I am a serial waster. Or rather, I used to be, before I knew what to do with all those leftover ingredients in the fridge. Being a “just in case” person, I always buy more ingredients than I need and make way more than I need for one recipe. I attribute this slight OCD-ness to my irrational fear of screwing up and always thinking of the worst case scenario. You know that person who finds one tiny thing wrong with themselves and then thinks they could have cancer? Yep, that’s me. Sometimes this kind of thinking pays off, when things actually go wrong in the kitchen, and I thank my neurotic self, but most of the time, this means I end up with way too many things in the fridge to use up before they reach their inevitable expiration date.
But even if you’re not a just in case person like me, you probably have leftovers too from time to time, like cake scraps, half used carton of cream, or fruit that’s about to go off right? I want to show you how you can use those scraps and little leftover components that you’ve saved to make desserts that don’t look anything like leftovers.
Remember the recipe for those Dark Chocolate and Orange Petits Gateaux? Well, these black forest pyramids were made with the leftover chocolate sponge from that recipe, and the leftover chocolate mirror glaze that I saved as it dripped off the frozen gateaux. The remaining ingredients were from a black forest cake that I had made, and I thought it would be such a waste if I didn’t use up all that mascarpone cream and cherry compote.
Part of the appeal of making desserts out of leftovers is also the creative challenge associated with it. There are endless possibilities with what you could create, and it’s pretty rewarding to produce something that looks like you invested a long time making, but in reality was the quickest dessert you’ve made.
But I know that it can be hard to know where to start, so here’s the thought process I go through for creating desserts like this.
Firstly, think about what it is that you actually want to make – your dessert concept. Maybe it’s something chocolatey and decadent , maybe it’s something fruity and refreshing, maybe it’s both. Maybe you want something elegant and delicate looking or maybe you want something comforting and homey. For me, I was aiming for something like miniature black forest cakes that look dainty and decadent.
Once you have your concept, then think about the architecture of your dessert. Petits gateaux/entremets usually consist of a creamy texture (like mousse, bavarois, cremeux etc.), a cake and/or crunchy texture (e.g., sablé, brownie), I like to add another texture (e.g., real fruit chunks, gooey caramel, liquid centres etc.), and finally something to cover the gateaux with (e.g., cocoa spray or glaze). So think about what would work for each of these textures, how would they taste all together, what complements each other and what doesn’t, what would bring it all together, and what would surprise someone eating it (this is a bonus!).
The leftover components in these pyramids include:
- Mascarpone cream
- Cherry compote
- Chocolate sponge discs
- Chocolate mirror glaze
The only components in these pyramids that I actually made from scratch were the chocolate mousse and the cocoa spray.
So I hope that next time you have leftovers from a previous bake, that you take on the challenge, open your fridge and see what you can do with what you have.
But for those who do want the recipe for these pyramids, I’ve included the recipe below. Bear in mind some of the quantities for these recipes will be more than you need for 6 pyramids, as they are from previous desserts.
Makes 6 pyramids.
250g mascarpone cheese
50g thickened cream
Vanilla bean paste (optional)
300g frozen cherries, pitted
50g caster sugar
10ml lemon juice
100g fresh cherries, pitted, and cut into quarters
Chocolate Sponge Recipe from Patisserie by William and Suzue Curley
200g whole eggs (approx. 4 eggs)
50g egg yolks (approx. 3 yolks)
80g caster sugar
25g plain flour
25g corn flour
30g cocoa powder
100g unsalted butter
Mirror Glaze Recipe from Sweet Studio by Darren Purchese
180g caster sugar
60g cocoa powder
105g thickened cream
11g gold leaf gelatin sheets
Chocolate Mousse Recipe from Patisserie by William and Suzue Curley
275ml thickened cream
30g egg yolks (approx. 2 yolks)
15g caster sugar
160g dark chocolate (I used Callebaut Dark Chocolate with 54.5% cocoa solids)
Dark Chocolate Cocoa Spray
150g dark chocolate (I used Callebaut Dark Chocolate with 54.5% cocoa solids)
100g cocoa butter
Silikomart Petit Fours 40mm Mould (see notes below)
- Make the cherry compote. Put the frozen cherries, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiled, turn the heat down and simmer on low for approximately 10 minutes, until the cherries have broken down. Leave to cool. Blend using a stick blender or blender until smooth and strain into a clean container or bowl. Add the fresh cherries and stir through. Keep in the refrigerator until required.
- Make the mascarpone cream. Stir the mascarpone cheese in a bowl with a spatula until smooth and slightly softened. Pour in the thickened cream and whisk until smooth. Add vanilla bean paste if desired. Using the petit fours silicone moulds, pour the mascarpone cream into the moulds and fill 6 cavities, about 3/4 of the way. Add a teaspoon of the cherry compote on top of the mascarpone cream to fill up the remainder of the cavity. Using a toothpick, swirl the compote slightly with the cream. Level the cavities using a small spatula and cover with cling wrap. Freeze for 2-3 hours or overnight, until frozen.
- Make the chocolate sponge. Preheat oven to 170°C fan forced (or 190C conventional), line two 30x40cm baking trays with baking paper. Using a stand mixer, whisk the whole eggs and yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy, about 7-8 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside. Once the eggs are at ribbon stage, sift the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and fold in. Take about a cup of the egg and flour mixture and mix it into the melted butter. Pour the butter mixture back into main mixture and fold until just combined. Spread mixture on to prepared trays and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cut out 6x6cm squares of sponge. You only need 1 square sponge per pyramid, the rest can be frozen for later use.
- Make the mirror glaze. Soak the gelatine in a bowl of ice cold water for about 3 minutes until softened. Squeeze out excess water and keep in fridge until required. In a saucepan, mix the sugar and the sifted cocoa powder together. Make a well and add the water, stirring to make a paste. Be sure to stir around the edges of the saucepan to ensure all the cocoa powder is mixed in. Add the cream to the saucepan and bring the mixture to the boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches the boil, continue to cook the mixture for 3 minutes, stirring the entire time. Take the pan off the heat and add the softened gelatine. Strain the glaze into a clean plastic container and refrigerate until required.
- Make chocolate mousse. Once you have all the components ready to go, then make the mousse, as it needs to be used immediately or it will set. Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl, and sit a strainer on top. Put 75ml of the cream and the milk in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. At the same time the milk mixture is boiling, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together in a separate bowl until light in colour, about 2-3 minutes. Once the milk mixture has boiled, stream half of this into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg and sugar mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of spoon. Be careful not to scramble the eggs. If you start to see bits of egg cooking, take off the heat immediately and stir vigorously. Take the pan off the heat and pour into the strainer sitting over the chocolate. Stir until smooth and chocolate has melted completely. Leave the chocolate custard aside to cool slightly. Whip cream to soft peaks and fold into the slightly cooled chocolate custard.
- To assemble. Pour chocolate mousse into pyramid moulds, about half way. Using a small offset spatula, spread the mousse up the sides of the mould so the entire mould is covered in mousse. Push a frozen mascarpone cream disc out of its mould and press one slightly into the chocolate mousse. One frozen mascarpone cream disc per pyramid. Pile a teaspoon of cherry compote on top of the mascarpone cream disc. Spread a little more mousse around the mascarpone disc and compote to get it level. Then place a square chocolate sponge on top of the compote and press down slightly. Level the moulds with a small palette knife. Cover with cling wrap and freeze overnight.
- To make the cocoa spray. Melt the chocolate and cocoa butter over a pot of simmering water. Stir until smooth. It will be ready to use at 32-35°C. Push the frozen pyramids out of their moulds and sit on a cling wrap covered tray. Return this tray to the freezer until you're ready to spray. Once the cocoa spray mixture has reached the desired temperature, pour the mixture into the spray gun canister and prepare the spray gun. Take the tray out of the freezer and place on top on a cling wrap covered cake turntable. Point the gun at the pyramids and spray, moving the gun steadily from side to side, while turning the turntable around to ensure all areas of the pyramids are covered. (see notes below for additional guidance on cocoa spraying)
- Reheat the mirror glaze in the microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until it is of pourable consistency. Leave the glaze to cool at room temperature until it reaches about 28-30°C. Spoon a teaspoon over the top of the pyramid and let it drip down the sides naturally. As I only wanted it to drip on 2 out of 4 sides, I positioned the teaspoon of glaze towards the sides I wanted to drip down. You can use the tip of a teaspoon to help you guide where it drips. Work quickly on the remaining pyramids as the glaze can set too much before you get to spoon it on the pyramids. If the temperature of the glaze drops too much below the desired range, you'll end up with thick drips that looks like a glob. If this happens, simply reheat in the microwave for 5-10 seconds until you get the desired temperature again. Top the glazed pyramid with a fresh cherry before the glaze sets completely (so the cherry will stick).
For cocoa spraying, it's ideal to have a box set up so that you don't end up with chocolate spray all over the kitchen. I use a large 4 sided cardboard box, covered in plastic (the 4 sides are the base, the 2 sides, and the back. The top and front sides are left open).
Use a cake turn table on which to sit the trays on top. This makes it easy for you to turn the pyramids as you spray. Cover the turn table and trays with cling wrap so it's easier to clean later.
The spray gun I use is a brand new Wagner W140p airless spray gun that has been thoroughly sterilised. DO NOT use a spray gun that has been used for paint or other purposes and ensure it is completely clean before putting food products in.