Black Sesame Nougatines with Green Tea Mousse and Glazed Chestnuts
These napoleonlike desserts blend the Asian tastes of black sesame seeds and green tea with the old-world flavor of caramelized chestnuts. Star fruit lends a tropical look and taste, although other fruit could be used.
- Glazed Chestnuts
- Canned Chestnuts - 36, drained
- Water - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- Sugar - 1-1/4 cup
- Honey - 1/4 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/3 cup
- Black Sesame Seeds - 2 cups
- Bread flour - 3/4 cup
- Green Tea Mousse
- Egg Yolks - 15
- Sugar - 1-1/3 cups
- Green Tea powder - 2 tablespoons
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups, beaten to firm peaks
- Grand Marnier - 2 tablespoons
- Egg Whites - 8
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Star fruits - 3, cut into 1/8-inch slices
- Raspberry Puree - 1/2 cup
- Fresh Raspberries - 48
- Fresh mint sprigs - 8
To glaze the chestnuts: Pat the chestnuts dry with paper towels. In a heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar and stir over low heat just until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook, brushing away the crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a damp brush. Do not stir. Let the mixture boil until the sugar turns golden brown. Remove from heat immediately and place the pan in a bowl of ice water. When the caramel has cooled slightly, cradle a chestnut in a fork and dip into the caramel to coat. Set aside on aluminum foil. Dip all the chestnuts. If the caramel thickens too much before you finish, warm it gently to melt. Reserve the sauce.
To make the nougatines: Line a baking sheet with foil, or spray with vegetable oil spray. In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, honey, and cream and bring to a strong boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture reaches 240 F, or until a small amount dropped into a glass of cold water forms a soft, pliable ball. In a small bowl, mix together the sesame seeds and flour, then stir it into the sugar mixture and mix well. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes, or until set and crisp. Let cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 38 pieces.
To make the mousse: In a large bowl, beat the yolks until foamy. Gradually add one cup of the sugar, beating continually until fluffy. Beat the green tea powder into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the cream and Grand Marnier. Cover and refrigerate. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites to firm, glossy peaks. Fold a large spoonful of meringue into the green tea mixture, then fold in the remaining meringue. Cover with plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator.
To assemble: Warm the caramel sauce until it can flow. Lay 1 nougatine on a serving plate. Put the mousse in a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe a 3/4-inch-thick mound of mousse on the nougatine. Pour 1 large spoonful of caramel sauce on the mousse and press 3 glazed chestnuts into the caramel. Place another nougatine on top. Repeat with a second layer of mousse, caramel, and 3 more chestnuts. Dust a nougatine heavily with confectioner’s sugar and place on top. Repeat to make 4 stacks.
To serve: Place a nougatine-mousse stack in the center of each serving plate. Heat a skewer and lay across the top of each dusted nougatine several times to create a caramelized design in the sugar. Garnish each plate with raspberry puree, star fruit, raspberries, and chestnuts. Finish each with a mint sprig.