Praline is a tricky ingredient to incorporate into an entremet due to its high sugar content. After a lot of research and testing, plus indispensible advice and recipe sharing from a good friend, I finally came up with a combination that balances sweetness and flavours, with a special accent on the hazelnut praline.
And thus came the creation “hazelnut praline dream”, a mini birthday cake for a big fan of praline.
Makes 5 x 7cm round petit gâteau
For the mocha namelaka
1 gelatine leaf
6g cold water
70g dark chocolate couverture
25g milk chocolate couverture
50g whole milk
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1g unsweetened cocoa powder
5g liquid glucose
100g cold heavy cream
1) Cut the gelatine leaves into small pieces and allow to bloom in the cold water.
2) Melt the chocolates in a large bowl over a bain-marie.
3) Put the milk, instant coffee, cocoa powder and glucose into heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to 90C.
4) Remove the milk mixture from the heat and stir in the gelatine and the soaking liquid until melted.
5) Pour half the milk mixture into the melted chocolate and stir until well mixed. Then add the rest of the liquid and stir well.
6) Add the cold cream, and using a hand blender to process until smooth.
7) Divide mixture equally between 5 domes in a medium-sized silicon dome mold. Set aside in freezer overnight.
For the hazelnut feuilletine
30g milk chocolate couverture
20g pure hazelnut paste
20g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped finely
30g pâté feuilletine
1) Draw 5 circles of 7cm diameter on a piece of parchment paper.
2) Melt the chocolate and hazelnut paste in a Bain-Marie.
3) Gently stir the chopped hazelnuts and feuilletine into melted chocolate mixture.
4) Divide the feuilletine crunch into 5 portions and spread each portion according to the prepared circles.
5) Allow to chill in the refrigerator until required.
For the hazelnut joconde
84g blanched hazelnut, finely ground
84g icing sugar, sifted
29g cake flour
62g whole eggs
62g egg whites, at room temperature
11g granulated sugar
20g melted clarified beurre noisette
2 pinch of fleur de sel
1) Prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking tin lined with baking parchment.
2) Preheat convection oven to 215C.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the ground hazelnuts, icing sugar and cake flour. Whisk by hand until well-mixed.
4) Pour in the whole eggs and whisk using the whisk attachment on high until mixture is pale and voluminous.
5) In a clean mixer bowl, pour in egg whites and granulated sugar, and whisk until stiff and shiny.
6) Gently fold the meringue into the hazelnut mixture in 2 batches.
7) Add the fleur de sel into the melted clarified butter then scoop about 3 tablespoons of the hazelnut mixture into the butter. Whisk to lighten the butter mixture. Then pour it back into the hazelnut mixture and fold to incorporate.
8) Gently spread the hazelnut mixture onto th prepared baking tin. Try to get an even layer but do not deflate the batter.
9) Bake for 5 to 8 mins in the preheated oven. Cake is done when it springs back when pressed gently.
For the frangelico syrup
1) Bring water and sugar to a boil and stir until sugar is fully dissolved.
2) Remove from heat and stir in the frangelico.
For the coffee glaze
200g neutral white chocolate mirror glaze
1/2 tsp coffee extract
1/4 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 tsp water
1) Gently heat the mirror glaze until glaze is pourable, but be careful not to burn it. To be safe, glaze should be heated on a Bain-Marie.
2) Remove half the glaze into a separate container.
3) Add the coffee extract, coffee and a small drop of yellow colouring into one portion of glaze. Stir to mix evenly.
4) Just below using, pour the coffee glaze into the neutral glaze and stir lightly to marble.
For the praline mousse
300g heavy cream, very cold
2 gelatine leaves
80g pure hazelnut paste
120g hazelnut praline paste 60% (60% hazelnuts)
100g whole milk
1) Whip the cold heavy cream until stiff peaks, scrap into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
2) Bloom the gelatine leaves in cold water.
3) Add hazelnut and praline paste to milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan. On low heat, stir mixture until fully incorporated and remove from heat.
4) Squeeze extra liquid out of gelatine leaves and stir into hazelnut mixture until fully dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
5) Gently fold whipped cream into hazelnut mixture in 2 batches, keeping it airy. Use immediately.
5 x 8cm round pâté friable
1) Prepare 5 x 7cm by lining the rings with acetate and wrap one opening of the ring with cling wrap.
2) Place the rings, cling wrap side down on a flat tray.
3) Cut 5 x 7cm joconde rounds and soak generously with the frangelico syrup.
4) Spoon in 40g of praline mousse and spread it to cover the entire base and up the sides of the ring.
5) Unmold one of the frozen mocha namelaka dome and place it, round side down, into the mousse, pressing down lightly to ensure sides are filled with mousse.
6) Spoon another 25g praline mousse to cover the dome and the sides of the cake rings.
7) Place a joconde round, soaked side down in the middle of the ring, followed by a feuilletine crunch layer, pressing down so it is level with the edge of the cake ring.
8) Repeat for all 5 cake rings then freeze overnight.
9) Remove the frozen cake and glaze with coffee glaze before placing each glazed cake on the prepared pâté friable base.
This is my favourite hazelnut praline creation to date. The taste of the praline is quite pronounced, which the coffee and dark chocolate helps to ensure it is not overly sweet. In particular, I love the praline mousse and the hazelnut joconde. I never imagine joconde to be delicious but this one is really scrumptious. I am left with quite a fair amount of both components though so it looks like I will be making this again in the not-so-far future.