Friday, March 21, 2008

Plaisir Sucre, obviously

If there are two things that are mentioned and cooked more than anything in the foodblogging world, it would be 1) matcha (or green tea) and 2) Pierre Herme. (I think bacon used in desserts is quickly working its way up on this list, but that’s for the future to tell). I went through a phase where I wanted to make something with matcha, I’ve seen everything from opera cakes to gelato with green tea as the secret ingredient, but then it passed as I felt it was just a fad. I think Pierre Herme is here to stay. I wonder if I he just recently gained wide, international recognition, or if I just happened to notice him recently. I think it’s the latter, but he seems to be everywhere now. Not only on some of my favorite foodblogs, but even at a serious cook/baker’s shop here in Barcelona. They had stacks and stacks of chocolate molds, cake tins, pounds of pistachio paste, and of course, a few hefty Pierre Herme cookbooks.

The dessert that I’ve seen most (or probably been most attracted to, as it combines my two favorite ingredients) is the plaisir sucre. It’s a wonderful layered bit of chocolate and hazelnut flavors. First thoughts: I can’t do that, it’s too difficult…you’ll see, just google it and there are some fancy pictures of his creation, and even perfect re-creations by other bloggers. Also, it uses milk chocolate. I’m a huge fan of milk chocolate, I’ve expanded to dark chocolate lately, I know it’s better for you and blah blah, but I’ve always loved rich milk chocolate. However, when baking, dark chocolate seems to be the norm and come out better, but the plaisir sucre used all milk chocolate. Third thought: do I have the proper ingredients or equipment? Yes, and no. I’ve mentioned ground hazelnuts that you can get in Germany, I’m stocked with 3 bags (well, now 2). Thank god for them. With the equipment though, I had to use my imagination. No piping bags? No problem. Cut the corner off a Ziploc bag and pipe away.

So yes, I ended up making the plaisir sucre, and it was very good. I think the best part (that received the most compliments) was the hazelnut dacquoise with the crunchy nutella topping. One thing I did change…I just couldn’t do layer upon layer of milk chocolate (milk chocolate nutella, milk chocolate ganache, milk chocolate sheet, ganache, sheet, milk chocolate whipped cream, and final milk chocolate sheet), so I threw in a few drops of orange oil and some dark chocolate to my ganache. I think it spiced things up a bit, good to experiment.

Oh, and it wasn’t that hard. Actually pretty easy for what you might expect at first sight. And remember, mine’s not perfect, but I worked with what I had.

Plaisir Sucre
From Pierre Herme, as seen on numerous other foodblogs

135 g hazelnut powder + halves/pieces of hazelnut (hazelnuts should be roasted and peeled) for topping
150 g powdered sugar
150 g egg whites
50 g granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 170 C and line large baking sheet with parchment. Mix hazelnut powder and powdered sugar together, then whip the egg whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar as you go, until it stiff. Fold in with the hazelnut mixture. Now pipe into a rectangle on the parchment (if it’s with a Ziploc bag, so be it). Sprinkle with more hazelnuts. Bake for about 25 minutes until starting to brown, and let cool on wire rack.

crunchy chocolate
200 g Nutella
50 g milk chocolate
30 g rice krispies
15 g butter

When the dacquoise is cool, melt the chocolate and butter and mix with the Nutella and rice krispies. Spread over dacquoise, cover with another layer of parchment, and freeze overnight.(I found I had to make more of this, so make sure you have extras of everything in case you need to put more on).

orange ganache
115 g cream
125 g milk chocolate
50 g dark chocolate
a drop or two of orange essence

Boil cream and pour over the chocolate, stirring until smooth, then add orange, continue to stir. Then let cool.

chocolate sheets
160 g milk chocolate

Temper and spread onto parchment paper, but not too thin b/c then it will break when trying to remove from parchment. When it starts setting, cut into little rectangles and keep in the fridge. (Try and keep all the rectangles the same size, and cut them how big you plan on cutting your dacquoise).
whipped chocolate cream
200 ml heavy cream
50-100 grams milk chocolate, melted

Whip the cream, until it has stiff peaks. Fold in the melted chocolate until everything is mixed well. Keep in fridge until you need it.
Now you’re ready to assemble everything. Take out your dacquoise from the freezer and cut into rectangles. Be careful, it is breakable, some of mine crumble, but if you insert the knife carefully, it should be ok. Now that you have your rectangles, spread them with a thin layer of ganache so that the chocolate sheet will stick. Now you guessed it, a chocolate sheet, ganache again, a chocolate sheet, and finally some blobs of whipped cream (if you have an actual pastry bag, you could pipe some onto it and it might look nicer, but I had already tossed my makeshift pastry bag, so I spooned it on). And the last step is to top it off with another chocolate rectangle sheet. Some people garnish it with a hazelnut, or the initials PH, but I just left it simple. I strongly urge you to make it if you have any interest in chocolate, hazelnut, chocolate and hazelnut, or desserts.

P.S. These are obviously two differenet plaisir sucres...I couldn't wait for the ganache to harden in the second one, and had to eat it, but in the first one you see the ganache fully set. I kind of like the texture and color contrast of the second one, though.

1 comment:

Arfi Binsted said...

oh my!! scrumptious! i can't resist chocolate temptation... i can feel the excitement in me whenever i look at your chocolate photos... *drooling*