12th December 2011

Chocolate Praline Dessert by Hans Schweitzer

Hans Schweitzer, head chef at Cotto in Cambridge, created this indulgent chocolate and praline dessert. Velvety ganacha and a praline mousse sandwich a crunchy hazlenut crisp: heaven on earth.

 

Serves 4Hans Schweitzer dish

For the chocolate sponge layer

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced

100g caster sugar

2 medium eggs

80g plain flour

20g crushed cocoa beans

1 tsp baking powder

30g cocoa powder

For the chocolate praline mousse

1 gelatine leafHans Schweitzer

50g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

2 medium egg yolks

1 tsp caster sugar

75g soft praline or hazelnut spread

250ml double cream

For the crunchy roasted hazelnut crisp

15g caster sugar

10g roasted and peeled hazelnuts

50g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

For the chocolate ganache mousseDesserts ready for oven

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

200ml double cream

For the chocolate discs

75g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

For the dark chocolate sauce

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

75ml full-fat milk

To serve

Vanilla ice cream

 

1. To make the chocolate sponge layer, preheat the oven to 160°C (Gas 3) and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or baking parchment. Pour the butter and sugar into a bowl and, using an electric hand-held mixer, whisk them together until pale and fluffy. Reduce the mixing speed to slow and add the eggs one by one. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add them to the mixture. Whisk the mixture for 1 minute and then spread it onto the prepared baking sheet to 3mm thick. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut out four sponge discs using an 8cm-diameter cookie cutter.

2. For the chocolate praline mousse, soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for about

5 minutes to soften. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and 2 tbsp of water in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water until hot and fluffy. Squeeze the gelatine to drain it, add it to the egg and sugar mix and stir until dissolved. Then add the praline or hazelnut spread and melted chocolate and whisk until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy texture. Allow to cool to room temperature, then whip the cream until stiff and fold into the mixture. Set aside.

3. For the crunchy roasted hazelnut crisp, line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or baking parchment. Put the sugar into a small heavy-based pan over a medium heat and let it melt and turn golden brown. Then add the nuts and caramelise quickly. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool and set. Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Crush the nut mix in a food processor until it forms a coarse powder and fold into the melted chocolate. Spread a thin layer of the mixture on to baking parchment and cool for 20 minutes. Using the same 8cm-diameter cutter as for the sponge, cut out four discs and keep them in a cool place.

4. For the chocolate ganache mousse, melt the chocolate in a large bowl in the microwave. Whip half of the cream to stiff peaks. Pour the other half of the cream into a pan, then bring to the boil and slowly stir it into the melted chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool and then fold in the whipped cream. 

5. For the chocolate discs, line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, baking parchment or a chocolate transfer sheet. Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Heat in 20-second blasts to check that it’s not burning and give it a stir. You will need it to reach 42°C. Then pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread the melted chocolate evenly and place in the fridge to set. Before the chocolate gets too hard, mark out four discs with the same 8cm-diameter cutter as used above. Place the sheet back in the fridge for another 10 minutes until set. Take out and gently lift out the four discs.

6. To assemble, place the separate elements into four 8cm-diameter ring moulds. Start with a sponge disc, then add a 1cm layer of the praline mousse, next a crunchy roasted hazelnut crisp, then almost fill each mould with the chocolate ganache mousse and top with a chocolate disc. Place in the fridge for about 3 hours to set.

7. For the dark chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Heat the milk in a pan to 85°C and stir into the melted chocolate. Keep warm.

8. To serve, take the four desserts out of the fridge, warm the rings slightly with a blow torch (or between warmed hands) and slide onto large plates. Pour over the hot chocolate sauce and top with a scoop of ice cream.

 

If you've eaten at Cotto, send The Good Food Guide your feedback!

Hans' recipe from Britain's Best Dish - The Chefs, along with the other recipes featured in the show, can be found in the sumptuous new recipe book Britain's Best Dish - The Chefs.

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