Recipe by: Kirsten Tibballs
- For the pistachio dacquoise, preheat oven to 170C.
- Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer to soft peaks, on medium speed.
- Increase speed to high, then gradually add caster sugar while mixing continuously to allow sugar to dissolve. Add food colouring, whisking to combine.
- Meanwhile, combine pistachios, icing sugar and flour in a bowl.
- Gently fold meringue into bowl with pistachio mixture until just combined.
- Using a palette knife, evenly spread mixture into a 35 x 25cm Flexipat or same-size tray lined with baking paper. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes, then remove, and set aside to cool completely.
- Trim dacquoise to 33cm x 23cm rectangle.
Crispy almond layer
- For the crispy almond layer, grease and line the cake pan with baking paper.
- Melt chocolate to 36°C in a microwave in 30 second increments. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Evenly press mixture into cake pan. Set aside until just before the almond layer sets, then place dacquoise layer on top.
- Brush a thin layer of jam over the top of the pistachio dacquoise.
- For the chocolate cremeux, bring cream to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until well combined. Whisking constantly, slowly add half of the warm cream to bowl with egg yolk mixture until combined.
- Pour egg yolk mixture into pan with remaining cream, and place over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until mixture reaches 80°C, and coats the back of the wooden spoon.
- Meanwhile, place chocolate in a medium bowl. Strain cream mixture through a fine sieve over the chocolate, and stir until melted and combined.
- Pour crémeux over the raspberry jam layer.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. You can freeze for up to 1 month in the freezer.
Chocolate leaves and bark
- For the chocolate leaves and bark, temper dark chocolate as per instructions below.
- For the bark, brush a thin layer of chocolate onto a piece of baking paper and roll up and set aside.
- For the leaves, brush a thin layer on each leaf, until you can’t see the leaf. Once the chocolate has set, carefully remove the leaf.
- For the chocolate mushrooms, temper chocolate as per instructions below. Add a few drops of water at a time, stirring until the chocolate thickens to a piping consistency. With a disposable piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle, pipe 3 mushroom bases onto a tray lined with baking paper. Set aside until firm.
Red chocolate heart tops
- For the heart tops, temper chocolate as per instructions below. Sift the red powder into ¾ of the white chocolate and mix until combined. Transfer red chocolate to a piping bag made of baking paper. Pipe red chocolate into heart shapes, using a template as a guide underneath a sheet of baking paper. Set the chocolate for 20-30 minutes before removing from the paper.
- Use the remaining white chocolate to pipe white dots onto the mushroom tops, and to stick the tops and stems together.
- Place pistachios in a bowl and add green metallic, tossing to coat.
- To assemble, temper the dark chocolate as per instructions below. Brush a thin layer of chocolate onto the surface of the cake to create a rough texture. Brush with gold metallic once set.
- Garnish with chocolate leaves, bark, chocolate mushrooms, pebbles, raspberries and hazelnuts.
- Place required chocolate in a plastic bowl (glass retains too much heat).
- Melt chocolate in a microwave for no more than 30-second increments, stirring in between.
- Melt chocolate until you have 50% solid chocolate and 50% melted chocolate. Continue stirring without applying any additional heat. It may take a few minutes for all of the solid chocolate to melt. Stir continuously during this time.
- If the chocolate does not melt completely, apply gentle heat with a hair drier. Do a test by spreading a small amount of chocolate onto a piece of baking paper, in a room at a temperature no higher than 22C. The chocolate should set at room temperature in 5-10 minutes. a. Dark couverture should set in approximately 5 minutes. b. Milk couverture should set in approximately 7 minutes. c. White chocolate should set in approximately 10 minutes.
- It is necessary to maintain the chocolate in a liquid state by reheating if necessary. Be sure to take a new test every time you reheat.
Notes: *You will need a 33cm x 23cm cake pan for this recipe.
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