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Making-of: Chocolate and Cherry (EN)

Creativity
Today I would like to present to you a making-of the newest dessert of mine „Chocolate and cherry“ (or Black Forest Gateau). Every now and then it happens, that I drift from recreating recipes and start getting creative of my own. My favorites are desserts and cakes, so this is why my own creations are mostly revolving around sweet stuff. This is also the case here.

Before I start with the making-of, I want to share with you my own creative process.

For me, personally, it is not that easy all the time to always have new ideas but what helps me out is to stick to certain circumstances or features. In the winter time I try to imagine flavor compositions which pair well with each other and of course pair well to the respective season. Thinking of winter, I imagine pears, cinnamon and ginger. If you continue thinking about this, you easily think of a pear sorbet, pears and my some ginger crumble. Now, the pears can also be processed differently: they can be poached, be puréed or served raw. As “easy” as that the basic components for a dessert are chosen.

Now I would think of the plating. There are really infinite possibilities in plating a dish. You can find inspiration in nature, architecture, art or also electronically on Instagram or Pinterest. It helps enormously seeing other people plate their dishes. And eventually you find your own style. Me, I am still searching 😉 .

Apart from these precise thoughts about plating, it also helps a lot, to stick to some guidelines. I can really recommend the short articleDan Graham about Plating. For me, I try to stick to the following guidelines:

1. Understanding the character of the dish
2. Simplicity
3. Geometry and space

What constitutes a dish? What are the main ingredients? What do I want to express with the dish? If you can answer these questions, then you took a big step forward. The answers influence in some kind of way on how the ingredients are plated. If I deconstructed (see definition below) a lemon tart and I want to achieve the same kind of flavor I should place the lemon curd not so far away from the tart shell, which is maybe recreated in form of a crumble or shards of it, in order to enable a person to get both ingredients on the spoon. Of course, you can always play with the opposite.

The idiom less is more is applicable in most cases. This is also true for dishes. An overloaded plate is hardly appetizing, A few drops of gel or a clean quenelle of ice cream seems way more appealing. The simplicity is not only expressed via plating but also in processing of the ingredients. Frequently, an ingredient does not have to be overloaded with spices and herbs but can rather be served in its simplicity. The taste of its own has to convince alone. This guideline is followed by chef Daniel Humm consequently in his Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park in New York. In his newest cook book this simplicity is depicted. There is not much on the plates. But what is on the plates is cooked to perfection. Gordon Ramsay also follows a similar approach. There are no fancy ingredients which have no meaning to the dish. Every ingredient has to earn its place on the plate.

The knowledge of geometry and space is also helpful while plating. If you remember to give the dish a little space, you can drastically change the appeal of the dish. Tidied up and neatly structured. Placing the dish near to the edge of the plate or placing it in the center. Seemingly chaotic or maybe in lines? The possibilities are endless. Also the amount of ingredients plays an important role. A odd number of components is in most cases more pleasing to the eye. The (white) plates can be imagined as some kind of canvas – ready to be painted on.

Chocolate and cherry
So, how did I come up with “Chocolate and Cherry”? Well, I often have a try at a known technique, the so-called deconstructing. With this technique dishes are separated in their single components and placed separately on the plate again. The texture can be different to the original texture and does not have to represent the original texture necessarily . As I am a cake fiend, I find it easy to start with new desserts by interpreting known cakes or just simply deconstruct them. It also happened that I came across a juicy Black Forest Gateau in a café, so I the only thing I could think of was on how I can transform this cake into a dessert.

First of all, I was thinking about what the main ingredients of a Black Forest Gateau are. Namely this is the cherry, chocolate and cream. In most cases I write down all the components which can be created out of these ingredients.

In doing so, I came up with highly diverse components, which of course, not all of them made it into the final dessert. While brainstorming the single components I try to stick to number one of my guidelines. For example, I wanted the grated chocolate on the original cake also integrated into my dessert for a crunchy texture. In doing so, the brainstormed airy chocolate component lost against the dried chocolate mousse. The mousse alone would be to creamy for the dessert for my liking but drying the mousse gives it a whole different character and also provides the necessary crunch. Varying textures makes a dessert interesting or boring.

I wanted to keep the chocolate sponge in remembrance of the original cake. This sponge can be dosed nicely, for example by cutting it in cubes or some other forms. The typical kirsch flavor can be achieved by soaking the sponge. Much like the original one.

The other main ingredient, the cherry, can be played with. This counters the simplicity but rules are made to be broken. The cherry filling of the cake is also present in the desert as a compote. The other textures are contributed by the rehydrated cherries and cherry gel. A sorbet of cherries also a sure shot.

The cream was a little bit of a risky component, because I wanted the dessert to be rather fresh and not heavy as the chocolate sponge might suggest. This is why I decided to add a light vanilla foam made of yoghurt. The meringue also fulfill their duty, for one being soft and light bur also crunchy and second also add nice white color to the dessert. So the meringues suited me as a replacement for the cream.

Now, the only question left is how the dish is going to be plated. While writing down the components I sometimes have incursions on how to also plate it. So, these ideas are also outlined on my sheet of paper. Later on, I sometimes tinker myself a nice template on the computer. With this dessert I have tried to recreate the nice round shape of the cake. The basic idea was a neat circular arrangement of all components. The chocolate sponge and the dried chocolate mousse enable one to build a three-dimensional-structure with heights and depths.

Making-of

I finally decided for the following ingredients and plating:

Cherry Sorbet

For the sorbet I used deep-frozen sour cherries, which are defrosted, pureed and passed. The cherry puree is cooked with sugar, glucose, dextrose, inulin a binding agent and water and afterwards churned in an ice cream maker.

Cherry compote

For the cherry compote I used morellos out of a glass. I cooked a caramel and deglazed it with white wine, and cooked it down and repeated the step with the juice left in the glass. Afterwards pureed and passed the mixture. Whole defrosted sour cherries are added. Of course, a little kirsch has to be added.

Cherry gel

I made cherry gel out of morellos and its juice, by cooking them with sugar and lemon juice. I pureed and passed the mixture, wherein agar agar is added to the mixture and cooked again. The liquid is poured on a baking try to form a solid gel which is then blended.

Rehydrated cherries

The dried cherries need of course a liquid to rehydrate in, so I made a syrup out of simple syrup, cherry juice and kirsch. I then placed the cherries into the liquid to soak.

Chocolate sponge

For the chocolate sponge a baked a fluffy sponge, which I cut into cubes of different sizes. Die biggest cubes are soaked into a syrup made out of simple syrup and kirsch before being plated.

Dried chocolate mousse

Basis of this mousse are two different kinds of bitter chocolate, namely 50% and 70% bitter chocolate. I melted the chocolates over a bain-marie and stirred in an egg yolk. After this folded a Meringue into the chocolate mixture and poured everything on a silicone baking mat. With an offset spatula I tried to spread the mousse as thin as possible before baking it at 65°C in an oven for eight hours. After the hardening of the mouse and cooling down I broke it into pieces.

Vanilla foam

For the vanilla foam mixed greek yoghurt with sugar and some lime juice, heated milk and flavored it with vanilla and dissolved gelatin in it. Then the mixture is filled into a siphon and charged with one capsule. To solidify the foam the siphone has to rest in the fridge for at least six hours.

Meringue

For the meringue I whipped egg whites and added sugar gradually until the meringue is glossy and firm. The meringue is then baked at 60°C.

For the plating I used a ring mould and spread cherry gel along the inside of the mould, wherein the gel is afterwards spread with a small brush along the ring mould. On the spread gel I placed three big cubes of soaked chocolate sponge. After that, I placed two big meringues and some small non-soaked cubes of chocolate sponge. On and next to the cubes I placed three rehydrated cherries and some gel, as well as small meringue. Then the cherry compote followed, again with three whole cherries. Adjacent to the cubes I placed shards of the dried chocolate mousse. Between the cubes I sprayed some vanilla foam. In a remaining spot on the gel circle in placed some crushed meringues as fundament for the cherry sorbet. Finally a quenelle of the cherry sorbet is placed on the crushed meringues. Serve immediately!

This dessert won me over its different textures and reminded me strongly of a Black Forest Gateau. With the different ingredients together in the mouth and the eyes closed one can really think of this cherry cake. The light vanilla foam stands really out in a positive way, as it really provides a little thrill through the fresh notes of lime. A nice diversion! The dessert is really time consuming but many components can be made days ahead so that dessert can be assembled quickly.

So much for the making-of the dessert Chocolate and Cherry. I hope I could give you a little insight in to the way I plan and realize my desserts and dishes. If you have any questions feel free to ask via commentary or email.

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