This apple spice entremet emphasizes apple and cinnamon, making it the perfect Fall or Winter dessert. It consists of layers of almond dacquoise, apple gelee, white chocolate mousse, and an outer caramel glacage. With a spiral apple garnish on top, this little cake makes quite the statement.
For whisking the egg whites, you will want an electric whisker. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a handheld mixer. Whisking egg whites by hand will take an inconveniently long time, so I recommend investing in a KitchenAid.
Makes 6 small entremets.
As with most entremets (French mousse layer cakes), this is a multi-step recipe that you will have to spread across two days. Fortunately, many of the components can be prepared in advance.
My favorite apple to use for pastry is golden delicious, but honeycrisp, gala, or fuji will also work just fine. Feel free to choose any crisp apple (even granny smith), but stay away from red delicious! It's America's favorite apple for reasons that escape me, but it tastes and feels like wet sand.
Start by simmering the wine in a small saucepan. Add the cloves and the cinnamon stick. Let this brew for at least 15 minutes, but longer is better.
Now peel, core, and dice your apples into small chunks. Have a bowl of acidified water nearby to toss your apples into as you dice them. Exposing the apples to the air for too long will oxidize them and turn them an unappetizing brown. Before heating them, be sure to strain and pat them dry.
Heat a separate pan at medium heat and toss in your butter and sugar. Wait for the sugar to caramelize a bit. Then toss in your strained apples and let caramelize for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice. When the apples are fairly brown and caramelized, deglaze by adding in the wine.
Reduce the wine by half and taste. You may need to add sugar, lemon, or water depending on your taste. Then add in the gelatin and stir until it is fully dissolved. Transfer the apples to a 9 x 13 inch dish for the apples to cool.
Dacquoise (pronounced "dac-qwa") is just a simple almond cake leavened with meringue.
Almond flour will usually have about 20% larger chunks of roughly ground almond. For a smoother dacquoise, sift both the almond flour and regular flour through a sieve. Using a food processor, grind the remaining bits into a fine powder, sift, and repeat until there are almost no more large grains.
If you have not already, read how to make a swiss meringue for a more detailed tutotial of this next step.
Prepare the Swiss meringue by whipping egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar together over a simmering water bath. Whip until the egg whites reach 140°F (60°C) or are very hot to the touch. Transfer to a stand mixer (or a bowl if using a handheld beater) and whip on high until you reach stiff peaks.
With a spatula, fold half of the flour into the meringue, then the remaining half. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (like Ateco #807) with the dacquoise. With parchment paper or a silicone mat on a pan, pipe the dacquoise into a circle.
Bake at 350°F (180°C) until the top is golden brown. When cooled, use pastry a pastry cutter to cut circles to fit the entremet molds. For a moister cake, brush these with simple syrup or some sugar dissolved in cognac. If you happen to have any syrup leftover from babas au rhum, even better!
Heat the milk, vanilla, and cognac until just below bubbling. Meanwhile whip the cream to stiff peaks. This will be folded into the milk and chocolate.
Place the chocolate and gelatin in a bowl. When the milk is hot, pour it over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate and gelatin until it is fully dissolved and there are no clumps or particles. When the milk-chocolate-gelatin reaches room temperature, fold in the whipped cream in thirds.
Leave the mousse at room temperature (do not refrigerate yet) until the other components are ready.
Make a dry caramel by heating the sugar in a pan with no liquid until the sugar starts to caramelize. Mix the starch into the water to form a slurry and deglaze the pan before the sugar starts to burn. Add the gelatin, then the cream, and whisk. Be careful not to introduce too many bubbles as these will not pop easily in the thickened liquid.
Before using, the glacage must cool to a temperature of 84°F (29°C).
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