'Substance' – vanilla mousse, toffee jelly, cocoa sponge crunchy, Gran Cru chocolate cream

08 December 2009
'Substance' – vanilla mousse, toffee jelly, cocoa sponge crunchy, Gran Cru chocolate cream

Oriol Balaguer reproduced this dish for a gala dinner of 200 guests at Gourmet Abu Dhabi 2009. He often varies its garnishes and ingredients - adding a scoop of lemon sorbet or cube of lime jelly on the plate, frequently giving the sponge a sprinkling of mouth-popping space dust, regularly finishing with a chocolate sugar tuile and a single raspberry and/or strawberry.


For the vanilla mousse (The quantity given here is for a large batch size sufficient for about 200 servings. For a single cake, you will need about a tenth of the recipe)

  • 1600ml double cream
  • 800g caster sugar
  • 100g vanilla pods
  • 64g gelatine (soaked in cold water)
  • 6 litres whipping cream

For the feuilletine (For one cake you'll need 375g of the batch below)

  • 150g hazelnut praline
  • 300g milk chocolate "feuilletine" ["crunch"]

For the chocolate sponge (Allow 300g per sheet of sponge mixture)

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • 500g Grand Cru chocolate (64% cocoa solids), melted
  • 200g egg yolks
  • 150g flour (Type 55)
  • 8g ground almonds
  • 1tsp baking powder, heaped
  • 350g egg whites
  • 2tbs caster sugar
  • Thin sheet of tempered chocolate couverture, for garnish

For the toffee "jelly" (For one cake you'll need 500g of the batch below)

  • 700g granulated sugar
  • 200ml double cream
  • 10g cocoa paste
  • 3-4 leaves gelatine (soaked in cold water)

For the chocolate cream (You'll need 500g of the custard per batch)

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 500g egg yolks
  • 100ml unskimmed milk
  • 400g Grand Cru chocolate, 64% cocoa solids (eg, Valrhona Manjari), melted
  • 500ml whipping cream


For the vanilla mousse: Heat the double cream to simmering point. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add vanilla, remove from the heat, cool and infuse 24 hours. Remove vanilla pods. Reheat the cream and add gelatine, stirring to dissolve. Whisk the whipping cream until firm and fold it into the vanilla cream at 28°C. Reserve.

For the feuilletine: Combine the praline and milk chocolate feuilletine and roughly crush to obtain a crisp crumble.

For the chocolate sponge: Cream the butter and icing sugar. Beat in the melted chocolate and egg yolks. Add in and combine the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar until peaked and firm. Combine with the chocolate base. Spread a thin layer (about 300g) on a prepared baking sheet and bake for eight minutes at 180°C.

For the toffee "jelly": Put the sugar in a pan and moisten with very little water. Boil to a mid-amber caramel. Off the heat, whisk in the double cream and cocoa paste until smooth. Dissolve the gelatine in the hot mixture, allow to cool until you get a loose jelly-like texture, then roughly break this up before plating.

For the chocolate cream: Whisk the sugar yolks and milk over a bain-marie to form a sabayon. Add the melted chocolate, then the whipped cream. Put into a Pacojet and process.

For serving: Coat the sponge with a layer of mousse and leave to set. Spread a thin layer of feuilletine mixture on top. Cover with another layer of mousse, then spread a fine layer of tempered couverture on top of the mousse and leave to set. Plate and garnish as per picture - with a scoop of Gran Cru cream, chocolate sugar tuile and toffee jelly - and serve.

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