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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Culinary School - Session 36: Fruit Mousse Miroir and White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake

Culinary School: Session 36 (11.7.14)

Fruit Mousse Miroir and White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake

If you give a Mousse a Muffin...

Egg Foam Cakes take a bit of a backseat today... it's time for Mousse. So here's a simple question... what, exactly, is Mousse? Don't Google it! 

Like so many culinary terms, Mousse has become such a muddled concept. Most people use it to describe anything that is similar to whipped cream in texture to which some flavoring has been added.  

But Cool Whip folded into Jello Pudding is not a Mousse! It's Cool Whip and Jello Pudding. It's probably delicious... particularly at 2:34am after eating a scalding pair of Hot Pockets. But it's not a Mousse!

Mousse = Base (most often a fruit puree or melted chocolate) + Gelatin + Italian Meringue + Whipped Cream (Creme Fouettee)

I'm sure some will argue with this definition (and yes, there are always exceptions), but according to the French Culinary Gods (i.e. those grading our practical exams), that is a Mousse.

Understood?  ... yes, Chef!

Jaconde Lined Fruit Miroir Mold

Who knows what cakes lurk in the hearts of walk-ins....

I may need to make a routine of checking the refrigerators and freezers at the beginning of each class... 

Damn, there are several dozen partially finished cakes in here! Add the Charlotte Royale and Marjolaine to our list of to-do's for the day. Fortunately, the promise of taking home a couple of impressively intricate cakes was worth the extra hustle.

How were they?

The Charlotte Royal was a modest success. An overly-heavy hand with the apricot preserves made for somewhat inelegantly shaped slices of Roulade. And a few, small gaps between slices allowed the Bavarian Creme Anglaise to show through... not ideal. But it tasted great. The tartness of the apricot was a surprisingly perfect offset to the more subtly sweet Bavarian Creme Anglaise center.

As for the Marjolaine, where to begin? With so many alternating layers of flavor and texture, the taste-test was a truly deconstructive process. Praline, chocolate, almond, hazelnut... smooth, crispy, thick, crunchy. A composed bite is a lot to take in... but it's a delicious combination. But I found it was more fun to eat a slice layer-by-layer, taking in the flavors in sequence (it's no wonder I've been referred to as an "Itinerant Eater").    

Finished Charlotte Royale and Glazed Marjolaine

Cross Section of Marjolaine

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (11.7.14):
  • Flour: 14,900g
  • Eggs: 8,000g (160x)
  • Sugar: 8,110g
  • Butter: 8,975g
  • Milk/Cream: 8,640g

- The Recipes -


Fruit Mousse Miroir (Miroir aux Fruits)

A somewhat intricate Fruit Mousse filled cake in which very thin layers of almond sponge cake (Jaconde) and baker's jam are used to line the sides of the mold. The base of the mold is then fitted with a layer of Genoise before the entire cake ring is filled with the Fruit Mousse.

Any fruit puree can be used to make the Mousse. We chose cassis, otherwise known as blackcurrant,  which has a tart flavor that pairs well with the raspberry baker's jam used between the layers of Jaconde.

This cake has numerous components, but many can be made in advance (e.g. making the layered Jaconde and jam slices). Nevertheless, certain elements, such as the Mousse, are best made right before they are used.

Focus Techniques:
- Slicing the pieces of Jaconde and jam to the exact same height. Since the pieces will line the walls of the cake, small differences in size will be very noticeable when the cake is unmolded.
- Using a serrated knife to slice the pieces of Jaconde and jam in a sawing motion. Even a sharp chef's knife will pinch the delicate layers and squeeze out the jam.
- Fitting the slices tightly against the walls of the acetate-lined cake mold. When placing the final pieces in the mold, it may be necessary to use less than a full stack (i.e. four layers) to get a proper fit.
- Placing a layer of Genoise at the base of the cake mold. The Genoise should not fit too tightly. If there is too much pressure, the cake will be difficult to unmold.
- For the fruit Mousse, heating only some of the fruit puree into which the gelatin is melted. Heating less of the mixture makes it easier to cool the entire quantity, and the gelatin will set faster.
- Waiting until the fruit puree and gelatin begin to set before folding the mixture with the Italian Meringue.
- Piping the final Mousse into the center of the cake using a large piping tip. A small hole will compress the Mousse.

Sheet of Jaconde for Fruit Miroir Sides

Spreading Raspberry Baker's Jam for Jaconde Layering

Layered Strip of Jaconde and Jam for Sides of Miroir

Jaconde and Jam Lined Fruit Mousse Miroir

Mixing a Cassis Fruit Mousse

Filled Fruit Mousse Miroir Mold

Final Fruit Mousse Miroir Cross-Section

Slice of Fruit Mousse Miroir


White & Dark Chocolate Mousse

Another Jaconde-lined cake with a Mousse filling... chocolate style!

For this cake, the Jaconde batter is baked over a pattern made with Pate a Cornet. Pate a Cornet is a thick, cocoa-flavored paste that can be piped or spread over a stencil onto parchment or a silpat. After the Pate a Cornet is chilled, cake batter is gently spread onto the sheet pan. When the cake is baked, the pattern sets into the surface of the cake. 

After the mold is fitted with the Pate a Cornet decorated Jaconde, a disc of Chocolate Genoise is placed at the center as the base for the cake. The cake is then filled with both White & Dark Chocolate Mousse and chilled.

Focus Techniques:
- Making Pate a Cornet. The mixture should be thick but spreadable. Before using a pattern, the Pate a Cornet should be well chilled so that it does not streak when the cake batter is spread.
- Using gelatin to stabilize a Mousse. In particular, White Chocolate Mousse requires a significant amount of gelatin to stabilize the mixture given the amount of fat it contains (remember, white chocolate is not actually chocolate).
- Sufficiently cooling the Pate a Bombe base for the Mousse before adding it to the chocolate. The Pate a Bombe will be quite warm after the softball-stage sugar is poured into the whipping eggs. The mixture should be whipped until it approaches room temperature and the gelatin begins to set.
- Heating the chocolate so that it just begins to melt. If the chocolate is too warm when it is added to the Pate a Bombe, the Mousse will be too liquid. Remove the chocolate from the heat when it is only partially melted and continue to melt by stirring.

Pate a Cornet Design for White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake

Decorated White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake

Decorated White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake

Take a look at the full syllabus

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