Hi everyone, hope you all had a great Memorial Day Weekend! Summer is here and the time is right..for dancing..in…the…STOP ME. OK, to let’s get to the good stuff.
SO, I needed a dessert; a really impressive dessert for some very special people in my life, and for a guest post for a fellow blogger (link below for recipe). I wracked my brain relentlessly for days; ideas running the gamut from banana verrines to a savory, layered torta milanese (
coming soon it’s here!) which I love. I wanted it to be something incredibly decadent with a bit of a ‘WoWza’ factor.
That being said, obviously you’ve noticed these cute, little cakes. Well, this is what I made. DRUM ROLL, please…
Chocolate Panna Cotta – Berry Mousse Cakes with Toasted Hazelnut Ganache
aka an entremet.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with entremets, the actual definition is the sweet course served after the cheese course. However, they’re mostly recognized as beautiful cakes layered with contrasting flavors and textures. I’ve pretty much been obsessed with entremets since I was 13 and saw a World Pastry Challenge on some local cable access station. Stunning, edible cakes of art, in all shapes and sizes, which when sliced open, reveal perfect layers of all kinds of goodies, from caramel to crunchy, to creamy, to ‘moussey’, to ‘cakey’ to crispy ..ad infinitum.
I couldn’t wait to get started on this entremet, and by Saturday night, I was already sketching out the details.
I know, a little messy. I tend to scribble scrabble when an idea starts growing legs,
That said, many scoff at the notion that entremets can actually be easy. Yes, there’s a lot of steps, but when taken one by one, you’d be amazed at how effortlessly it comes together. The main caveat is probably the setting time between some layers, and this is why I’m going to recommend using the freezer when building an entremet. Quicker setting, faster layering.
BUT, this time the freezer was briefly NOT my friend, aka, of course I ran into a bit of an issue.
When I poured on the mirror, it was THE BEST mirror glaze topping I’d ever produced. I could see my reflection clearly, right down to some brand spankin’ new smile lines (OH, goody – here come the wrinkles!) and it set almost immediately since the cake was frozen; a gorgeous sheet of shimmering ruby. I was thrilled to pieces, so thrilled in fact, that I had to put it back in the freezer just to ‘make sure’ it was perfectly set and ready to slice. Cut to one-half hour later…
My super, duper shiny berry puree mirror is now an effin’ purple ice skating rink.
I think I see Brian Boitano landing triple salchows. I needed to take photos immediately because there was only 20 more minutes of that perfect artificial light time, and a frozen sheet of purple ice would not do, so I grabbed my blowtorch, and like a mad scientist trying to set the world ablaze, I started ‘melting’ the ice rink (Brian screams). Much to my dismay, the mirror started to bubble slightly, a faint gurgle of death, even though I was using a light touch, so I stopped and decided to give it 15 more minutes of natural thaw in the humidity that’s hit the Northeast as of late. Well, I ruined it. It’s permanently scarred with bubbles, pockmarks, and weird dents, and, my photo taking time was gone.
Not to mention that the quick thaw resulted in slices that could barely stand on their own. Jiggly panna-cotta and mousse does not react well to quick freeze and defrost.
Live and learn.
To get my recipe for this amazing entremet, click on the link to Ask Chef Dennis at A Culinary Journey
I hope you all try this (don’t freeze the mirror glaze more than a few minutes!), because the taste and texture is amazing; rich and creamy, cakey, crunchy, light and fluffy all in one bite. Furthermore, the combination of blackberry, raspberry, chocolate and hazelnut, is divine!
Now..what most of you have eagerly been waiting for (well…sporadically waiting for, maybe?) The winners of my three year blogging anniversary giveaway. First off, I’d like to say it was fun reading what you eat at sporting events. The most popular were hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, funnel cakes, boiled peanuts, cotton candy, garlic fries (YUM), hot pretzels with mustard; the beverage of choice: diet pepsi. Siobhan brings a stash of peanut butter to dip her popcorn in! Love it! I’ll start with the two 14- piece cake decorating sets, and then work my way down to the 55 piece pastry tube set and food colors. The first winner of the first 14-piece cake set is, random Number 75 (can’t post the random integer photo because WordPress suddenly started bugging and won’t let me scroll bneath any other photo I post). Number 75 is Aparna E of notmyleaf.com! Congrats, Aparna! I will send you an email to get your info so I can send it out asap! The winner of the second 14 piece cake set is random Number 131. Number 131 is Amelia Zwiebel. Congrats, Amelia! Sending you an email to get your info so I can send it right out. And now the winner of the Ateco 55 piece pastry tube set and 12 bottles of food gel colors. The winner is random Number 9. Number 9 is, wow, Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen! She’s definitely going to put these to good use..check out her blog! Katrina, I’m sending you an email so I can get your info and mail it right out to you! Congratulations to all three winners! If someone does not respond to their emails within 72 hours, I will be choosing another winner for that prize, so stay tuned all, just in case!