Saturday, October 16, 2010
Chef's Feuille D'Automne
Created by French culinary legend Gaston Lenotre - the same pastry maestro who gave the world the Opera Gateau, Feuille D'Automne or "Leaves of Autumn" is a lighter-than-air tower of crisp almond meringue and fluffy chocolate mousse, skillfully wrapped with a blanket of chocolate, layer upon layer until they resemble a pile of fallen leaves on a fine autumn day.
Almond Meringue Disks Layered With Dark Chocolate Mousse
To make the Feuille D'Automne, meringue is first piped into discs and baked till just slightly golden. Each cake is built by layering 3 meringue discs with dark chocolate mousse in-between, then chilled to set while chocolate shavings are prepared for the "leaves".
Shaving Chocolate Fans & Cigars
The chocolate for this purpose doesn't need tampering (thank goodness), just melted over a bain marie and poured onto the back of a tray to cool until set but still malleable.
Unraveling Chocolate Cigar
This is the hard part. Sure I said malleable, but seriously, just how malleable can melted chocolate be? Turns out they can be pretty workable, so long as you shave the chocolate at the right temperature and consistency; too cold and it will be brittle and break, too warm and you'll just be dripping chocolate puddles all over the bench top.
Building The Layers
Mini Feuille D'Automne With A Sprinkling Of Snow
Chef Gurt did an amazing job, and to be honest, we all thought he made it look deceptively easier than it really is.
My Autumn Leaves
Well whaddaya know, pigs can fly! I got a little help from Chef Gurt, who showed me when the chocolate is ready for shaving and how to do it right. This was my second attempt, mind you. My first, alas, is as follows:
& Autumn Twigs
This I actually prefer; it's not as messy, with the choco sticks arranged around the cake, making it easier to slice up as well.
Gum Nut Babies
With more then enough meringue mix to spare, I piped a gazillion tiny discs, much like macaroons, and filled each one with mousse and capped it with another macaroon. The result is a delicate little parcel that melts in the mouth.
Simon reckons they look like the classic Aussie children's storybook characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and therefore christened them Gum Nut Babies. All the better to eat them with.