Big Choc Macaroon Reindeer’s
|Preparation time:||3 Hours + Freezing|
For the vanilla financier:
- Preheat the oven to 165C Fan. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift in the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed until evenly combined.
- Next, pour in the egg whites and mix on a low speed until the egg whites are completely homogenous with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl if needed.
- Finally, pour in the melted butter along with the lemon zest & vanilla, and beat on a medium low speed until combined. You may need to scrape the bowl to ensure the butter has mixed in evenly.
- Grease a baking tray (roughly 35x25cm) lightly with butter and place a sheet of parchment paper inside, ensuring all sides of the tray are completely covered. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and spread it out evenly.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25m until the financier is a light golden colour. Every oven is different so keep an eye on it! Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
For the hazelnut praline:
- Into a medium saucepan, add the sugar & water. Place it on a medium heat, and cook the mixture until it reaches 110C/230F on a digital thermometer.
- Once at 110C/230F, pour in the hazelnuts, salt and vanilla pod. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. The mixture will initially look quite crystalised but keep stirring for 5-6 minutes until the sugar has melted and you have a deep golden caramel surrounding the nuts. Immediately pour the mixture onto a silicon mat and allow it to cool completely for 30 minutes.
- After 30m, the praline should be completely cool and solid to the touch. Break it into pieces and add it into a high powered food processor. Blend for 4 minutes, scraping it down every so often, until you have a smooth, nutty paste. If the praline seems too stiff, simply drizzle in a small amount of nut oil to loosen the mixture. The recipe will make more paste than you need but you can store it in an airtight container to use another time.
For the chocolate mousse:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick.
- Meanwhile, take a medium saucepan and place the double cream (1) & whole milk on a medium low heat. Heat it until it is just steaming, but not boiling. While this is heating, place the chopped chocolate into a tall jug.
- Once hot, slowly pour it over the egg yolks and whisk constantly. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and whisk until it reaches 75C on a digital thermometer.
- Once at temperature. Pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate and blend together with a hand blender until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool for about 20m (at which point the temperature should be tepid), then pour in the cold double cream (2) and blend again until smooth.
Assembly Part 1
- Take the Mrs Crimbles Big Choc Macaroons and chop them up into smaller chunks.
- Using a piping bag, pipe the chocolate mousse into the base of each cube mold and then use a small spatula or spoon to spread the mousse up the edges on the mold.
- Sprinkle the Mrs Crimbles Big Choc Macaroons on top of the mousse then pipe a layer of hazelnut praline on top.
- Using a knife, cut small squares of financier just slightly smaller than the size of the cube mold. Press them into the mold.
- Finally, fill up the remainder of the mold with chocolate mousse and smooth the top with a palette knife. Freeze the cubes for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
Assembly Part 2
- Mix the ready-made royal icing powder with water until you get a consistency that holds a soft peak. Split the mixture into 4, and colour 3 of the bowls with black, red & brown.
- Place each colour of royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip nozzle (while you are not using the piping bags, keep the tips covered with a damp cloth to stop them drying out)
- Onto a tray lined with parchment paper, pipe the decorations for the reindeer:
- For the nose, pipe a small oval shape using the red.
- Use the brown to create the antlers – a good tip is to print off an outline of some antlers and place this underneath the parchment paper as a template.
- For the eyes, pipe a small circle of white royal icing, once it has set slightly, pipe a smaller dot of black royal icing in the centre.
Allow them to dry for 1 hour.
- To finish the cubes, place the cocoa butter and chocolate into a jug and microwave in 10s bursts until 90% of it is melted. Allow the mixture to cool to 45C before placing it into your spray gun (alternatively, you can buy ready-made velvet spray that comes in a can)
- Remove the cubes from the freezer and spray them with the chocolate cocoa butter, spinning them around to ensure they are evenly coated. Lift onto your serving plate.
- Allow the cube to sit at room temperature for 45m and then using some spare royal icing, gently glue the reindeer decorations to the cube and serve.