Sam-gowing-choc-fondant-orange-yoghurt

Chocolate fondants with minted raspberry salad

Chocolate fondant with Saucis Aucis’ Naranja Pedro Ximenez & Fino Sherry

This recipe, inspired by Chef Matt Moran, and wine paring have been devised for an assignment as part of the final blog submission for the Le Cordon Bleu unit Food & Wine Technology as part of the Master of Gastronomic Tourism degree. The purpose of the activity is to identify and describe the physical, chemical and sensory aspects of food and wine pairing, and apply sensory testing methods and analysis of your food product with the chosen wine. This blog required me to document and photograph the process of designing and making the chocolate-based desert – and to include the restaurant’s existing food and wine menu.

About the venue

St. Elmo is Byron Bay’s favourite cocktail bar and the only large bar in town that you can sit at. Established by Melbourne restaurateur Ben Musu in 2009, St Elmo continues to thrive under the second management who have introduced a more Spanish influence. St Elmo has an extensive thoughtful wine list and vast array of fortified wine on offer hence I chose this venue to create my dessert for.
st-elmo-blackboard-chef-samantha-gowing

About the menu

Tapas and shared plates are the way to go with a selection of standout feature main courses including a slow cooked beef cheek; and chorizo with the local Bangalow slow cooked pork belly in a sherry vinegar caramel with pickled watermelon. The dessert offering includes and Dulce de leche mousse with salted caramel popcorn and popcorn foam. A candy of milk mouse that is popular in South America (Wiki 2015). The Pudin de Almendras is an almond and raspberry pudding with raspberry curd and a swirl of semifreddo. The chocolate offering is a rich chocolate cake with chocolate and ginger soil and a chocolate malt semifreddo.

About my recipe
I chose to replace the chocolate dessert on the card for a more accessible recipe for my home kitchen featuring individual rich chocolate fondants with raspberries and orange scented cashew yoghurt. Chocolate and fulfillment is an age-old marriage of ceremony, love and desire. Chocolate contains over four hundred different chemicals including caffeine and phenylethylamine (PEA), a brain chemical that some scientists believe arouses the same feelings that we experience when we are in love. The Aztecs were the first chocoholics. They ground cocoa beans added spices and drank the bitter brew without sugar. Legend has it that Montezuma drank fifty cups of cocoa before entering his harem of several hundred women. In the mid 17th century chocolate developed a reputation as an aphrodisiac (Gowing, 2010).

Sam-gowing-choc-fondant-orange-yoghurtChocolate fondants with minted raspberry salad 

For the fondants (Moran, 2011 pp.212, 213)
Butter, for greasing
Cocoa for sprinkling
300 grams unsalted butter
300 grams dark chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into large pieces
6 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
160 grams caster sugar
30 grams plain flour

  • Combine all ingredients

Minted raspberry salad
¼ cup fresh raspberries, some halved
¼ teaspoon icing sugar, for dusting
Fresh mint leaves, picked over

  • Combine all ingredients

 For the fondant

  1. Grease the insides of 12 dariole moulds with butter. Sprinkle with cocoa. Chill until required
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a clean, dry heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water
  3. Stir the butter and the chocolate together once melted
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly – about 1 minute, then slowly fold in eggs and egg yolks a few at a time, stirring slowly so as not to aerate the mix and create air bubbles
  5. Add the sugar and the four and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dariole moulds until two-thirds full
  7. Tap the base of the moulds to release any air bubbles. Cover with cling wrap and chill for at least five hours or preferably overnight
  8. Preheat the oven to 175 C
  9. Transfer the cold moulds from the fridge to the oven on a tray and bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven
  10. If you have one to spare, cut it open after 12 minutes to ensure that you have the right gooey consistency, if not bake a further 1-3 minutes
  11. Run the tip of a knife round the edge of the mould
  12. Turn out onto serving plates and serve with a spread of orange cashew yoghurt or icecream and raspberry mint salad dusted with icing sugar

chocolate-fondant-chef-samantha-gowing

About the wine
My initial desire was for champagne and chocolate however with further thought and investigation I have looked towards the Spanish fortifieds with their chocolate loving characters and traditional dry finishes. At St. Elmo, the bar staff and I looked at two fortified options:
Sanchez Romate Pedro Ximenez $12.00 D.O. Jerez, Spain
Pedro Ximénez is made from the grape of the same name. The grapes are picked then sun-dried to concentrate sugars & create a sweet sherry. Rich with raisins, prunes and chocolate. For the dessert made, this choice was too rich and viscous providing too much syrup that overpowered the fondant.

Saucis Aucis’ Naranja Pedro Ximenez  & Fino $13.00 Huelva, Spain
80% PX & 20% Fino with orange peel added during ageing. Predominant raisin & chocolate flavours with a nutty, orange finish. This is a lighter style dessert sherry.
This selection provided a delicate balance of flavour with the subtle citrus tones shining through to compliment the chocolate and accentuate the chocolate dirt. The scattering of fresh raspberries marries with the slight acidity on the palate that the sherry provides.

Tasting Notes (Mercado de San Miguel . 2005)
Appearance: A dark tawny red colour, with light magenta edges and light to medium density .
Nose: Aromas of oranges, raisins, figs and toasted elements. Hints of cattail and straw with a touch of sun dried tomato.
Taste: Very soft, dense, silky and oily. When sensed in the mouth and throat it is not heavy urging another sip. It has mild aftertaste of chocolate, citrus and nuts with a clean dry finish. A sweet and rich wine that would also work well with non-acidy creamy desserts and surprising with soft blues cheese such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola or Treviso, and goat’s cheese.

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References
Gowing, S. 2007 Aphrodisiac foods, Cooking school handout (unpublished)Martineau, C 2013. 17 Things You Might Not Know About Sherry. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/01/15/17-things-you-might-not-know-about-sherry. [Accessed 18 January 15].
McGee, H 2004, McGee on food and cooking: an encyclopedia of kitchen science, history and culture, Hodder and Stoughton, London.
McKenna, T., 1993. Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution. 1st ed. New York, New York: Random House Publishing Group.Moran,
Mercado de San Miguel . 2005. The Sherry Corner. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.sherrywinetaste.com/wine-cellar/sherry-pedro-ximenez-tradicion/. [Accessed 18 January 15].
Moran, M, 2011. Dinner at Matt’s. 1st ed. Aberdeen: Penguin
O. Corriher, S, 1997. CookWise. 1st ed. New York, New York: Harper Collins.
Unknown. 2014. How to Make Dulce De Leche. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Dulce-De-Leche. [Accessed 18 January 15].

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