I was contemplating making the chocolate swirl croquembouche on the second last episode of Celebrity MasterChef, although that will have to wait until the Christmas holiday. I instead decided to make Eamon Sullivan’s Chocolate Delice, which scored the highest, 30/30 from the judges.
It sounded fantastic, like an upmarket Mars bar. Biscuit, crème brulee, chocolate cream, chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce – it does sound good, doesn’t it?
I also thought I could make it over two days and this would make it a lot easier. I decided to follow the recipe exactly (even though it doesn’t state the strength of the gelatine leaf – I’ve been wrong before just assuming Chef’s mean gold strength).
The biscuit came first and was a lovely consistency, it fell apart a little, but was lovely and silky. It was tasty once cooked too – like a cross between shortcrust pastry and shortbread.
I got to the end part of the crème brulee section and thought to myself that the recipe sounded very strange. The crème brulee mix wasn’t a thick custard which would set, it was a thin custard which I thought could either be made into an ice cream by freezing or a crème brulee by baking in a water bath – which is the way I usually see it made. This recipe didn’t state anything about baking the crème brulee. Just pour it on top of the biscuit and refrigerate to set. Now, I decided to only test a few and leave the remainder of the mix in a jug in the fridge to make into proper crème brulee if it didn’t set.
Surprise, surprise, it didn’t set. My two biscuits in the cookie cutters were not tight enough and almost all the crème brulee mix drained out of them. My made-up mould consisting of a cut up overhead projector sheet, held the mix in on top of the biscuit, but it was too runny and would have run everywhere if I had undone the plastic.
I decided to place all my remaining mix into 2 ramekins and placed the ramekins into a small lasagne dish with enough water in it to come half way up the ramekins and baked them for 20-30 minutes at around 150C. Once cooked (just set), I removed the ramekins from the oven and cooled them in the fridge for a few hours. Place one heaped teaspoon of caster sugar on top of each and place under a very hot grill until the sugar caramelises (or use a blowtorch if you have one). Serve immediately.
After cooking my crème brulee’s, I decided to watch the episode of MasterChef again (as I was a little distracted while watching it the first time). I watched carefully and saw Eamon placing what looked exactly like the crème brulee mix into a lined tray and into the oven. He even mentioned his biscuit was cooling and his crème brulee was in the oven – but no mention of this in the recipe 🙁
I thought about stopping here and not continuing. But how could I? I was still concerned about the gelatine leaf, but hopefully it would be alright…
Ok – so I made it again!!
This time things went ok. I still had a few problems, but the overall result was gorgeous. I was concerned it would be too rich, although the combination of all components worked wonderfully together.
I made the biscuit base and crème brulee the night before.
The biscuit base worked well (I rolled it out to fit a normal baking tray). It does crumble a bit while working with it. I cut 10cm diameter circles (6 in total) – although they could have easily been smaller, as the dessert was a little difficult for some to finish.
I cooked the crème brulee in a 23cm x 34 cm (2-3 cm high) baking paper lined tray for 25-30 minutes at 150C. This was then cooled overnight.
I made the chocolate cream (although didn’t use it all) using 2.5 titanium strength gelatine leaves (total 10g) (one titanium leaf is supposed to set 250ml liquid).
This was then cooled for 30minutes or more while I placed the crème brulee on the biscuit base. Firstly I scraped off the top layer of crème brulee, then cut it using a cookie cutter and carefully placed it on the biscuit base (most fell apart and I tried to spread it around evenly).
I used cookie cutters and plastic overhead projector films/sheets to hold in the crème brulee and cream, the cookie cutters worked better, although the films worked well enough.
The cream was poured over the crème brulee and left to set in the fridge (for an hour or so).
Prepare the glaze (I used half the quantity, which was just enough to cover all 6 delices). Let it cool and once the cream is set, remove cookie cutter (Eamon used a blow torch, although I don’t have one yet, so I carefully pushed the cookie base up). Pour the glaze on top and cool in the fridge.
Roast the almonds (I forgot to do this), then place them around the set delice.
Melt the white chocolate (I used 100g, but you could use less). Drizzle over the top and cool.
I had a little bit of a problem with the sugar in the caramel. I tried to melt it over low or medium heat, but it didn’t dissolve. I continued to cook it and the water evaporated and the sugar became quite dry. Although after continuing to cook it on medium/high heat, eventually it started to caramelise (without dissolving first). Take it off the heat and stir in the cream, a bit at a time if need be (be careful as this bubbles up a lot), then whisk in the remaining cream and butter. Cool a bit before serving.
Recipe from Eamon Sullivan on Celebrity MasterChef 2009
For my tips see above and some are also in the recipe below in italics
250g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
375g thickened cream
2 vanilla beans, scraped
7 egg yolks
1 whole egg
60g caster sugar
190g thickened cream
190g boiling water
60g cocoa powder
150g white chocolate
125g dark chocolate
15g gelatine leaf (I used 2.5 titanium strength gelatine leaves ~10g total)
Chocolate glaze (I made half this quantity)
340g dark chocolate
230mls thickened cream
165g glucose syrup
¼ cup flaked almonds
200g white chocolate
250g caster sugar
150mls thickened cream
150g unsalted butter
Sea salt flakes
Preheat the oven to180C.
For the biscuit base, place the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and process to a breadcrumb consistency. Add the egg and process again to combine. Tip out onto a clean flat surface and roll into a smooth dough, wrap in cling film and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Once rested use a rolling pin to roll into a 1cm thick rectangle shape; place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool then using a circular cutter cut out biscuit bases, set aside.
For the crème brulee, combine the cream, milk and vanilla beans in a saucepan and place over a medium heat, bring to the boil then remove from heat. Strain into a clean saucepan. Place the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar into a bowl and using an electric hand beater whisk until thick and pale, pour half the heated milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk continuously. Pour the mixture into the saucepan of remaining milk and place over a low heat, cook for 3-5 minutes stirring continuously. Pour into a jug and cool slightly. Place the biscuit bases on a baking tray lined with baking paper, place a ring mould onto the bases and
pour the crème brulee into the moulds(I cooked mine for 25-30 minutes at 150C – see tips above), place in the refrigerator until set.
For the chocolate cream, pour the cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat, bring to the boil, whisk the cocoa in the boiling water and add to the cream, continue to whisk, add the white chocolate and stir until melted, add the dark chocolate and continue to stir until chocolate has melted, bring the mixture to the boil then remove from heat. Place the gelatine sheet in a small bowl of cold water to soak for a few minutes, using hands squeeze out all moisture, add to the warm chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
For the chocolate glaze, pour the cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat, bring to the boil, reduce heat and add the chocolate, glucose syrup and water, whisk continuously until chocolate has melted and a smooth sauce is created.
Place the almonds on a baking tray and place in the oven until lightly golden.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place the white chocolate in a bowl, place the bowl over the water and melt the chocolate, spoon the melted chocolate into a piping bag.
For the salted caramel, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over a medium heat, stir until the sugar has melted then allow to simmer until caramel has formed. Whisk in the cream then continue to whisk in the butter, whisk to a thick glossy sauce.
To prepare the delice, pour the chocolate cream over the set brulee and allow to set. Remove the moulds and pour over the chocolate glaze. Allow glaze to set. Place toasted almonds around the edges of each delice. Drizzle the white chocolate in stripes over the delice.
To serve, spoon caramel sauce onto a serving plate and sprinkle with a small pinch of sea salt, top with the delice to serve.