Chocolate Pear Trifle with Mulberries
I really wanted to impress one of the guests who came for dinner last night, so I went a little over the top preparing dessert. This triple-flavored twist on the traditional trifle (try saying that three times in a row!) consists of Asian pear, mulberry mousse, dark chocolate mousse and a dark chocolate croquant. And yes, it's as delicious as it looks.
We picked very ripe Asian pears and mulberries from our garden to create this dish. Pears go wonderfully with chocolate, and you really can't go wrong with mulberries. This is definitely a dish you can have fun with though, so make substitutions depending on what ingredients you have available. As long as you put a little effort into the presentation, you'll end up with deliciously decadent, edible artwork.
Yields: 10 servings4 soft, small, fully ripe Asian pears
14 ounces freshly picked mulberries
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup granulated sugar, + extra for the pears
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons shortening (or more butter)
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon liquid lecithin
1½ tablespoons canola oil
¾ cup evaporated milk
¾ cup unsweetened chocolate chips, melted
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar, as needed
Preparing the pears:
Trim, peel, halve, core and cut the pears into small wedges.
In a saucepan, add the diced pears with their juice. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar (to taste). Cook over low-heat for about 4 minutes, stirring often.
Remove and reserve 30 pieces for garnish .
For the eggless chocolate cake:
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Dice 4 tablespoons butter. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soft butter, shortening, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, salt and granulated sugar. Mix using the back of a fork (or a stainless-steel pastry blender) until it forms sandy crumbs of butter, sugar and flour. Add ½ cup chocolate. Slowly add the evaporated milk and blend until it forms a barely wet dough. Do NOT over-mix. Cover with a towel and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Fill 10 individual silicone tartlet molds with the cake batter. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with the remaining brown sugar and bake at 375°F for 18-20 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Delicately unmold the cakes. Set aside.
For the thickening agent: (as the replacement for eggs)
In a small bowl, combine the xanthan gum, liquid lecithin and canola oil. Stir well.
For the mulberry cream:
Using a hand-held mixer, whip the mascarpone cheese to soften it. Sweeten with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and beat until the texture is smooth and creamy. Add 3/4 the amount of the thickening agent, reserving the rest for the chocolate mousse.
Reserve about 20 mulberries for garnish. Strain the pulp of the rest through a large-mesh sieve over the fromage blanc, using the pestle (the stick) of a mortar and pestle or a silicone spatula to press through as much fruit purée as possible. Stir well until the deep pink color is even.
Whip 1 cup heavy cream (at low speed) for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add 4 tablespoons powdered sugar.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the fruit/cheese mixture in stages. Make sure the color is uniform.
For the chocolate mousse:
Combine ¼ cup melted chocolate with 2 tablespoons butter and stir until combined. Add the rest of the lecithin and xanthan gum mixture.
Whip ½ cup heavy cream (at low speed) for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add ½ cup powdered sugar.
Gently fold in the whipped cream in stages. Make sure the color is uniform.
You can assemble this dessert as it pleases you. Here's my suggestion:
Cover the bottom of a chilled glass with the pears. Spoon the mulberry cream, top with the chocolate cake. Pipe chocolate mousse over the cake and garnish with the reserved pear wedges and 2 fresh mulberries. Decorate with a dusting of powder sugar.
Serve warm with a hot cup of tea.
The shortening helps give a crunchy exterior to the chocolate cake.
I used Guittard unsweetened chocolate.
Xanthan gum is a fine powder used as a binder and emulsifier. If you look at the list of ingredients for salad dressings and ice cream at the supermarket, you'll find that they contain xanthan gum. I use it for texture and as an egg white substitute. You can find it online or in any specialty food store such as Whole Foods.
You can prepare the trifle in advance and store the elements separately in the refrigerator overnight.
You can make this dessert with any other fruit such as nectarines, peaches, berries, apples or figs, depending on the season. Be creative!
Check out my other desserts.Published By: on August 17, 2012.