03 September 2010

Recipe For Luxury Chocolate Gateaux Or Pavé

Recipe For Luxury Chocolate Gateaux Or Pavé

This is another recipe that I have followed from Pierre Hermé's inspirational cookbook "Chocolate", which I have reinterpreted for a British audience.  The only tweak I have made to it was in the use of edible gold as a garnish on top of the chocolate ganache.

While a long drawn out process to make, this is a real cake that you might expect from a top restaurant or bakery in Paris, so make it for an indulgent occasion rather than expecting to rush this one out day-in-day-out.  It is a truly rich and luxurious cake that should be savoured with a calm cup of tea or a rich coffee; it's not finger food mind you, but needs a cake fork or a spoon to savour the flavour.

Stage 1 - baking the cocoa cake

40g 1(½ oz /1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp) organic cocoa powder

35g (1¼ oz / ¼ cup) organic plain flour

3½ tbsp organic potato starch

75g (5½ tbsp / 2¾ oz) unsalted butter

9 large egg yolks, at room temperature

150g  (5¼oz / 1¼ cups) organic Fairtrade caster sugar

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1.  Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF).  Butter two 18 x 9 cm (7½ inch x 3½ inch) loaf tins and line with baking paper.

2.  Sieve together the organic cocoa powder, plain flour and potato starch into a mixing bowl and set aside.  Melt the butter and set aside to cool until it is barely warm to the touch.

Sieving Together Cocoa, Flour And Potato Starch

3.  Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a food processor, beat the egg yolks plus 75g (2½ oz) of the caster sugar on a medium speed.  Scrape down the sides as you go along, and the mix should be thick and pale after about 5 minutes.  Scrape the thickened egg yolks into a large bowl, wash and dry the mixer.

Mixing The Egg Yolks And Sugar

4.  In a new or cleaned bowl, whisk and whip the egg whites at a medium speed until they form soft peaks.  Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until the peaks are firm and shiny.

Whipping Up The Egg Whites

5.  Working with a large rubber spatula and a light hand, fold the sieved dry ingredients and a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture.  Stir a few tablespoons of this mixture into the cooled and melted butter, stirring to incorporate as much as possible, then add the butter and the remaining whites to the yolk mix. Working quickly and yet gently, fold everything together.

Mixing In The Whipped Egg Whites

6.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tins, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  They are done when a slender knife or skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

7.  Leave the cakes to cool in the loaf tins for about 3 minutes, then gently remove them from the tins, remove the parchment paper and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Two Chocolate Cakes

8.  You can wrap these in airtight plastic and store frozen for up to a month.  This is what I did, making the cakes during the week and finishing them off at the weekend.

Stage 2 - creating the elements for the gateaux or pavé

The soaking syrup:

40g (¼ cup) organic granulated sugar

10g (2tsp) salted butter

100g (6tbsp) warm water

Put the sugar in a saucepan and over a medium heat, melt the sugar.  When it starts to melt, stir it with a wooden spoon.  Keep heating and stirring the sugar until it turns a rich brown.  Then standing away from the pan, drop the butter into the pan, then as it melts, stir it into the caramelised sugar.  Stand back again and add the water.  When the mixture comes to the boil, pull the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Caramel Syrup

The apricots:

170g (6oz) organic unsulphured apricots

250g (1 cup) water

Juice of ½ lemon

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Put the apricots and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.  Drain and let apricots cool.  When cooled down, chop the plumped up apricots into a small dice.  Toss the apricots with the lemon juice and black pepper and set aside until needed.

The Apricots

The ganache:

185g (6½ oz) dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces

120g (4½ oz) milk chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces

140g (2/3 cup) caster sugar

20g (¾oz) salted butter

275 grams (1 cup plus 2 tbsp) double cream (or heavy cream in USA)

335g (12oz) unsalted butter

1.  Mix the two types of chocolate together in a heatproof bowl.

2.  Put a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and sprinkle a third of the sugar over the bottom of the pan.  As soon as the sugar starts to melt, stir it with a wooden spoon until it melts and caramelises.  Sprinkle over half the remaining sugar and, as soon as it starts to melt, stir it into the caramelised sugar in the pan.  Repeat with the last bit of sugar and cook until it all has a nice deep brown colour.  Stand away from the pan and, still stirring, add salted butter and then, when the butter is incorporated, add the cream.  The caramel might seize up but do not worry as the stirring and heating will even it out.  Bring the cream to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat straight away.

3.  Pour half of the hot caramel over the chopped chocolate and using a rubber spatula, stir gently to melt the chocolate through.  When the chocolate is melted, add the remaining caramel and stir through.  Set the ganache aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

4.  While the ganache is cooling, beat the unsalted butter until it has the soft consitency of mayonnaise, using a spatula or mixer.  Then with a rubber spatula or whisk, gently stir the butter into the cooled ganache.  You will need to cool it down further so put it into the fridge, checking it regularly, until it reaches a soft butter consitency.

Stage 3 - building the pavé

1.  Get one of the cakes made in the first stage.  Working with a sharp serrated knife, cut each cake loaf into three even layers, removing any doming on the top and slice any uneven bits of the edges. Place the bottom layer onto a cake plate.

2.  Using a pastry brush, moisten the bottom layer with the caramel syrup (remember that the syrup needs to be used for each layer so do not overdo it at this stage).  Spread a thin layer of ganache over the top, then dot some of the apricots over the ganche and press them in (once again remember these will be used in each layer).  Place another cake layer on top of this and press down firmly.  Repeat the assembling of the filling and place the final layer on top of that.  Moisten the top layer with caramel syrup.  Check the shape of the cake and move it around to straighten if necessary.  Spread a thin layer of ganache over the top and sides of the cake and put into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Building The Layers Of The Pavé

3.  Remove the cake from the fridge and spread another thin layer of ganache all over the cake.  Try and get the top as smooth as possible, then you could use a fork to striate the sides.

4.  Sprinkle some edible gold over the top of the cake.

Chocolate Pavé

5.  Repeat the process for the other cake or do it at the same time.  We actually wrapped the second cake tightly in film, froze it, then ate it a couple of weeks later and it was still delicious.