Sugar-crusted Strawberry Chiboust Mousse Fantasy
Spectacular chocolate and vanilla designs draw attention to these pretty molds, creamy Chiboust creams bordered with strawberry slices and topped with a crisp sugar crust. This dessert takes its name from the pastry chef best known for the creation of Gateau Saint-Honore (Chiboust) because it is based on the cream which customarily goes with the Gateau. This dessert would definitely be considered “advanced!”
- Pastry Cream
- Milk - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- White Eggs - 2
- Cornstarch - 1/4 cup
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Strawberry Chiboust
- Unflavored gelatin - 1/2 packet
- Cool Water - 1/4 cup
- Pastry Cream - 1 cup (above)
- Strawberry Puree - 2 ounces
- Egg Whites - 4
- Sugar - 3 tablespoons
- Strawberries - 8, large, hulled and cut into thin vertical slices
- Vanilla Sauce
- Milk - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Unflavored gelatin - 1 packet
- Cool Water - 1/4 cup
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Egg Yolks - 10
- Chocolate Ganache
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup
- Semi-sweet chocolate - 4 ounces, chopped
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Brown Sugar - 4 tablespoons, granulated
To prepare the pastry cream: Combine the milk, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, cornstarch, and milk, mixing until smooth. Stir a large spoonful of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then stir the two mixtures together and put back over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside.
To prepare the Chiboust: Dissolve the gelatin in the water. Stir the dissolved gelatin into the still-warm pastry cream, then fold in the strawberry puree. Chill for 30 minutes. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue beating at high speed until soft peaks form. Fold the meringue into the cooled strawberry pastry cream.
Lightly coat the insides of four 2-inch-by-1-3/4-inch molds with butter. Stand strawberry slices around the inside circumference of each mold, points up. Spoon the Chiboust mixture into the molds, pressing the strawberry slices against the sides of the molds. Smooth the tops, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours, or overnight. You could also use a large ring mold and make one large dessert, to be sliced.
To make the vanilla sauce: Put the milk in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk, then drop in the pod. Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Dissolve the gelatin in the cool water. In a bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks until smooth. Stir a large spoonful of hot milk into the egg mixture to temper, then put the egg mixture into the milk. Stir over low heat to combine, then stir in the gelatin. Remove from heat, strain, and let cool.
To make the ganache: Bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the chocolate and butter; let melt, then stir together. Chill in the refrigerator.
To decorate the plates: Bring the chocolate ganache to room temperature. Cut a design template from light-weight cardboard, making a stencil; Chef Albrecht uses a design of waving stripes within a circle about three-fourths the diameter of the interior of his plates, but you may use any design you wish.
Place the stencil in a cool dessert plate. Spread ganache through the stencil with a thin spatula, scraping off the excess. Put in the refrigerator with the stencil still in place for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the stencil and place the plate, now marked with the chocolate design, back in the refrigerator for storage. Repeat to decorate four plates. The plates may be decorated with the chocolate ahead of time and kept chilled.
To serve: Carefully spoon vanilla sauce into the plates, letting the sauce run into the spaces of the chocolate design without getting any on the chocolate itself. When the designs are filled, set the plates aside.
Cover the top of each Chiboust mold with brown sugar. Caramelize the sugar with a small kitchen torch or under the broiler. Return to the refrigerator for 3 minutes to cool and set. Carefully run a sharp knife around the inside edge of each mold and unmold each dessert. Place one to one side on each decorated plate.