Progrès with Grand Marnier
A progrès is a cake made with crunchy hazelnut (or almond) meringue layers filled with mousse and buttercream. This one is scented with Grand Marnier syrup and the top is iced with chocolate buttercream. For an authentic touch, write the word “Progrès” with chocolate buttercream on the top.
- Biscuit Noisette
- Egg Whites - 6
- Small pinch of salt
- Lemon Juice - 1 ounce
- Sugar - 1 ounce
- Flour - 1/2 to 1 ounce
- Sugar - 5 ounces
- Hazelnuts - 5 ounces, toasted and finely ground
- Grand Marnier Syrup
- Water - 4 ounces
- Sugar - 4 ounces
- Grand Marnier - 1 ounce
- Milk - 1 pint
- Egg Yolks - 10
- Sugar - 10 ounces
- Butter - 26 ounces, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, slightly softened
- Crème Noisette
- Hazelnut paste or almond paste - 1 ounce
- Kirsch - 1 teaspoon
- Buttercream (above) - 1/4
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 pint
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Grand Marnier syrup (above) - 1/2 to 3/4 cup
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 4 ounces, melted
- Chocolate Buttercream
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 12 ounces, melted
- Remaining buttercream (above)
To make the biscuit noisette: Preheat the oven to 500 F. Butter the bottom of a large sided baking sheet and cover with buttered parchment paper. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer with the salt and lemon juice. Beat until foamy. Continue to beat, adding 1 ounce of the sugar to the egg whites while beating. Beat to firm peaks. In a separate bowl, blend the flour, hazelnuts, and 5 ounces of sugar. Add the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the flour-hazelnut mixture and fold together with a spatula. Put the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe onto the prepared baking sheet in two tight 9-inch spirals. Bake 5 minutes. Remove and let cool, then wrap loosely and refrigerate.
To make the syrup: In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and cool in the refrigerator. Stir the Grand Marnier into the cooled syrup and set aside.
To prepare the buttercream: Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Add a large spoonful of the heated milk to the egg-sugar mixture to temper, then whisk the egg-sugar mixture into the milk off the heat. Put the mixture over the heat and whisk until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator. When chilled, place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on slow speed and add the butter a little at a time. Beat smooth, then cover and refrigerate.
To make the crème noisette: Put the hazelnut paste and Kirsch into a bowl and mix with a spatula. Add 4 ounces of buttercream and blend well. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
To make the mousse: Whip the cream to soft peaks with a whisk. Put the egg yolks and syrup in a non-aluminum metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Beat together until smooth. Fold the melted chocolate into the whipped cream and whisk until smooth. Fold the egg-syrup mixture into the chocolate mixture and blend with a spatula. Set aside.
To make the chocolate buttercream: Let the chocolate cool slightly. Add half of the chocolate to the buttercream. Mix well, then add the remaining chocolate. Cover and refrigerate.
To assemble: Put a 9-inch pastry ring mold on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Remove the biscuit noisette from the refrigerator and trim each to fit the mold. Press one into the bottom of the mold. Brush with Grand Marnier syrup. Spread the crème noisette over the biscuit. Refrigerate for 2 minutes. Add the mousse, then place the top biscuit on the mousse. Press down slightly. Brush with syrup again. Coat with chocolate cream, reserving half of the chocolate cream. Freeze for 5 to 30 minutes to set. Put the reserved chocolate buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip and pipe decoratively on the top. Store, loosely covered, in the refrigerator.
To serve: Unmold and serve on a decorated plate garnished with sugar or real flowers. Cut with a serrated knife dipped in hot water and wiped between each slice.