White Chocolate Ravioli
If you are facile with your pasta making, rolling out white chocolate to create this unusual trompe l’oeil dessert will be easy. The ravioli are like little individual candy bars, with the hazelnut sauce adding a perfect background flavor. While no one will deny that this dessert is a lot of work, none of it need be last minute. The filling and sauce can be made two days in advance, and the completed ravioli can be refrigerated for two days, tightly wrapped, before serving.
- Chocolate Mousse Filling
- Extra Bittersweet Chocolate - 8 ounces, chopped (or other high-quality dark chocolate)
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Eggs - 2, separated, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 3/4 cup, chilled
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Hazelnut Sauce
- Hazelnuts - 3/4 cup
- Half-and-half - 1-3/4 cups, scalded
- Egg Yolks - 5, at room temperature
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Vanilla Extract - 1/4 teaspoon
- Pinch of salt
- Frangelico - 2 tablespoons (alt. other hazelnut liqueur)
- White Chocolate - seven 3-ounce bars of imported white chocolate, preferably Tobler
- Hazelnuts - 1/2 cup, chopped, toasted
- Mint sprigs - 8
To make the mousse: Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir until smooth, then transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks quickly, one at a time. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar at medium speed until frothy. Raise the speed to high and gradually add two tablespoons of the sugar, beating until the whites are stiff but not dry. Beat the cream with the remaining sugar and the vanilla until lightly thickened. Fold the egg whites and then the whipped cream into the chocolate and chill, covered with plastic wrap, overnight.
To make the sauce: Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 350 F oven for 10 minutes, or until browned. Place the nuts in the center of a tea towel, cover them with the towel, and let them steam for two minutes. Rub them with the towels to remove the skins. Place the nuts and hot half-and-half in a blender or food processor and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Cool completely, or refrigerate overnight.
Combine the yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a heavy saucepan or in the top of a double boiler and whisk in the nut cream. Stir over low heat until the mixture heats and slightly thickens; foam will come to the top and it will barely coat the back of a spoon. Stir constantly while heating and do not allow it to come to a boil or the yolks will curdle. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl. Stir in the Frangelico and refrigerate until needed.
To make the ravioli: Chill a ravioli mold in the freezer. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting for 5 minutes and then turn it off. Break the chocolate bars in half lengthwise and place them on a baking sheet in the turned-off oven for about 5 minutes, or until the chocolate is soft enough to be pliable and give to the pressure of a finger.
Roll one piece of chocolate out on a sheet of parchment paper to flatten it enough to fit through a pasta machine set on the widest setting. Run the chocolate through the pasta machine rollers, decreasing the setting each time until the chocolate sheet is 1/16-inch thick.
Quickly press the chocolate into the chilled ravioli mold and fill each ravioli with 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of the mousse. Roll a second sheet of chocolate in the same manner and press it on top of the ravioli, sealing it with a rolling pin.
Invert the mold, pressing gently to release the ravioli, and cut them into separate pieces with a ravioli cutter or knife. Place on a chilled baking sheet in the refrigerator and repeat with more sheets of chocolate, softening them in a warm oven as necessary. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To serve: Let the ravioli stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce on each plate. Place four ravioli on top. Sprinkle with nuts and garnish with mint.