Hazelnut Napoleon Filled with Chocolate-Kahlua and Passion Fruit Granite
These are traditional napoleons, made of hazelnut meringue sponge layered with chocolate-kahlua mousse and iced with dark and white chocolate. The passion fruit granite and lace cookie baskets are optional; the dessert is elegant without them. There’s an extra bonus: cutting the napoleon strip into triangles leaves two tiny triangles on each end, just right for sampling!
- Passion Fruit Granite
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup
- Passion fruit puree - 2 cups
- Hazelnut Meringue Sponge
- Egg Whites - 16
- Sugar - 2-1/2 cups
- Hazelnuts - 2-1/2 cups, ground
- Chocolate-Kahlua Mousse
- Unflavored gelatin - 1-1/2 packets
- Cold Water - 1/3 cup
- Semi-sweet chocolate - 1 pound, chopped
- Egg Yolks - 7
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Kahlua liqueur - 1/2 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1-1/2 cups
- Semi-sweet chocolate - 4 ounces, chopped
- White Chocolate - 1 ounce, chopped
- Lace Cookie Baskets
- Unsalted Butter - 6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks)
- Sugar - 2/3 cup
- Light Corn Syrup - 3/4 cup
- Orange Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Unsifted Flour - 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- Chocolate Garnish
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 8 ounces, chopped
- Fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved - 12
- Kumquats - 12, sliced
- Passion Fruit - 6, quartered
- Confectioner’s sugar - for dusting
- Mango puree - 1-1/2 cups
To make the granite: In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the white wine and passion fruit puree. Pour into a shallow layer in a 2-inch-deep metal baking pan and freeze until slushy. Stir with a fork and freeze again. Stir again with a fork and freeze again.
To make the sponge: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two 14-inch-by-16-inch sheet pans with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add the sugar gradually while beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold in the ground hazelnuts. Spread out 3/4-inch thick on the prepared pans. Bake for 10 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool. The meringue will flatten slightly.
To make the mousse: Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water. Melt the 1 pound of chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Stir in the Kahlua. Beat the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.
To assemble the napoleon: Place a large wire rack in a large baking sheet. In separate small pans, melt the semi-sweet and white chocolates over barely simmering water. Place the white chocolate in a small squeeze bottle. Gently lift the meringue sponge out of the pans and place on a work surface. Cut each meringue sponge crosswise into 3 equal pieces (pieces will measure approximately 5-1/4 inches by 14 inches). Trim the sponge so that all pieces are the same size. Begin with a layer of sponge placed on the wire rack. Spread a layer of mousse on the sponge, covering edge-to-edge. Top with another piece of sponge and spread with another layer of mousse. Continue until you have 6 layers of sponge and 5 layers of mouse. Gently press together. Ladle the melted semi-sweet chocolate over the top layer of the sponge, letting it run down the sides. Spread smooth with a spatula. Working diagonally from one corner across the top of the glaze to the opposite corner, draw lines across the top with the white chocolate. Pull across the lines at right angles with a toothpick or sharp knife, spacing the pulls about 3 inches apart. Then pull back in the opposite direction between the first pulls, forming a feathered design. Refrigerate to set.
To make the cookie baskets: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease and flour a baking sheet. Cream the butter and sugar together until light. Stir in the corn syrup, orange juice, and flour. Drop the batter on the prepared sheet by rounded teaspoonfuls and spread into a circle with the back of the spoon. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and immediately press down over the bottoms of inverted small cups or glasses to form into baskets. If the cookies become too cool to form, rewarm by placing them back in the oven for 30 seconds to a minute, until they become pliable again.
To make the chocolate garnishes: In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate. Spread heavy flexible plastic on the backs of 2 baking sheets. Pour the chocolate on the plastic and spread it out just under 1/8-inch thick. Let cool until the surface just loses its gloss, then cut through the chocolate in abstract S-shaped curves, making 12 long, thin curving pieces. Peel the extra chocolate away from the garnishes and chill the garnishes to set. The extra chocolate may be melted and reused.
To serve: Cut the napoleons into triangles: Measure 2-inch intervals along one long side of the strip. Measure in 1 inch rom the end of the other side of the strip and then again measure 2-inch intervals, ending with 1 inch left over. Using a very sharp knife or an electric knife, cut diagonally from mark to mark, creating 13 triangles. Clean the knife blade between each cut. With a small sharp knife, slice the strawberries almost all the way through from the tip up to the green top, leaving the top attached; fan out. Dust the plates with confectioner’s sugar. Put the mango puree in a squeeze bottle and draw a zigzag on each serving plate. Stand one napoleon point-up on each serving plate. Place a cookie basket on each plate, anchoring it in the coulis. Place 2 passion fruit quarters on each plate. Garnish each plate with kumquat slices, a chocolate garnish, mint leaf, and strawberry fan. Stir the granite again with a fork and fill the cookie cups with granite just before serving.