Why "surprise"? Well...
So what the heck is an entremet, anyway? It used to be a small dish served between meals in Ye Olden Days, but now it's pretty much used to described any multi-layered, multi-textured dessert (usually with at least one type of mousse and often with a glossy "mirror" glaze). My strawberry chocolate entremet consists of a brownie base, a chocolate mousse, chocolate covered rice crispy things for texture, a strawberry cremeux insert and a strawberry mirror glaze, decorated with homemade tempered chocolate squares, curls and (not homemade) silver chocolate balls.
|(Tiny chocolate crispy things, also not homemade as that would be insane)|
Each step of this entremet is not particularly difficult to make, so long as you keep a light hand when making the mousse- it just has a lot of steps and takes freaking forever, especially when you take the setting time into account. I knew this as soon as I started drafting the recipe. However I'm never one to shy away from a challenge (as my matcha mousse latte cups proved).
Oddly, the first step is to make the final stage of assembly: the glaçage (mirror glaze). This is because when you make it, you also make lots of tiny, annoying bubbles. The whole point of the mirror glaze is, of course, to look mirror-like. To counter this, you need to make it, set it and then re-melt. I'd suggest making at least the mirror glaze the night before.
This recipe would make six small entremets- or in my case four with leftover mixture, as I only own four of the little pudding basins I used as moulds (which I also used for making matcha and strawberry lava cakes). Just layer up the leftover brownie, cremeux and mousse into little glasses for a standalone dessert.
Ready? Sure? Take a deep breath... here we go.
Strawberry Mirror Glaze
-100g caster sugar
-50g white chocolate, melted in 100ml double cream
-1.5tsp gelatin, soaked in 1tbsp water
-Strawberry essence and red food colouring
1) Bring the water and sugar to a boil, dissolving the sugar completely and boiling for about three minutes (making a simple syrup)
2) Dissolve the gelatin in the syrup
3) Stir well into the white chocolate cream mixture
4) Add flavour and colouring as required
5) Leave to cool completely and refrigerate overnight
|Evil bubbles just waiting to scupper your hard work: set first!|
Strawberry Cremeux Insert:
-100ml double cream
-100g strawberry puree
-1.5tsp gelatin soaked in 1tbsp water
-3tbsp caster sugar
-A few drops of strawberry essence and colouring (optional)
1) Heat the cream and puree in a small saucepan and dissolve the sugar in it. Now stir in the gelatin until full dissolved, add the colouring and essence, and take off the heat. Pour into moulds (I made mine with silver foil to make sure they'd fit during assembly) and freeze for at least two hours, or until frozen solid.
-45g unsalted butter
-60g caster sugar
-20g self raising flour
-40g plain flour
-100g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), melted
-1tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
-a pinch of salt
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line an 8 x 12" pan with baking paper and a little vegetable oil
2) Cream the butter ans sugar together, and beat the egg in
3) Stir in the flour, followed by the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt
|Look at that chocolate. LOOK AT IT. <3|
4) Spread thinly in the bottom of the pan
5) Bake for 8-10 minutes until a skewer just about comes out clean (don't leave the brownie in too long- it's thin so it'll cook fast!)
6) Leave to cool and use your moulds to mark/ stamp out for discs of brownie: cut around the discs so that they're a little smaller, remove and set aside.
-200g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), melted and cooled
-2 egg whites
-4tbsp caster sugar
-200ml double cream
-1.5tsp gelatin soaked in 1tbsp water
1) Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff white peaks and whisk the sugar in well to make a meringue
2) Bring the milk to a simmer, dissolve the gelatin in it and leave to cool a little
3) Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold the melted chocolate in
4) Using a balloon whisk, stir the gelatin milk into the egg whites, and fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate cream mixture
5) Begin assembly straight away
1) Spoon a couple of spoonfuls into the bottom of each mould so you have about an inch of mousse
2) Freeze for about half an hour
3) Pop a frozen strawberry cremeux block into each of the moulds
4) Cover with more mousse, leaving just less than an inch of space at the top
5) Sprinkle over some of your chocolate crispies
6) Firmly pack in a disc of brownie to form a lid (poke it in until some of the mousse starts squidging out to ensure it's fully sealed
7) Freeze solid for at least four hours before dipping each mould in hot water and turning each entremet out of the moulds (you may need to run a knife around the edges of the moulds to help the process along)
8) Pop the unmoulded entremets back into the freezer and retrieve your mirror glaze
9) Carefully melt the glaze in the microwave bit by bit until thick but pourable (let it cool a little if it gets too warm, you don't want to melt your mousse in the next step)
|I scooped the glaze straight into a heatproof measuring jug before melting|
10) Pop your frozen entremets onto a cooling tray sitting on a baking tray and pour over the glaze to coat (let set, scoop up the excess glaze and repeat a couple of times for a more even glaze). Once they've stopped dripping, transfer your entremets onto serving plates.
Now all that's left to do is make the chocolate decorations! I did these while waiting for the the glaze set as once you've tempered chocolate it sets quite fast. I'll probably create a separate tutorial on how I temper chocolate at some point as it's a skill in itself, but for now here's a brief version.
Tempered Chocolate Decorations:
-200g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids)
-Chocolate transfer sheets
-Plain acetate strips
1) I temper chocolate in the microwave: reserve about 50g of chocolate and very, very carefully, melt the rest of the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, going at 30 second bursts at 50% power, stirring in between each session. Do this until the chocolate is mostly melted but has a fair few large chunks still floating around. Keep stirring until mostly melted: if it all melts completely, add some of your reserved chocolate bit by bit. Once the melted chocolate has cooled and no more solid chocolate will melt into it, it's ready to use (by doing this you're introducing "good crystals" from the unmelted chocolate back into the melted chocolate, helping it to regain its former firm structure).
2) To make the squares, cut up some of your transfer sheet into even strips and thinly spread some chocolate onto each one. Transfer your chocolate-painted strips onto clean baking parchment to set, and once it's touch-dry (after a few minutes), use a knife to score even squares. Leave to set completely on the transfer sheets before gently snapping the squares off.
3) To make the curls, cut a few rectangles from your plain acetate strips (each rectangle will make two curls). Spread thinly with tempered chocolate, let partially set for about 30 seconds, score a diagonal line down the middle to create two triangles and curl into egg cups to set.
|I also dipped some strawberries but didn't end up using them- too many cooks, and all that...|
4) Arrange your decorations as you like on your entremets and serve to your lucky guests!
This dessert has everything: rich chocolate, tangy berries, smooth mousse and cremeux, a satisfying layer of cake and a bit of crunch from the chocolate crispies. I wish I could have made the glaze more even: next time I'll make the glaze a little thicker and perhaps invest in some proper entremet moulds that are easier to release, such as open moulds or silicone ones. Either way, I'm really proud of what I achieved using only the resources I currently have to hand. All of my hard work with those matcha latte mousse cups paid off, too: I sailed through making the chocolate decorations with no trouble at all. Well, maybe except for the curls, which I found a bit trickier- but it was my first time using this technique after all: I can only improve.
I really, really wanted to finish these desserts off with gold leaf, but do you know how much that stuff costs?? Luckily Dr Oetker came to my rescue with these nifty chocolate silver dragées- just like regular silver sugar balls, but made of chocolate and less hard on the teeth.
In any case, they proved to be quite cute in the end. I'd like to think that one day I'll have the kind of money to spend on edible gold, though.