For the Salted Caramel
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (42g) light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup (60g) heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt or fleur de sel
- 2 tablespoons (28g) butter, cut into small pieces
- 12g caramelised white chocolate (like Valhrona dulcey), optional
- Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon water in a small, high-sided saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, brushing down any stray sugar crystals from the side of the pan using a wet pastry brush. Stop stirring once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Continue to boil, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking, until the sugar darkens to a rich amber colour. At this point, add the butter and whisk until completely melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and add the heavy cream. It will bubble violently and may appear to seize up; continue to stir until smooth and uniform. Once it’s smooth again, return to medium heat and boil until it reaches 230 to 235 degrees F.
- Let cool for 5 minutes or so, then add caramelised white chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature before layering onto frozen chocolate crémeux. Or, if you want to store and use it later, transfer to a jar or heat-proof container, then cover and refrigerate up to 7 days until ready to use.
For the Chocolate Crémeux
- 1/4 cup (60g) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (60g) whole milk
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 75g semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used a mix of 50g 60% dark chocolate and 25g 38% milk chocolate)
- 1 sheet leaf gelatin or 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- Bloom the gelatin. For leaf gelatin, cut into strips and place in a bowl with cold water for at least 5 minutes to soften. For powdered gelatin, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of cold water and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Gently melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over, but not touching, an inch or so of gently simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan. Heat over medium until steaming and barely starting to bubble.
- Whisk egg yolk in a small bowl. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup of hot milk mixture into the egg yolk, while whisking constantly. Continue to whisk in a bit more hot liquid at a time until egg mixture is hot to the touch. Add back to saucepan with remaining milk and return to medium heat.
- Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan as you go, until mixture thickens (it should read 170 degrees F on an instant read thermometer). Remove from heat.
- If using leaf gelatin, wring out as much water as possible. For powdered gelatin, microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir until melted. Add gelatin to hot milk mixture in the saucepan, whisking until well combined. Add melted chocolate and stir until completely incorporated.
- Spoon mixture into silicone molds (approximately 1 3/4-inches in diameter), leaving about 1/4-inch of room at the top of each mold (if you are skipping the caramel layer, you can fill the molds to the top). Place mold on a flat surface like a sheet pan, and place in the freezer, making sure the mold sits level. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
For the Chocolate Pecan Crumb Crust
- 2 tablespoons (25g) pecans
- 2/3 cup (80g) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (67g) organic or demerara sugar
- 2 tablespoons (14g) cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons (70g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 to 2 teaspoons whole milk, as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, pulse pecans until finely ground (don’t go so far as to make pecan butter; a coarse crumb is fine). Add flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt and pulse until evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle butter cubes over dry ingredients. Pulse until butter mixture forms coarse, dry crumbs. Pinch a bit of the mixture together between your fingers; if it sticks together, it’s good to go. If not, sprinkle over a teaspoon or two of milk and pulse until evenly incorporated.
- Dump crumb mixture into a prepared baking pan, and press into an even layer over the bottom.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Let cool slightly, then cut out 5 rounds (use a cookie cutter that is about 1/2 inch smaller overall than your silicone mold). It’s easier to cut cleanly while the crust is still warm.
For the Mirror Glaze
- 6 sheets leaf gelatin or 2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (226g) corn syrup or glucose syrup
- 1/2 cup (118g) water
- 1/2 cup (163g) sweetened condensed milk
- 7oz (200g) good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- gel or powdered food coloring
- rolo candies, unwrapped and dusted with gold luster, for decoration
- Cut leaf gelatin into 1-inch strips and submerge in cool water for at least 5 minutes to soften. Place white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is clear.
- Remove from heat and add gelatin (squeeze out as much water as possible first) and whisk until completely dissolved. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk.
- Pour hot mixture over chopped white chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds, then stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth (you can also use an immersion blender if you have one to expedite this process, just try not to mix air bubbles into the glaze if possible).
- Let the glaze cool, stirring occasionally, until glaze reaches approximately 90-94 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. The glaze needs to be the correct temperature or it will not form a thick enough layer on the outside of the cakes.
- When the glaze reaches 95-96 degrees F, add powder or gel food coloring as desired (I used a generous amount of Americolor Super Red, you need quite a bit more than you think you will to get an ultra rich color). If at any point your glaze gets too cool/thick, microwave it in 10 second bursts, stirring to even out the temperature throughout.
- If you want to make the glaze ahead of time, store it tightly covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Before glazing, rewarm the glaze in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well after each interval, until glaze is once again smooth and fluid. It’ll likely be warmer than your target temperature of 94 degrees, so let it cool, stirring occasionally, until it cools down again to the appropriate temperature.
- Unmold frozen mousse cakes and place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet to catch any excess glaze. Pour glaze generously over cakes. If your glaze seems a bit thin, you can do another layer, or let the glaze cool down a few more degrees which should give you a thicker layer. Allow the excess glaze to drip off for 5 or 10 minutes, then gently scrape the edges to remove any remaining drops.
- Carefully transfer cakes using an offset spatula to cardboard cake rounds or small pieces of cardboard for easy movement. Any leftover glaze can be scraped up and refrigerated in an airtight container for later use.
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