Friday, April 1, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake, Cocoa Crumble (Gluten Free), Water Based Milk Chocolate Mousse, Coulis De Mangue, Cocoa Nib Tuille, Ricotta A L'Orange, Maracon Batons

Chef's Plated Flourless Chocolate Cake...

 ...& Ricotta A L'Orange

Today we take on gluten-free baking, to cater to the gluten-intolerant unable to enjoy cakes and other desserts often made with gluten-laden wheat flour. 

Because everyone deserves to eat dessert, we made not 1 but 2 gluten-free treats today: the darkly sensational flourless chocolate cake (sometimes known as the French chocolate torte) and on the other end of the color spectrum a bright, sunshine orange ricotta strudel. 

A similar take on the former is the self saucing chocolate pudding made in Intermediate Patisserie, you will see why in a while. Today's tasty treats will also be accompanied by a variety of garnishes. There's a lot going on folks, so let's get cracking!

2 Heads Are Better Than 1

While Chef Gert whisks together melted dark chocolate, butter, brown sugar and egg yolks, Ronaldo whips egg whites with caster sugar till soft peak. Almond meal goes into the chocolate mix before carefully folding in the whipped whites.

Cake Mix: Raw & Risen

The cake is baked in a lined cake tin at a moderate 160°C. This cooks the eggs in the mix slowly, allowing the protein strands sufficient time to strengthen and provide slight structure to the cake. The cake will double in volume when baked, but don't get your hopes up, pun intended, as it will sink with a crackled surface when cooled.

Sunken & Sliced

This shrinkage is due to the absence of flour to provide strong structural support to the cake, which ain't such a bad thing, as the result is a dense and slightly gooey center, which in the dessert world translates to Yummalicious! In addition, the absence of flour makes it safe to under bake the mix for another well-loved dessert, the molten chocolate cake.

Macaron Rounds & Batons (Gluten Free, As Usual)

A Sure Footing

Whisking Orange Ricotta Filling, Lubing Up Filo Sheets With Butter

I never used to like ricotta. Blame it on the low-fat version which was the only one available at my local market: tart and curdled, not very appetizing at all. This tub of full fat goodness, however, was amazingly creamy and full flavored, perfect filling for its crisp filo shell.

Load & Lock

The filling is a straightforward party of ricotta cheese, sugar and orange zest whisked together until thoroughly combined. Filo sheets are treated the same way as in our baklava, lusciously lubed with melted butter and stacked 4-sheets high.

Roll Up & Tuck In The Ends To Keep The Good Stuff In!

Load the creamy goodness into the buttered filo stack, exercising restraint when doing so, least the filling leaks out of the delicate filo sheets. Like a deft sushi chef, fold one end over the filling, tucking in the ends to pack it all it, before rolling as you would sushi, spring rolls or cigars, anything rollable, really.

Glossed Up & Baked

Raw Sand aka Cocoa Crumble

Ah, the magic of modern gastronomy demystified. Increasingly popular in recent years, both in savory and sweet cuisine, edible "sand" is really a combo of butter, sugar, hazelnut meal and cocoa powder rubbed together until crumble-like before being baked to dry.

Baked Cocoa Crumble

A simpler method was employed in the hazelnut soil, which called for just 2 ingredients, malto dextrin and praline paste. While no baking is needed, malto dextrin isn't easy to acquire so you're probably better off making the cocoa crumble if attempting this at home.

Melting Chocolate & Water; Blending Chocolate Mousse

The first time I saw chocolate mousse made this way was on Heston Blumenthal's In Search Of Perfection and I thought it was an incredibly clever trick to know. That and his thrice-fried fries left me in awe of the man ever since. But I digress.

Lick The Bowl, Not The Blender!

Melt chocolate and water over a bain marie until the awful looking mess comes together, then barmix aka blend it over some ice water until very thoroughly and happily combined and you have yourself the purest, richest, most chocolatey mousse known to man; no cream, butter or sugar needed. Perfection indeed.

Sinister Looking Tar

Another increasingly popular garnish, this brittle black tile is made by stirring butter, cocoa powder, sugar, glucose, milk, vanilla and salt over heat until melted and thoroughly combined (never can one tell the myriad of ingredients that goes into a black mess). Spread the witch's brew on greaseproof paper as you would tar on a newly laid road.

Sprinkling On Cocoa Nibs

Cocoa nibs are small pieces of cocoa beans; crushed and roasted, they carry the same flavor compounds as chocolate. The nibs are sprinkled generously onto the black tar before baking. The resulting tuile carries an interesting flavor and texture which adds crunch and a slight bitterness to the rich and dense chocolate cake, or indeed any dessert as you see fit. Broken into small pieces and sprinkled onto ice cream? Divine. 

Boiling Mango Coulis, Bringing It All Together

Mango coulis is made by boiling mango puree, sugar and water with some lime juice to cut the sweetness and bring the coulis to life. Not much skill needed there, but then again, we are here to learn all aspects of pastry now, aren't we?

The coulis, together with the crumble, mousse, tuile and macarons, are used to plate our  chocolate cakes and orange ricotta strudels with a modern touch.

My Chocolate Plate

I probably should have omitted the macaron as I like my plated desserts simple and to my best ability, classy. Adding height to the plate, the tuile was also quite Moorish and not as bitter as I expected it to be. The mousse was goo-ooo-ood, together with the coulis lightening up the moist and outstandingly rich chocolate cake.

Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate, you can never have too much of a good thing. ;)

Plated Orange Ricotta Strudel

My last chance plating up desserts, which I enjoy doing when we're not busy baking and producing a product. The strudel was so good, with its cheese filling rich, sweet and slightly tart, the filo shell light and crispy, I could eat a dozen slices of these easy. :)

A Little Extra For Later ;)

Can You Spot The (Sweet) Difference? :)

2nd last chance for us to take as many pics as we can, how could we resist? Tomorrow's the last day of school, and I'm not looking forward to it one bit. :(


  1. woooooow pictures are great. food seems very delicious. nice job.

  2. Amazing - love reading about your baking adventures. Such beautiful works of art!

  3. 2 months since your last entry! How's your internship coming along? We need some updates! LOL


  4. wow!what a dish to taste on.It looks yummy and makes our mouth watery.

  5. Hey Travelling Foodies, Internship is going well, hard yakker (hard work) I gotta say, but if you do what you love, it's a journey half travelled, I say. :)

  6. Hello Mango Lover! Yes mangoes were just in season here too, and I am trying out a couple of experiments with seasonal produce at home, watch this space for successful results! :D

  7. Nice post there is. I likes all the recipes shown there. Its also good in hospitality industry to teach there student how they makes.

  8. Just found your blog, thanks for sharing your experience @ LCB. I wish I could attend LCB one day.

  9. Chef Gert still uses the same scraper! I've missed LCB much.. Is Chef Andre the head of the patisserie dept now? He's awesome! Congrats on your graduations (which you have should by now, looking at the date of this post) and have fun!

  10. Hi there!!
    Happen to chance upon your blog while searching for le cordon bleu's review. Am plannin to enroll in diploma in patisserie. Would you mind sharing your experiences with me? Thanks!!

  11. Found your blog in Blogger's choice award. So glad I did! You seems to be so great at what you do. Keep it up. I'll be going back here often. :)

    PS. I vote for you. :)

  12. YUM! These gourmet items are absolutely stunning. I just had a flourless chocolate cupcake at this gluten free place and it was amazing - one of the best cupcakes ever! thank you for sharing this - great blog!!

  13. Hi..I just found your blog searching google I'm so glad that I've come across your blog. The food looks so delicious and your photos are great too. Nice job. Keep it commin'

  14. I really love your food blog! I would like to personally invite you to my quirky Christmas Balls blog party! Link to any "ball" recipe on your blog, new or old!

    Hope to see you there!

  15. So much chocolate, I am in Heaven!! ;) I'm particularly liking the flourless cake:)