Chinese New Year (or what others would generalize this holiday, Lunar New Year) is coming up this Thursday and if you really want to make a dessert to impress your family and friends, this pistachio, yuzu, chocolate feuilletine cake, would be it.
I chose these flavors centered on the pistachio. Even though pistachio is my favorite nut and flavor, in Chinese New Year traditions, this nut means happy nut and symbolizes happiness. Thankfully, my family isn’t staunchly stuck on tradition; I’ve incorporated a mix of Chinese tradition with French pastry technique for this dessert.
This gorgeous cake is formed with a bûche de Noël mold (it looks like a pipe that’s cut in half but can stand cut side up) and there’s five elements to make this cake. It is not an easy cake to make and I would suggest about two days to make it but it’s worth the time and effort to make it. You can make this cake without the mold but the ratios would be different since you would be layering the cake.
Here’s the recipe:
Pistachio, Yuzu, Chocolate Feuilletine Cake
Elements of the cake:
Pistachio Cake (1/2 recipe of Momofuku Milk Bar’s pistacho cake; follow the cake recipe portion and have about 5 tablespoons of pistachio oil (I used La Tourangelle) reserved on the side)
Chocolate Mirror Glaze
75 grams Yuzu purée (I used Yakami Orchards)
125 grams Eggs
90 grams Granulated sugar
145 grams Unsalted butter
2 grams Gelatin sheet (gold strength)
Soak the gelatin sheet in cold water. Beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow in color. Bring the yuzu purée to the boil. Pour half over the egg and sugar mixture to temper the egg mixture. Pour the entire mixture into the saucepot and cook the mixture at 185°F, gently but continuously stirring. Strain and add the gelatin. Cool to 104°F. Add the butter. Smooth the cream in the mixer. Pour out the insert. Freeze.
55 grams pâte a bombe (recipe below this mousse recipe)
3 grams gelatin leaves
85 grams pistachio paste (weigh shelled pistachios, roast and grind into a paste)
225 ml heavy cream (scant 1 cup), whipped to soft peaks
Mix pâte a bombe and pistachio paste together. Soften the gelatin in ice water. Melt the soften gelatin with a bit of whipped cream in the microwave for about 7 seconds. Whisk it and quickly whisk into the rest of the whipped cream. Fold the whipped cream and pâte a bombe base together.
Pâte a Bombe
4 ounce sugar
1 ounce glucose or light corn syrup
2 ounces water
3 egg yolks
Cook the sugar, corn syrup and water to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. In the meantime, whip the yolks until they turn fluffy and pale. Add the cooked sugar to the yolks while the mixer is on low speed. Pour the sugar on the side of the bowl so you don’t create spun sugar while doing this. Turn the mixer back to high and continue beating until light, thick and the bowl has cooled.
*This is yuzu pâte de fruit but without the sugar coating. You may have your excess jelly and coat it in sugar and give it as gifts or an after dinner treat.
1 1/3 cups thawed yuzu purée
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 pouches liquid pectin
Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Boil the yuzu purée and sugar together in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan (I used a 3 quart pan) over high heat. Slap a candy thermometer on the side of the pan to monitor the temperature of the candy. Bring the liquid to a boil and let it boil for about 2 1/2 minutes. Stir in the pat of butter and keep stirring to prevent the yuzu candy from boiling over (it will boil pretty enthusiastically, so don’t walk away). If it looks like the candy will boil over, reduce the heat as needed. Your target temperature should be between 220°F and 235°F. I let mine cook to 230°F. Stir in the pectin and let the candy boil vigorously for one minute. Remove from heat.
Pour the hot candy into the prepared baking dish and smooth it over while hot. Let the candy cool at room temperature until completely set (about 2 hours). Poke a corner with your finger or a spoon handle to test if the candy is ready. Carefully lift the candy out of the baking dish with the parchment paper and set it on a cutting surface. Slice into a 2-inch strip for the cake. The remainder can be sliced into cubes or decorative shapes. Store refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Dark Chocolate Feuillete
3.5 ounces (100 grams) bittersweet chocolate (I used 72%)
1 2/3 tablespoons (25 grams) butter
2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 grams) praline
2.1 ounce (60 grams) feuilletine or rice krispies or corn flakes
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
Add the praline and the coarsely crushed feuilletine. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape (this will be your cake’s base). Refrigerate until hard.
Chocolate Mirror Glaze
4 grams or 2 sheets gelatin
1/4 cup (60 grams) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 ounce (5 tablespoons / 60 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
Soften the gelatin in cold water for about 15 minutes.
Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling. Add gelatin to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gel), use immediately.
Line your mold with acetate with an extra inch extending on each side for ease of removal. Slice large pieces of the pistachio cake and press into the mold to form about 1/8-inch thick along the walls of the mold. Soak the cake in the reserved pistachio oil. Line the cake with pistachio mousse. Freeze for 1 – 2 hours. Add the yuzu cream, strip of yuzu jelly and top with the dark chocolate feuilletine. Freeze until hard about 3 – 5 hours. Use the remaining pistachio cake and press firmly on the frozen cake to form a thin layer on the bottom and add pistachio oil. Freeze for 1 hour. Unmold the cake. Make the chocolate mirror glaze, add the pistachio kernels and serve immediately.