The infrequency of my posts annoy me. When I started this blog I had envisioned a post almost fortnightly, but like other well intentioned goals, this didn’t happen. I’m almost two months in to my new job and I’ve come to a realisation that my time management skills are not as impressive as I once thought. I keep telling myself that I’ll post this weekend, but instead of writing a post I end up scrambling to finish work I should have completed throughout the week. I even used commitment bias on myself – by telling you all on Instagram that a recipe was coming soon. Three weeks later, here it is!
Now, believe me when I tell you that this recipe is easy. The only challenging techniques are in the decorating and assembly. Each of the components that makes up the inside of this petit gateau can be done in as quickly as an hour (minus cooling time).
The first time I made this, I used a white chocolate mirror glaze. But I wasn’t quite happy with it – it was a bit too thick for my liking. The second time I made this, I had planned on experimenting with the glaze and getting it right but then decided that a cocoa spray with drops of what looks like water would look more unique and delicate.
The inspiration for these petits gateaux came from the Momofuku Milkbar Apple Pie Cake. I first made this cake for Peter’s birthday last year and it’s seriously so delicious. But sometimes, cake takes too much effort so I wanted to re-create it in miniature form.
Inside this apple pie petit gateau is a light cheesecake mousse, with a centre of salted caramel, and caramelised apples. All sitting on a digestive biscuit base. The first time I made it I had pie crumbs in the middle as well for texture, but it actually didn’t add anything to the dessert, as the texture from the digestive biscuit base was sufficient. So I replaced the pie crumbs with more apple filling the second time which was even better.
I used Silkomart stone silicone moulds, but feel free to use any moulds you like. If you are using these stone moulds, it’s really important to make sure you freeze the gateaux overnight so it is completely set in the mould or you might have trouble pushing it out of the mould in one piece.
I’ll be sure to post the recipe for a better white chocolate glaze next time.
Makes approximately 6 petits gateaux.
225g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
150ml thickened cream, gently heated so it is warm
2 teaspoons sea salt
Cheesecake Mousse (adapted from Momofuku Milkbar)
250g cream cheese, softened
6g corn flour, sifted
100g thickened cream
Apple pie filling (adapted from Momofuku Milkbar)
200g Granny Smith apples (about 2 small apples)
10g unsalted butter
65g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Digestive Biscuit Base
90g digestive biscuits (approx. 6 biscuits)
45g unsalted butter, melted
4g gold leaf gelatin
drop of vanilla bean paste
White Chocolate Velvet Spray
75g cocoa butter
75g white chocolate
green oil based powdered colouring (I used Roberts Confectionery green powder dye)
Silicone moulds, I used Silikomart Stone silicone mould 30mm x 65mm
- Make the salted caramel. In a heavy based saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat. Swirl the sugar around the pan occasionally to get the sugar melting evenly. As the sugar starts to brown on the edges of the pan, use a spoon or spatula to gently stir the sugar around so the edges don't get burnt. If you get any small hard lumps of sugar, you can turn down the heat slightly, keep stirring and just let it melt. When the caramel reaches a dark amber colour, add the butter, and whisk until incorporated. Pour in the cream, and whisk until smooth. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the salt. Pour into a heatproof bowl or container and leave to cool.
- Make the liquid cheesecake for the cheesecake mousse. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Beat the cream cheese and sugar for 3-4 minutes until smooth. Meanwhile, mix the corn flour with the salt in a small bowl, and slowly stream in the milk, whisking to incorporate. Whisk in the egg. On low speed, slowly stream the egg mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 4 minutes until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat for another minute if the mixture is not completely smooth. Pour mixture into prepared tray and bake for 15 minutes. Cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes until no longer hot. Spoon cheesecake into a bowl and loosen the mixture with a spatula. Refrigerate for an hour until cool.
- Make the apple pie filling. Peel apples, cut each apple into quarters, removing the core. Cut each quarter into thirds, then each third into quarters. You should end up with 12 small apple pieces per apple half. Combine butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt with the apples in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until mixture boils. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until the apples are caramelised and slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the apples or it will become mush. Leave aside to cool.
- Make the cheesecake mousse. Once the liquid cheesecake has cooled, beat the cream until soft peaks. Fold the cream into the liquid cheesecake until smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to assemble.
- To assemble. Spoon the cheesecake mousse into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Fill half of each mould with mousse. Using a small offset spatula, spread the mousse up the sides of the moulds so the entire mould is covered in mousse. Spoon a teaspoon of the cold salted caramel into the cavity of each mould. Fill the centre of the mould with one heaped tablespoon of caramelised apples. Fill the remainder of the mould with the cheesecake mousse and flatten the top with an offset spatula. Cover moulds with cling film and freeze overnight.
- Make the digestive biscuit base. Crush the digestive biscuits using mortar and pestle (or food processor) until crumbly. Stir in melted butter. Using six 7cm rings, divide mixture among rings, and using the back of a spoon (or the bottom of a tall glass), press the mixture firmly on to the bottom, ensuring an even layer. Bake in preheated 170°C oven for 8 minutes. Take out of oven and leave to cool at room temperature. Refrigerate until cold and firm.
- Make the clear glaze. Heat 50g water and the sugar in a small saucepan with vanilla over medium heat until mixture boils. Meanwhile, soften gelatine sheets in ice water for about 3 minutes. Pour 10g water in to sugar water mixture to dilute slightly. Add gelatine and stir until dissolved. Strain into clean bowl or container and leave in fridge until required.
- To make the cocoa spray. Once the gateaux are frozen and you are ready to decorate, make the spray mixture. Melt the chocolate and cocoa butter over a pot of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Add a tiny dash of green powdered colouring and use a hand blender to emulsify. It will be ready to use at 32-35°C. Once the cocoa spray mixture has reached the desired temperature, pour the mixture into the spray gun canister and prepare the spray gun.
- To decorate. Remove the frozen gateaux out of the moulds and place on a cling wrap covered flat plate or a baking tray flipped upside down. Spray with cocoa spray. Using a small offset spatula, carefully slide one petit gateau on to a digestive biscuit base, using another knife to help slide the gateau off the spatula.
- Take the clear glaze out of the fridge and heat in the microwave on high for 20 seconds, until mixture comes back to liquid consistency. Give it a heat, and if it's not yet liquid, put it back in the microwave for another 10 seconds. Leave to cool until it has thickened slightly. Meanwhile, make a paper cornet with baking paper, leaving only a very small hole at the bottom of the cornet. Fill the cornet with the glaze and test the consistency by squeezing a drop out. If the drop holds its shape then it's ready to use. If the glaze runs out of the cornet without you squeezing it then it's still too runny and needs to set a bit more. You can put it back in the fridge to speed up cooling for a couple of minutes but don't leave it in there for too long that it starts to set. Pipe drops of glaze randomly on to the tops of sprayed gateaux.
- For the apple slices shaped into a fan, using a small toothpick, cut off the tips of both ends of the toothpick, The length of the tips should just be long enough to pierce through 3 thin apple slices. Cut very thin Granny Smith apple slices, arrange three slices into a fan, and using one toothpick tip, pierce through the bottom tip of the fan to hold in place. Place apple fan on to the top of each petit gateau, using the glaze drops to hold it in place. Push the apple fan very slightly into the mousse so it holds its place.
You could add some rum to the apple pie filling to take it up a notch. Add the rum after the apples have been cooked.
For more detailed instructions on cocoa spraying, see the Black Forest Pyramids recipe.