Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cherry Marshmallow Teacake

These cherry treats are my late continuing celebrations of the cherries. I caught myself in a complete obsession with cherries this summer - in my attempt to keep them for longer, I rushed into preserving and tasting.

The following recipe is my cherry version of the recipe (slightly modified) of William Curley -  a chocolatier I admire enormously.  

400g of tempered dark chocolate - 70% will be needed.

I use dark chocolate, which combines well with the high sweetness of the jam and the marshmallow. The bitterness of the chocolate makes these teacakes just irresistible. After, all everything is about chocolate ...

For the cherry purée:

50 ml water
50 g sugar
500 g cherries - pitted
10 ml lemon juice

Bring the water and the sugar to a boil. Process the cherries in a blender. Add the syrup and the lemon juice. Blitz to a smooth purée and pass through a sieve. Keep in the refrigerator until needed.

For the cherry jam:

250 g cherries, pitted
250 g cherry purée
200 g sugar
15 ml lemon juice

Cook the cherry purée and sugar over high heat for 5 min. Lower the temperature and continue cooking  until the syrup becomes thicker and the jam reaches to its setting point - a drop from the syrup, dropped in a cold plate will keep a cylindric shape. Cooking time depends on the consistency of the purée - about 15-20 min. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice as soon as the jam is set, keeping it over the heat. Stir and leave until needed.

For the tea biscuits: 

175 g unsalted butter, cut in cubes
250 g flour
90 g powdered sugar
pinch of salt
40 g egg yolks

In a large bowl with fingertips, crumb the butter and the flour together. Add the sugar and salt. Mix in the eggs, forming a dough. Form a ball, wrap in a plastic foil and refrigerate for one hour. 
Roll out the chilled dough in 4 mm thick. With a round cutter 5 cm in diameter, cut out about 25 circles, place them in a lined with parchment paper baking pan and bake at 180C for about 15 min until golden. Transfer the biscuits on a wire rack to cool. 

For the marshmallow:

9 g gelatine powder
100 g cherry purée
50 g egg whites (use the whites from the eggs which yolks were used for the biscuits)
225 g caster sugar
55 ml water
40 g liquid glucose or corn syrup

"Bloom" the gelatine in 18 ml cold water. Bring the purée to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatine. Stir until dissolves completely. In a bowl of a mixer, aerate the whites at slow speed with a whisk attachment. Cook the sugar, water and glucose in a heavy bottomed pan, cooking until the syrup reaches 121C, or for about 3-4 min. Carefully pour the syrup over the whites, whisking them continuously. Continue mixing at high speed for about 3-4 min. Add the warm cherry purée and whisk until the meringue reaches room temperature. 


Distribute the tea biscuits on a lined with parchment paper sheet pan, having enough space between them to work freely. I used only the whole cherries from the cherry jam. If you made cherry jam from small sized cherries, or if you'd like to have more jam on the finished treats, spoon the jam in the centre of each biscuit. I centred a whole jammed cherry over each sweet pastry. Have a pastry bag fitted with a 15 mm round tip. Fill it with the marshmallow. Pipe a generous bulb on top of the jam. Leave them to set for two hours in a cool and dry place.

Meanwhile, just before finishing, temper about 400 g dark chocolate - 70% cacao over bain marie. * Transfer in a wide teacup, large enough to accommodate a teacake. Using a dipping fork, dip the set cakes into the chocolate biscuit side down, cover them fully. Drain the excessive chocolate over the edge of the cup and leave on a parchment paper lined pan to set. 

After every cake has been "couvertured", store them in a cool and dry area. DO NOT REFRIGERATE!  23-24C and 60% humidity is just fine for achieving a nice and authentic chocolate mat finish on every chocolate product. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tomato Cracker Pitta

For the dough:

425 flour
55 g cornmeal
10 g fresh rosemary
7 g salt
2 g ground black pepper
2 g malt syrup or 4 g honey
5 g dry yeast
50 ml + 250 ml warm water
60 ml olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in first quantity of water. Sift the flour in a bowl of a mixer. Add the other ingredients without the water. Stir to mix well. Add the yeast, the last quantity of water and the olive oil. Mix at low speed until the dough is formed. Knead for about 8 minutes and cover to ferment for one hour.

For the topping:

300 g cherry tomatoes + whole brandy wine tomatoes if desired
1-2 (100 g) shallots (2 shallot fans for each pitta)
red pepper thinly cut rings
fresh basil
15 ml olive oil

Slice the shallots lengthwise, keeping the root end. Cut each half-mooned shape of the shallots again lengthwise very thinly but do not cut through the root end. Press firmly the uncut root end and spread the thin slices in a fan shape. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves. If brandy wine tomatoes are used, slice them thinly. Slice the red pepper. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and basil leaves. 


Divide the dough in halves. Roll each one very thinly and evenly. Place on a sheet pan. Arrange the vegetables on top of each cracker sheet. Bake at 220C without proofing. Drizzle with basil-olive oil on top, while hot from the oven.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Potato Pie

500 g Pâte brisée

For the purée:

1 kg potatoes
50 g butter
500 ml milk

Peel the potatoes, cut in cubes and boil in hot water in a heavy-bottomed pan for about 15 min. Drain the water - leave a little bit of water at the bottom of the pan. All the minerals from the potatoes are extracted into the water while boiling.  Keeping some will add  healthy value to our meal. Put the butter into the pan with the hot potatoes and cover the pan with the lid. Let them rest for 5 min to melt the butter. Mash the potatoes with the butter, adding slowly the milk. Potatoes need to be mashed really well if at tailoring you will use piping on top. Add the milk in portions. As soon as a purée consistency is achieved, stop adding more milk. The quantity will depend on the quantity of water left in the purée. If it became too watery, return over the heat again and stirring constantly, evaporate some of the excessed liquid. Note: This way of "baking" the purée is a great way of making it when served as a garniture without any further processing. For this recipe though, the purée will be baked in the oven, so no additional cooking at this step is required. Leave the purée on a side to cool a bit.

For the filling:

1 onion, chopped
1 ail garlic
500 g lean ground beef
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp savoury
1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato paste

Heat some oil in a pan. Cook the onion and garlic until caramelized. Add the ground beef and stir constantly to cook it until all the pieces come apart. The meat will produce some sauce. Add all of the spices. Cover the pan, reduce the temperature at low and simmer for 15 min.Add the flour and tomato paste. Stir to homogenize, cook open at medium for 5 min and leave to cool.


Take the pâte brisée out of the refrigerator. Cut two wrapping foil sheets, big enough to insure rolling. Roll it 3-5 mm round in between the foil sheets. Make sure the diameter exceeded the diameter of the pan. Remove the upper foil. Turn the dough upside down and cover the bottom and sides of 20 cm ceramic pan for pie, keeping the other foil attached to it. With fingers, press the dough gently on the sides of the pan and the bottom edge. Let the extension fall over the upper edge of the pan. Remove the foil and with the rolling pin, make one roll over the edge of the pan, sticking the dough and making a "scar", showing where the dough should be cut, forming a nice shell. Note: If your pan is with fluted edge, rolling pin is not in use. Just cut precisely at the outer edge of the flute, having them covered completely with it. Refrigerate for 30 min. Collect all the dough that is left after cutting along the edge. Foil and refrigerate. 
Remove the pie shell from the fridge. Cover the dough with parchment or wax paper. Fill the pan either with ceramic pie fillers or dry fruits - beens or lentils. Bake at 210C for 7 min. Remove the paper with the beans and return the pie shell in the oven for another baking of 5 min. Let it cool.

Fill the baked shell with the meat mixture. If you are willing to give the dish a blossoming look, pipe rosettes, shells or whatever the mood drives you from the potato purée to cover the whole pie surface. If not - with a fork, distribute the purée evenly on top, A small picks could be make with two forks. Fly with your imagination. 

Remember the left over pâte brisée that naps in the fridge? Roll it between two foil sheets and cut whatever shapes you like. Or just model the shapes by hand. Decorate the top of the pie. 

Bake at 200C for 20-30 min until the purée becomes golden. 

Serve warm. 

Bon appétit!

Pâte brisée

600 g flour
10 g salt
300 g butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
50 ml cold water
5 ml lemon juice

With the paddle attachment of the self-standing mixer, blend the flour, salt and the butter at low speed. Combine the lightly beaten egg, yolk and water. Add first the lemon juice to the butter mixture and then  the egg just until incorporated, without mixing more then needed to form a dough. Foil the dough and refrigerate for two hours before using in the recipe. The dough could be frozen for two to three months.

Working by hands:

In a small bowl combine the egg, yolk and water. In a working big bowl, scale the flour. Add the cut in cubes cold butter. With the opposite side of a wide knife work a bit both substances trying to incorporate the butter into the flour. Continue working just with the tips of your fingers, until a mixture looking a lot like a cornmeal forms. Do not work with hands - body temperature will warm the butter too much and then, while in contact with the flour will develop the gluten. For the Pâte brisée we need to avoid developing the gluten. Add the liquid and without mixing too much, form the dough. Foil and refrigerate for two hours. The dough could be frozen for two to three months.

600 g брашно
10 g сол
300 g масло
1 яйце
1 яйчен жълтък
50 ml студена вода
5 ml лимонов сок

Брашното и солта се смесват в купа. Маслото на парчета се смесва с брашното при много ниска скорост на миксера. В отделна купа леко се разбиват яйцето, жълтъка и водата. Към маслената смес първо се добавя лимоновия сок, следва - яйчената смес на части, като всяка част трябва да се усвои добре. Внимава се да не се разбърква сместа твърде дълго. Ръчно се оформя на топка в края на месенето, увива се във фолио и се оставя в хладилника за два часа. Може да се съхранява във фризер до три месеца.

Ръчно приготвяне:

В купа се смесват яйцето, жълтъка и водата. В голяма купа се претеглят брашното и солта. Студеното масло се нарязва на кубчета и се добавя към брашното. С широк нож се разбъркват кубчетата масло като целта е да се усвоява брашното. С върха на пръстите се продължава смесването, докато се образуват трохи. Не се работи с цели длани - телесната температура ще омекоти маслото твърде бързо, което ще подпомогне стабилизирането на глутен в тестото. За този тип ронливо тесто се избягва тази реакция.
Добавя се яйчената смес на порции, без да се меси твърде усилено - достатъчно, за да се оформи тесто. Тестото се увива във фолио и се поставя в хладилника за два часа.

Rustico Buttergipfel

55 g unsalted butter I

225 g unsalted butter II
30 g flour
15 g cold water

7 g dry yeast
20 ml lukewarm water
160 ml col water
14 g malt syrup , or 30 g dark honey
12 g salt
1 large egg
380 g flour

My Grandma used to "toast" the butter for almost every pastry - either at the time of preparing or just before serving. It gave just a small "intonation" of difference to the colour but such a complete finish to the taste. At the time I did not care what and why she did that - to me it was just an extra unnecessary work. Later on at the university I realized how the separation works and what a difference it makes to the taste. French call it beurre noisette and use it mostly for pastry and savoury hot sauces, Indians call it ghee and cook mainly with it, in Germany and in the German part of Switzerland, chefs use this "toasty" butter for the buttergipfels.  The process is a simple separation into butterfat and milk solids, called clarification. This reduces the nonfat liquid and gives the butter thick, clear, nutty flavour.

Cook the first quantity of butter at medium heat to a stage where its colour looks a lot like amber and a very nice "baked butter" aroma is sensed. (As my little helper concluded: "This smells like pancakes!"- because of the aroma that comes from greasing the pan for the pancakes). The butter should be watched closely as it could be burned very easily. Leave it to cool at room temperature.

Place the second quantity of butter, flour and 15 ml cold water in bowl, large enough to allow mixing. With a wooden spoon or by hands, homogenize the ingredients into a ball. Have two equal size sheets of clear foil ready - big enough to accommodate a rolled piece with measurements 15 x 22 cm.  Place the buttery ball on one of them and roll with a rolling pin to a rectangle (size 15 x 22 cm). Cover with the second foil and refrigerate for 15-20 min (#1 on the following picture).
Tip: I used one of the foil pieces to form the buttery ball, avoiding too much mixing by clear hands as the butter melts really fast because of the warmness of the hands).

In a bowl of a mixer with the dough attachment, scale the flour, salt, malt syrup and the egg. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and add it to the bowl without having a contact with the salt. Add the cooled "toasted" butter and the cold water. Mix at very low for 1-2 min just to form a soft dough. Wrap in foil and place in the fridge for 30 min. Gluten will not have time to start developing but will certainly do that in the following folding procedures. 

Lets start rolling!
Take the dough and the butter block out of the fridge. Roll the dough to a rectangular shape 24 x 45cm. Place the butter block over it - the longer side of the butter block lays over the shorter side of the dough - 22 cm butter block to 24 cm side of the dough - this way the butter covers one third of the rolled dough (#2 on the following picture). Using your fingers, spread the butter over, covering two thirds of the dough - it is an easy procedure as the butter block has not been chilled for a long period of time and is quite workable (#3 on the following picture). Follow the pictures to fold it properly. Slightly "seal" the edges without firm pressing. Wrap in foil and place in the fridge for an hour. The dough will need to be fold in thirds three times. "Accommodating" the butter block is not considered as one of these three folds. Every time the dough comes out of the fridge, turn it clockwise at 90, having the last folded edge on top. This will distribute the butter more evenly and will stretch the dough in every direction.  Folded dough after the first turn (#6 on the following picture) does not require "sealing" the edges.

After the last rest in the fridge, roll the dough in a rectangular shape 32 x 72 cm. Have the working surface heavily dusted with flour, avoiding dough sticking after resting.

Let the rolled dough rest for 10-15 min. This will prevent from shrinking after cutting. Cut it lengthwise      in the middle. Divide in 8 cm each side of the big rectangle, then connect in diagonals as on the picture.  Each triangle is a future buttergipfel. Make a small cut in the middle of the base of each triangle.  Fold in a buttergipfel as in the picture.

Arrange the buttergipfel in a pan sheet. Egg wash. Sprinkle popi seeds (or sesam seeds) for a rustic look and taste.

Bake at 200C until golden. Have a heatproof filled with water bowl in the oven.

Cool the ready buttergipfels on a wire rack.
Serve with cottage cheese, feta, mozzarella and with ... Chocolate, of course. After all, everything is about our chocolate passion.

Buttergipfels over a butter block

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Flower Power

Blooming Chocolate Mouses Celebration

to a very special, turning 14 years flower!

Think about the cake a few days in advance - while you are waiting at the bus stop, or waiting for a children's class to finish. Decide what image will fit perfectly the occasion.
Prepare the design that  you would enjoy on the sides of your cake. I first draw it on a sheet of paper. From a thick acetate sheet cut the design, making your own stencil - there is nothing more satisfying in making cakes than using your signature, even if it is in a small detail.

For the Ribbon Sponge (as per "Le Cordon Bleu"):

have all the ingredients at room temperature

50 g butter 
50 g confectioners' sugar
50 g egg whites
55 g flour
food colouring
Joconde Sponge

Prepare the coloured paste first as it needs to harden for a while in the refrigerator, once it has been shaped: Beat the butter until creamy, add the sugar, mixing well. Add the whites, while beating. As soon as they are incorporated well, mix in the sifted flour. Colour the paste as desired. I used mix of "Dauphin blue" and "Teal". It will never be a bright colour as the paste itself is ivory-ish.

for the Joconde Sponge (as per "Le Cordon Bleu"):
(for a sheet pan 28 x 40 cm)

85 g powdered almonds
75 g confectioners' sugar
25 g flour
120 g eggs
80 g egg whites
10 g sugar
30 g melted butter

In a bowl, mix together the almonds, sugar and flour. Add the eggs in small portions, mixing well after each addition. With a whipping attachment, beat the egg whites with the sugar until firm peaks. With a spatula, fold in the flour-egg mixture. Fold in the melted butter.

Tailoring I: Take the Ribbon Sponge design out of the fridge. With a palette knife, spread the batter of the Joconde Sponge over in an even thin layer. It is important to keep the design underneath shaped and covered. Do not press the knife as you do not want to ruin the Ribbon Sponge design.  Even if the whole pan is not filled with the batter to the edges, this is not a disaster, as strips will be cut later.
Bake at 200C for 8-10 min in the middle rack of the oven. If silicon liner is not available. place two sheet pans together - no browning at the bottom of the sponge is allowed as this will give unpleasant look to the cake.
Leave to cool in the pan. Carefully transfer it in a sifted with powder sugar parchment paper sheet, turning the design upside up. 

for the Genoise Chocolate:  one layer only will be needed for the base.

Either bake the whole recipe, cut in layers and reserve the once that won't be used. Foiled tightly, the layers could be refrigerated for up to one month. Or just use half of the recipe for baking one layer 18-20 cm in diameter. 

Tailoring II: Measure precisely the height of the cake ring. Make a template strips from parchment paper, cutting two equally wide strips with the same with as the height of the cake. Measure the length of each strip and make sure that both will cover the inner surface of the cake ring. Place the templates over the Joconde Sponge layer the way that will allow you to follow the design without interrupting (you do not want to have a cut in the middle flower or twice the space between the flowers at the place where the strips connect). Cut the strips from the sponge, using a pizza cutter for sharp and even cuts.

Prepare the cake ring, lining the sides with the parchment strips used as templates, slightly higher than the height of the ring. Place the ring over a cake board.

Fill the ring with the sponge strips with the design facing the sides of the ring. The edges should fit perfectly. No place in between is allowed.

Once the cake ring has been lined with the Joconde Sponge, measure precisely the diameter of the bottom of the cake. Cut with scissors to the right size.

Place the genoise layer at the bottom of the ring pressing gently but confidently to avoid any gaps between the bottom and the side lining of the cake.

Cover with foil (to avoid drying out of both sponge layers) if planning to continue the following day.

for the dark chocolate mouse I:

220 g dark chocolate - 70% cocoa
185 ml heavy cream
3 g gelatin powder
25 ml cognac Courvoisier
35 g sugar
30 g whole egg
15 g egg yolk

Have a bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10-15 min.
Melt the chopped chocolate over bain-marie.
Take the "freezing bowl"  out of the freezer and beat the cream - first at low to aerate and than increase to high speed until soft peaks are formed. Keep it in the refrigerator until needed.
Add 6 g to the gelatine powder and let it bloom.
Cook the sugar with 10 g water over a medium heat for about 5 min, until thickens a bit and a drop of the syrup forms a sphere shape over a cold plate. While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg and the yolk until pale and foamy (preferably to use a self-standing mixer: this will allow a constant supervision over the sugar syrup). Once the syrup is cooked to its setting point, add the "bloomed" gelatine, stir until dissolves. With the mixer working on the egg mixture, pour the hot syrup carefully, "washing" the sides of the bowl. Continue beating until the mixture reaches approximately room temperature. Add the alcohol.
Fold in the melted chocolate with a spatula, until fully incorporated. With the same technic, fold in the cold whipped cream.

Tailoring III:  Fill a piping bag with the mouse as soon as it is ready. Work fast and do not leave it to stay as it will harden very easily. Quantity of gelatine helps to structure the mouse into the desired shape.  Using 6 mm round tip, pipe two circles: the one in the centre is lower than the the one along the side. Using a small palette knife, smooth the rings. Keep the form in the refrigerator while preparing the white chocolate mouse.

for the white chocolate mouse :

8 g powdered gelatine
140 ml milk
175 g fine white chocolate, chopped
200 ml 30% whipping cream

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bloom the gelatine into 16 g cold water. Bring the milk to the boil. Take it off the heat and add the gelatine, stirring until dissolved. While hot, pour it over the chocolate. Stir to homogenize and leave to thicken a bit at room temperature. Follow the procedure for cooling a bowl and a whisk attachment and whipping the cream as for the dark chocolate mouse. Fold the cream into the white chocolate with a spatula. Take the cake form out of the refrigerator. Pour the white mouse over the dark chocolate mouse, filling the mouse rings. Smooth the surface with a palette knife and place it back in the refrigerator for three hours. 

The level is still beneath the top edge and that is jus great because we need more mouse, more chocolate ... 

for the dark chocolate mouse II:

75 ml milk
30 g egg yolks
15 g sugar
160 g dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids, chopped
275 whipping cream (30% butter fat)

Bring the milk to the boil point. Whisk the yolks and sugar until light and pail. Temper the yolk mixture with a small part of the boiling milk, stirring constantly. Pour it back to the pan with the milk and place over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickens a bit. Take off the heat and if there are noticeable particles, sieve while hot over the chopped chocolate. Smooth with a spatula - a glossy mixture will please your sensors. Leave to cool while beating the cream as per instructions for dark chocolate mouse I. Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture. Fill in the cake form, levelling the top with the palette knife. Place back in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Decorate with reserved petals from the design (if any) and chocolate decorations. Sift some ground almonds on the top edge of the cake.

Pain de chocolat rustique

This soft and melting taste is a warming kiss in cold summer days. This summer serves rain and cold wind almost every day. I serve a poetic chocolate high hope with summer fruits.

Farewell to summer

(by Bernard McEvoy)

Weep! weep! oh, tearful skies,
While summer gently dies,
And let us bid her sad farewell;
There are no tears so dear
As yours, nor so sincere,
Not to our hearts such solace tell.

For 8 pains:

100 g unsalted butter
75 g sugar
2 large eggs
100 g dark chocolate
85 g flour
3 g baking powder
blanched sliced almonds

By the night coldly kissed,
The silvery ghostly mist
Wakes from its slumbrous earthly cell;
Wanders beneath the trees,
Moved by each passing breeze,
Where late the burning sunshine fell.

My grandma did not have the fancy cup liners we use now. She did not have the cup-cake pans either. She did not use the real chocolate - it was too expensive and kept in the cupboard only for special occasions. Instead, she used small stainless  bowls that came handy for almost everything - (caramel cream, soufflés, baking pastry), lining them with paper squares, cut from a non sticking paper. Instead of chocolate, she used cocoa powder. (Note: for this recipe, following the really old-fashoned way of making it, 50 g cocoa powder should be used instead of 100 g chocolate, and 4 g vanilla extract in addition. Of course this would change the result completely - the softness of the real chocolate bread will be transformed in somehow tasting chocolaty product, but the warmness will be kept.)

The flour and baking powder are sifted together in a bowl. Prepare a bain-marie. Put the chopped chocolate in a heat proof pan that could be mounted over the bain-marie. As soon as the water starts boiling, remove from the heat and place the pan with the chocolate over it. Stir occasionally, making sure that all the pieces are melted. Do not return back over the heat if it is not necessary. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the bain-marie. Leave it on a side until needed. 

Cream the butter and the sugar together until light. Ad the eggs one by one until fully incorporated. Add the chocolate. Fold in the flour mixture. 

Distribute the mixture in between 8 cups, lined with square, cut from a parchment paper. Sprinkle the sliced almonds. Bake at 180C for 10-15 min. Leave them to cool in the pan.

Bon appétit!

Beneath the stars' faint gleam
Moves on the placid stream,
And towards the sea doth flow and swell;
So doth our life-stream flee
On towards infinity,
Where no abiding sorrows dwell.

Love you, Grandma! 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Chocolate petits fours

I made these for a 17th wedding anniversary. It is considered an Amethyst anniversary that is a symbol of durability. What e relationship!

The petits fours are full of chocolate and nuts - corresponding well with the nutty character of the couple. Flowers represent the amethyst colour.

For the petits fours:

200 g unsalted butter
200 g confectioners' sugar
200 g skin on finely grounded almonds
4 large eggs
100 g dark chocolate, melted

Prepare a baking sheet (aprox 28 x35 cm) with parchment paper on the bottom. 
Melt the chocolate over bain-marie.Leave it to cool slightly. With a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy consistency. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beating at medium, add the eggs one at time, making sure that each egg was creamed well into the butter. Do not worry if the batter is not smooth, warmness and density of the chocolate will fix that easily. Add the chocolate and mix well to creamy, shiny and soft product. With a spatula, fold in the grounded almonds. Distribute the batter into the prepared pan, achieving smooth surface. Bake at 180C for about 10-15 min. It will feel soft and damp, but as soon as it cools down, will be harder and ready for the following processing. Leave it to cool in the pan.


For the chocolate-praline ganache:

110 ml heavy cream
125 g dark chocolate - 70% cacao
90 g praline paste

Chop the chocolate in small pieces. Heat the cream until boils. Remove from heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave for 5-8 min, than stir to homogenize. Add the praline paste and combine well. Leave to set a bit at room temperature. It should reach creamy consistency in order to being spreadable over the prepared layer.



Ready made chocolate fondant will be needed.

Have the cooled layer out of the baking pan over a parchment paper, slightly sifted with confectioners' sugar. Cut the edges, making them sharp and straight. Measure the length precisely, divide in half and cut in the middle. Two equal layers are needed. Spread the chocolate ganache onto the first layer and cover with the second layer. (Note: Work over the parchment paper.) Straighten the edges achieving nice quadrilateral. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to harden and to keep the shape. Use the parchment paper as a base to move the cake.
Cover with chocolate fondant about 3 mm thick. Measure again the whole cake and divide in equal pieces. Cut with a wide, clean, sharp knife. Have a clean paper towel and deep cup full with hot water handy. Dip the knife in the water and dry it out after each cut.  The cut petits-fours are 2.5 cm squares.  Decorate as desired.

Bon appétit!