Canopée d’Automne

First snow today has finally made me realize that it’s about time to write this post, before i fall out of season. The Canopée d’Automne is a light dessert evoking autumnal flavours. Chestnut mousse is complemented by vanilla one, both accented by an insert of poached spiced pears and closed off with earthier walnut taste of the dacquoise. Though the idea came before tasting Yann’s autumn inspired cocktail, the two go together perfectly. As the last leaves fall down, enjoying this dessert while slowly sipping on the English autumn cocktail makes the fruits of the fall season taste that much sweeter.

The first time I made the dessert in a bigger format, as inspiration for the recipe came before i could buy the right molds. It works ok in a such a cake form, and can be nicely cut. But the idea was nevertheless to make it in individual size, as the latter photos show. I used a half-dome mold 8cm in diameter. The recipe suffices for 5 of them.
Canopée d’automne paired here with an Espresso Martini.
Walnut dacquoise
  • 75g of rughly ground walnuts
  • 75g of powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Whip the egg whites with salt into firm meringue, gradually adding sugar as the first peaks begin to form. Next, fold in the coarsely ground walnuts and gently mix with a spatula. Spread over a sheet of parchment paper and bake for about 15min.
The dacquise can also be prepared a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
Pear inserts
  • 2 pears (i used Williams pear)
  • 1dcl white wine (i choose a sweeter one)
  • 50g sugar
  • spices – nutmeg, cloves, star anis, cinnamon
Wash, peel and dice the pears. Boil the wine with spices and sugar, add pears and cook on medium heat, until the pears soften, but are still somewhat firm. Strain, and  and mix the gelatin in the liquid part. Pour it into the half dome molds, filling about the top 1/4 of them. Add pear pieces. Let set in the freezer for about 1 hour. When solid, demold, and keep the inserts in the fridge (or freezer, for easier handling) for later use.
Vanilla mousse
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2g gelatin
  • 10g sugar
  • 5g flour or cornstarch
  • 135g heavy whipping cream (divided into 45g and 90g portions)
  • 1 vanilla bean (half will also work)
Whisk the egg yolk with sugar and flour, until the mixture is smooth. you can add a bit of cream to dilute the mixture, so it will be easier to work with. Heat the 45g of cream with the vanilla seeds. when the mixture boils, remove from stove and mix it with the yolk mixture. Return back to the stove on low heat, mixing constantly until the mixture thickens. Stop cooking at this point, and mix in the gelatin. Let cool slightly. meanwhile, softly whip the remaining 90g of cream. Gently fold it into the vanilla cream and mix carefully with a spatula.
Chestnut mousse
  • 40g eggs
  • 40g sugar
  • 20g flour or cornstarch
  • 200g milk
  • 4cl rhum
  • 60g chestnut cream
  • 10g gelatin
  • 200g heavy whipping cream
I used store bought chestnut cream, but it is easy enough to make at home. Cook chestnuts, add sugar, vanilla and cream to taste, and mix until it makes a homogeneous, smooth paste.
For the mousse, combine eggs with sugar and starch, as for the vanilla mousse. Meanwhile, heat the milk, rhum and the chestnut cream. Bring it to boiling point, remove from stove, add in the egg mixture and return to the stove. When the cream has thickened, stop cooking and add gelatin, letting it dissolve completely. Whip the cream and fold it in. You are ready to commence the assembly 🙂
Pipe chestnut mousse into the molds. using a spatula, spread it around the edges of the dome, so that there is space in the middle. Pipe in the vanilla mousse to fill that space. Gently place in the pear inserts, taking care that they dont fall through to the top. Cover with some more chestnut mousse and flatten the bottom. Cut circles a bit smaller than the molds you are using from the dacquoise. Place them on top of the mousse, press gently so it adheres then freeze for about 1 hour, until it is firm. To demold, if using silicone moulds, simply press the frozen mousse out. If using hard molds, run the top under warm water (making sure none of it gets inside), until the mousse is released. Decorate with some powdered cocoa and chunks of walnuts.
Canopée d’Automne presented with a short drink version of the English Autumn

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