Credit: Mathilde de l'Ecotais

In crispy layers, salted and candied pine nuts, caramel icing

Ingredients (10 people)

Making the feuilletine praline

Making the nougatine

Making the chocolate lace

Finish and presentation


Step 1: Making the feuilletine praline

Melt the milk couverture chocolate. Combine praline and feuilletine, then fold in the melted milk couverture. Roll out to a 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick layer between two sheets of parchment paper. Refrigerate to set, then cut out a 14 1/2 inch (37 cm) square and place it on the bottom of the baking frame.

Step 2: Making the milk chocolate mousse

Whip the heavy cream. Melt the milk couverture chocolate, let cool to room temperature, and add the whipped cream. Pour into the baking frame. Smooth out the top, and refrigerate until needed.

Step 3: Making the caramel icing

Chop the milk couverture chocolate into pieces. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water. Bring heavy cream, butter, and glucose to a boil. Make caramel by cooking the sugar in a dry pan. Add the preceding mixture to the caramel. Continue cooking at 217°F (102°C), then remove from heat. Add the chopped milk couverture and drained gelatin sheets. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Step 4: Making the nougatine

Melt sugar and glucose together in a dry pan until dark caramel forms (310°F/155°C). Add almonds. Spread onto a Silpat mat, smooth out and let cool.

Step 5: Making the nougatine ice cream

Combine milk, cream, powdered milk, glucose, granulated sugar, eggs, and butter. Cook in a double boiler at 183°F (84°C), then cool to 39°F (4°C). Let sit for 24 hours, then process in the ice cream maker. Add crushed nougatine pieces, and set aside.

Step 6: Preparing the candied pine nuts

Roast the pine nuts in the oven at 320°F (160°C) until golden. Dilute sugar in a little water and bring to a boil. Add the roasted pine nuts. Once the mixture comes together, continue cooking until the sugar is caramelized and completely coats the pine nuts. Add salt and butter just before the nuts are done cooking. Transfer to a baking sheet and set aside. Try to keep the individual pine nuts separated from one another.

Step 7: Preparing the pastry cream decorations

Stir the coffee-flavored pastry cream until smooth and spread in a thin layer on a Silpat mat. Allow to dry for 1 hour at room temperature. Bake in a 340°F (170°C) convection oven until lightly browned. The baking process should take place just before the dessert is ready to assemble and serve.

Step 8: Making the chocolate lace

Melt the butter. Combine sugar, pectin, and cocoa. Add the melted butter, glucose, and cocoa paste. Dilute the mixture with a little water and stir over low heat. Continue cooking on low until the mixture comes to a boil. Refrigerate until needed. Spread the mixture thinly on a Silpat mat and bake in a 340°F (170°C) convection oven, until lightly browned. Set aside in a dry place.

Step 9: Finish and presentation

Cut the contents of the baking frame into rectangles and sprinkle with candied pine nuts. Temper the caramel icing and glaze the rectangles. Place one rectangle on a large serving plate and top with a quenelle of nougatine ice cream. Decorate with dried pieces of coffee-flavored pastry cream and chocolate lace.

This recipe was originally published in "Alain Ducasse’s Desserts and Pastries" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits