Crispy Chocolate Phyllo Napoleon
This lovely dessert stacks chocolate-basted phyllo triangles, mocha ganache, and ginger-orange cream. Wafer-thin pear slices hide inside, and are also used as a garnish. Chef Gand uses sheets of glass as plates, decorating then with bright cranberry coulis, mango sauce, and soft whipped cream. The ganache must chill at least 8 hours; it may be made a day ahead.
- Mocha Ganache
- Valrhona - 1 pound, or other fine bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Milk - 1 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Coffee - 1-1/2 tablespoons, ground
- Vanilla bean - 1/2, split
- Sugar - 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon
- Chocolate Phyllo Triangles
- Cocoa Powder - 1/4 cup
- Clarified Butter - 1/2 cup (see Basics)
- Phyllo Sheets - 3, thawed
- Granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Cranberry Coulis
- Fresh Cranberries - 1/2 bag
- Water - 1 cup
- Sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Mango Sauce
- Mango - 1, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Ginger-Orange Cream
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Brown Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Fresh Ginger - 2 teaspoons, ground
- Orange - Rind of 1 orange, grated
- Pears - 2 ripe
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
To make the mocha ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, coffee, vanilla bean, and sugar and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-meshed sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth into the chocolate. Let stand for a minute to allow the chocolate to soften, then stir together with a whisk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 8 hours.
To make the chocolate phyllo: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Stir the cocoa powder into the butter. Spread one sheet of phyllo out on the prepared pan; keep remaining layers covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Using a pastry brush, dip into the chocolate, sprinkle chocolate across the phyllo, then brush it smooth, covering to the edge. Use a light hand so that the phyllo does not become soggy. Sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with the other sheets of phyllo, stirring the chocolate before dipping each time as it tends to settle. Put a sheet of parchment over the top of the phyllo and put another large sheet pan on top to keep the phyllo flat. Bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes; although difficult to see because of the chocolate, the edges will begin to brown. Remove from the oven, take off the top pan, and peel back the top parchment. Loosen from the bottom parchment with a spatula. Break or cut into 12 triangles. Let cool.
To make the cranberry coulis: Put the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the berries pop open, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, then pour through a fine-meshed sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Put in a squeeze bottle.
To make the mango sauce: Puree the mango with the lime juice in a food processor or blender and strain through a fine-meshed sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Put in a squeeze bottle.
To make the ginger-orange cream: Place the cream and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until the cream forms soft peaks; or, beat to peaks by hand. Pour off half of the mixture and put in a squeeze bottle with a large opening. Add the ginger and zest to the remaining cream and beat until firm peaks form. Set aside; refrigerate if you need to hold it more than 15 minutes.
To prepare the pears: Slice the pears in quarters and core. Slice each piece into very narrow lengthwise slices. Sprinkle with sugar and caramelize with a small torch, or under a preheated broiler.
To serve: On four glass or other attractive dishes, draw zigzags with mango sauce. Cross these with plump zigzags of the plain cream. Draw zigzags with the cranberry coulis on top of the cream. Place a phyllo triangle on each plate. Put a layer of ganache on each triangle, then press one-eighth of the pear slices into each (using half of the total pear slices available.) Top with a little ginger cream. Put a second phyllo triangle on each, offsetting it 30 degrees from the first. Top with ganache and ginger cream. Add one final phyllo triangle to each dessert, offsetting it 30 degrees from the second. Fan one fourth of the remaining pear slices beside each dessert. Dust one end of each top triangle with confectioner’s sugar.