake layer, I decided to go with a flourless chocolate cake instead, considering my recent obsession with the delicious flourless chocolate cake from my favourite bakery.

Makes a 6-inch round cake

For the hazelnut praline

50g blanched whole hazelnuts

50g caster sugar

1) Prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment.

2) Toast the hazelnuts using a frying pan until nuts are slightly browned and is starting to release the nutty fragrance. Allow to cool.

3) Meanwhile, spread the caster sugar evenly in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook until sugar has melted and has turned dark amber.

4) Add toasted nuts to the caramel and stir until nuts are evenly coated with caramel.

5) Pour caramelized nuts onto the prepared baking tray and allow to cool completely.

6) Using a nuts grinder, grind the caramelised hazelnuts until fine. Do not overdo as it will turn into a paste.

7) Store in an airtight container until ready to use. This recipe will make more praline than is required for this cake.

For the flourless chocolate cake

57g unsalted butter

40g dark chocolate couverture (> 70% cocoa butter)

40g ground almond

2 large eggs, separated

65g granulated sugar

1) Preheat oven to 165C fan

2) Lightly grease and line a 5-inch round cake tin with parchment paper

3) Melt butter and chocolate together in a Bain-Marie

4) Remove from heat and stir in ground almond

5) Then, stir in egg yolks

6) Whip egg whites using stand mixer until they start to foam. Add sugar and whip on high to soft peak

7) Fold meringue into chocolate mixture

8) Immediately pour mixture into cake tin and bake for about 35 mins in preheated oven. If the top of your cake gets too dark, cover it loosely with tin foil. The cake is cooked when the top has sunk and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

9) Let cake cool sligtly then invert onto a large piece of cling wrap. Wrap tightly and store in freezer until required.

For the Praliné Feuilletée, chocolate cremeux and dark chocolate mousse recipes, refer here. I substituted hazelnut praline for the whole hazelnuts for the Praliné Feuilletée and stirred in 15g of hazelnut praline into the chocolate cremeux just before pouring it in to the tin to set. I also substituted the gelatine powder with 2 gelatine sheets, as I didn’t want to add more liquid into the cremeux. I used the reverse assembly method this time which is slightly different but using the same tools.

To assemble

1) Wrap one opening of a 6″ by 2″ cake ring tightly with cling wrap, making sure there are no crease in the cling wrap stretched over the opening. Place the cake ring, wrapped side down, onto a flat tray. Then, line the inside of the cake ring with acetate liner.

2) Scoop some chocolate mousse into the cake ring, just enough to cover the entire cling wrapped surface.

3) Place the chocolate cremeux layer on the mousse layer, make sure it is centered.

4) Pour a bit of chocolate mousse over the cremeux and using a mixing spoon, spread the mousse so that it fills the sides of the cake ring around the cremeux layer.

5) Place the praliné feuilletine layer over the cremeux layer and press down so that it sticks to the top of the cremeux.

6) Pour a bit of chocolate mousse over the praliné feuilletine layer and using a mixing spoon, spread the mousse so that it fills the sides of the cake ring.

7) Measure the remaining height from the top of the mousse layer to the top of the cake ring. Slice the flourless chocolate cake to the same thickness.

8) Place the flourless chocolate cake layer over the praliné feuilletée layer and press down so that it sticks to the top of the praliné feuilletée layer.

9) Pour the rest of the mousse around the flourless chocolate cake and scrap it so it is even with the cake layer. You will have excess chocolate mousse as result. Put this chocolate mousse aside for now.

10) Immediately place the assembled entremet into the freezer and freeze overnight.

11) The next day, unmould the entremet from the cake ring. If there is any hole in the top or sides, patch it using the leftover mousse. Once smoothened, immediately place entremet back into freezer.

12) Finally, I glazed the frozen cake with my trusted chocolate mirror glaze, chopped about 15g of toasted hazelnuts to line the bottom edge of the cake and topped with gold leaf.

I had a bit of problems folding the chocolate mousse and ended up with chocolate specks, and for some reason thought it would be okay to whip it using the stand mixer. It was not okay! At just 3 seconds, the air was whipped out of the mousse and it became a runny mess. Fortunately, after chilling in the freezer for about 10 minutes, and re-whipped, it became light and airy again. Phew.

The flourless chocolate cake recipe above also made more cake than you will use here. What do you do with the remaining cake? Eat it, of course! It is quite delicious on its own. I do like how classy this simple cake looks. Maybe I shall make myself one for my birthday, potentially spiked with lots of alcohol.

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