Cut into these beautiful meringues and a river of liquid chocolate pours out. Layered with chocolate ganache, the meringues each have a heart of frozen chocolate inserted before they are molded and refrigerated. The final touch before service is a blast from a kitchen torch that caramelizes the tops.
- Chocolate Genoise
- Flour - 16 oz
- Cocoa - 3.5 oz
- Eggs - 16
- Sugar - 17.5 oz
- Unsalted Butter - 2.75 oz, melted and cooled
- Liquid Centers
- Carbonated Soda Water - 2 cups
- Powdered Milk - 3/4 cup
- Cocoa Powder - 3/4 cup
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Milk - 2 cups
- Vanilla Bean - 1
- Egg Yolks - 8
- Sugar - 1/2 cup, scant
- Flour - 1/2 cup
- Gelatin Powder - 3 ounces, unflavored
- Frangelico - 2 tablespoons
- Italian Meringue
- Egg Whites - 8
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Water - 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Chocolate Sauce (recipe below)
- Sugar - for sprinkling
- Raspberries - 2 pints
To make the genoise: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a large sided sheet pan and line the pan with parchment paper. Sift the cocoa and flour together in a bowl. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a metal bowl, then place over simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture reaches 100 F. Place in the bowl of a mixer and beat at full volume until the mixture is pale yellow. Whip in the butter. Stop the mixer and fold in the cocoa-flour mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the center springs back when lightly touched, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool.
To prepare the centers: Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Off the heat, whisk in the powdered milk, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the cocoa. Return to the heat and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining cocoa and continue to whisk as the mixture returns to a boil. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any lumps, then pour into ice cube trays, filling the cubes 1/2 full. Freeze overnight.
To prepare the croustillants: Put the milk in a heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk, then drop in the pods. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat. Put the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, until dissolved. Whisk in the gelatin powder, then the flour. Whisk until smooth, thick, and light yellow. Whisk in a large spoonful of the hot milk to temper the eggs, then whisk the egg mixture into the milk. Return to medium heat and whisk until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Pick out the vanilla bean pods. Immediately pour into a large bowl and set aside. When the cream has cooled slightly, stir in the Frangelico. Press plastic wrap on the surface and let cool to room temperature.
To make the Italian meringue: Beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Put the sugar and water over medium-high heat, swirling to dissolve. Heat to 238 F (soft-ball stage). Beat the egg whites on high speed, slowly pouring the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Beat until the meringue is thick and shiny, about 5 minutes.
To assemble: Lightly butter eighteen 2-1/2-inch or 3-inch ring molds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut 18 circles of genoise to fit and press them into the bottoms of the molds. Take the plastic off the Frangelico cream and fold one-fourth of the meringue into the cream. When blended, fold in half of the remaining meringue, then fold in the final addition. Put the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large fluted tip. Fill the ring molds to within 1/4 inch of the tops with the meringue mixture. Unmold the frozen centers and press one into the center of each ring mold. Pipe a swirl of meringue mixture over the top of each mold, overfilling slightly as they will lose some volume. Refrigerate at least 2 hours; the molds may be filled, loosely covered, and kept for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
To serve: Put the chocolate sauce in a squeeze bottle. Unmold a dessert in the center of each serving plate. Sprinkle each lightly with sugar and caramelize with a kitchen torch. Stud the plates with raspberries and drizzle chocolate sauce over and around the berries.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the sugar and half-and-half over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Serve warm, or pour into a jar, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.