Winter season often means food gets richer, heavier… But to counter that I made a light, mousse based cake with fresh fruit, all in keeping with the seasonal produce – persimmons and hazelnuts.
Despite this cake being a birthday present, I wanted to go with a bit risky choice of persimmon, which is a fruit people either love or hate (and from my experience, hate seems to be more common). The mushy, sweet fruit needed to be balanced with a fresh taste, so I added a cheesecake part. Both are enveloped by a smooth, wintery taste of lightly sugared hazelnut mousse. For added visual appeal, the cake is glazed with a chocolate mirror glaze.
RECIPE and PROCEDURE
For an 18 cm mould
Cookie crumble base
- 60 g cookies (I used speculoos, but go with your preferences)
- 40 g roughly chopped and toasted hazelnuts
- 20 g butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 180 c.
Prepare the base by finely crumbling the cookies and mixing them with hazelnuts and butter. Press the mixture into a greased mould and bake for about 10min. Let cool before using.
- 1 ripe persimmon, washed and diced
- 5 ml rhum (I used a basic cooking rhum, still works the best for desserts)
- 10 g butter
- Nutmeg, ginger,cinnamon to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 ml heavy cream
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add in the diced persimmon, along with rhum, cream, vanilla and spices. Simmer slowly to soften the persimmon, for about 10 min. Then mix to obtain a smooth purée. If the puree is thick enough, you can leave it like that, if it is too liquid, you can add 2 g of gelatin in the mixture while it is still hot, to make sure it will hold its shape. You can prepare the persimmon a day in advance and keep it refrigerated until use.
- 120 g cream cheese
- 40 g sugar
- 2 g gelatin
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 120 g heavy cream, whipped
Beat together sugar and cream cheese. Add vanilla extract. Boil about 2 tablespoons of water and dissolve the gelatin in it. When completely dissolved, mix it in with the cream cheese. Finally, fold in the whipped cream with a spatula. Refrigerate until use.
Chocolate mirror glaze
- 75 ml cream
- 38 g water
- 11 g glucose
- 110 g butter
- 225 g sugar
- 3 g gelatin
- 60 g cocoa powder, unsweetened
Prepare the glaze after you have put the cake in the freezer. Combine XXX and slowly bring to boil. When it begins to boil, remove from stove and mix in the (hydrated) gelatin. Finally sift in the cocoa powder and mix it all with a handheld mixer, to remove all lumps. When mixing, be careful not to add in air – do not lift the mixer out of the liquid while it’s on. Let cool to room temperature before using.
- 70 g milk
- 80 g heavy cream
- 100 g hazelnut pralin paste (I used a store bought paste. You can use homemade version (mix the nuts until they become a paste), but then you will probably need to increase the sugar amount, as the store bought pralin paste is already sweetened.)
- 1 egg (50 g)
- 25 g sugar
- 8 g cornstarch
- 3 g gelatin
Make the pralin mousse by heating the milk together with the pralin paste. Meanwhile,whisk together the egg, sugar and cornstarch. When the milk begins to boil, remove from stove, pour about one third into the egg mixture and whisk thoroughly. Then return the egg mixture in the remaining milk and heat on medium heat, whisking constantly. Remove from stove when it begins to boil and mix in the gelatin (which you have previously hydrated, if not using instant gelatin). Let cool, meanwhile whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the pralin mixture. You can now start the assembly.
To assemble, pipe a circle of persimmon purée on the cookie base, leaving about 3 cm around the perimeter. Fill that space in with cheesecake mousse, leaving only 1 cm edge this time. Cover the persimmon purée entirely with the cheesecake mousse. Let cool a little if necessary, to avoid the cream cheese to mix with the next layer of pralin mousse. Pipe that one on top and around the other two, so that it will be the only one visible before the cake is cut. Smooth out the top using a palette knife and freeze for at least 3 h. Meanwhile, prepare the mirror glaze and let it cool down to almost room temperature. When the cake is frozen, unmould it, then place it on a wire rack, with a pan underneath, to catch the glaze. Pour the glaze over the cake, making sure it covers all the sides. Let it settle for a few moments, then transfer the cake to a platter and decorate.