A plate with a chocolate dessert
Photography, Clinton Hussey

Dark Chocolate Fondant With Burnt Orange Compote

This elaborate dessert has been a hit since its 2011 debut on the opening menu at Vancouver's Hawsworth restuarant.

We had this dessert on the opening menu at Hawksworth and it was super-popular – so we kept it on for quite some time. People still ask for it now. The flavours are clean, the base is nice and crunchy, and there’s that rich layer of fondant. Dark chocolate, orange and hazelnut is such a classic combination.

A plate with a chocolate dessert

Dark Chocolate Fondant With Burnt Orange Compote

David Hawksworth's elaborate dark chocolate fondant dessert served with burned orange compote and hazelnut.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian, French

Equipment

  • stainless-steel quarter-sheet tray
  • quarter-sheet silicone mat
  • dehydrator

Ingredients
  

Mandarin Sorbet

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup glucose powder
  • 1⅛ tsp sorbet stabilizer powder
  • cups water
  • 2 tbsp invert sugar
  • 2 cups + 3 tbsp mandarin juice

Burnt Orange Compote

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • cups orange juice
  • 1 orange zest
  • ¼ cinnamon stick crushed
  • ¼ vanilla bean split and scraped
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp Ultra-Sperse 3

Orange Puff

  • ½ cup mandarin juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp Methocel F50
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ mandarin orange zest

Fondant Base

  • ½ cup Valrhona Jivara 40% milk chocolate pieces
  • ½ cup Valrhona Opalys 33% white chocolate pieces
  • 1 cup 50% hazelnut paste
  • 2 cups feuilletine

Chocolate Fondant

  • 7 tbsp pasteurized egg yolks
  • ¾ cup icing sugar sifted
  • 2 cups Valrhona Guanaja 70% dark chocolate pieces
  • ½ cup cream
  • tbsp butter softened
  • 7 tbsp water at 176ºF (80ºC)

Soft Praline

  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 cup 50% hazelnut paste

Simple Syrup

  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar

Orange Fluid Gel

  • tsp agar powder
  • tsp locust bean gum powder
  • cups +1 tbsp orange juice
  • ½ orange zest

Garnish & Serve

  • 2 cups natural whole hazelnuts
  • lemon balm

Instructions
 

Mandarin Sorbet

  • Whisk together the sugar, glucose powder and stabilizer.
  • Heat the water and invert sugar in a pot over medium heat until it reaches 105ºF (40ºC). Take the pan off the heat, and using an immersion blender, slowly mix in the sugar and stabilizer mixture. Return to the heat and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and strain. Refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, add the juice. Then freeze and churn the sorbet base in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until ready to use.

Burnt Orange Compote

  • Place a thick-bottomed pot with tall sides over medium heat. Add the sugar in 3 additions, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, allowing it to melt between additions. Cook until dark amber in colour, then add the orange juice. The mixture will bubble violently. Add the orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla and bring to a simmer. Allow to cool, then chill overnight.
  • Slice the top and bottom off the oranges, and cut away the peel and pith. Remove the segments of citrus flesh; you need 18 orange segments.
  • Strain the chilled liquid using a fine-mesh sieve and place in a tall narrow container. Add the Ultra-Sperse 3 and blend to combine using an immersion blender. Toss the segments with the liquid until they are coated.

Orange Puffs

  • Combine the juice and water in a blender. With the machine running, adjust the speed to form a vortex and slowly add the Methocel F50. Blend to combine, then transfer to a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Transfer to a storage container, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  • Line a dehydrator tray with a plastic sheet. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the chilled liquid with the sugar and whip until it holds stiff peaks. Fold in the zest. Spread the mixture in an even layer over the plastic sheet. Dry overnight at 125ºF (52ºC).

Fondant Base

  • Place the chocolate pieces in a stainless-steel bowl and set the bowl over a pot with a few inches of water in it. Heat over low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnut paste then the feuilletine. Spread evenly over a baking tray lined with a silicone mat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the chocolate fondant is ready.

Chocolate Fondant

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks and icing sugar and whip on high speed until doubled in volume.
  • Place the chocolate pieces in a stainless-steel bowl and set the bowl over a pot with a few inches of water in it. Heat over low heat until the chocolate is melted.
  • Bring the cream to a simmer in a pot over medium heat. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream to the chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula, to form a ganache.
  • Add the ganache to the yolk mixture and whisk to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the butter and whisk to combine. With the mixer running, slowly stream in the hot water, and mix until very smooth and emulsified. Pour over the prepared fondant base, spread to an even layer, and return to the fridge. Chill for 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

Soft Prailine

  • Bring the cream to a simmer. Place the hazelnut paste in a food processor, and with the machine running, slowly stream in the hot cream, blending to emulsify and form a smooth, glossy paste. Transfer to a storage container, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool. Refrigerate until firm.

Simple Syrup

  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a pot over medium heat, while whisking to dissolve the sugar. Allow to cool, transfer to a storage container, and refrigerate.

Orange Fluid Gel

  • Whisk together the agar and locust bean gum. Place the orange juice and ½ cup of the simple syrup in a blender. With the machine running, adjust the speed to form a vortex, and slowly add the agar mixture. Blend for 1 minute. Transfer to a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the orange zest.
  • Transfer to a storage container and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate to set.
  • Once set, remove from the container and dice into pieces. Purée in a blender at high speed until a smooth gel forms. Chill over ice, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, transfer to a squeeze bottle.

Garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 315ºF (160ºC). Place the nuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast until fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Allow to cool. Then place in a sandwich bag and crack with a rolling pin or mallet.

Serve

  • Remove the fondant from the freezer and allow to come to room temperature. Cut into four 4¼ × 5½ in (11 × 14 cm) strips. Wrap 3 of the strips tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of praline over the surface of the remaining strip, then cut into six ¾ in wide (2cm) bars.
  • Using a pastry brush, stroke the soft praline across each serving plate. Place the fondant bars on each plate and add dots of orange fluid gel and orange compote segments, crushed orange puffs, and toasted hazelnuts. Add a quenelle of sorbet and garnish with a few leaves of lemon balm.

A book cover in a light frame

Excerpted from Hawksworth by David Hawksworth, Jacob Richler and Stéphanie Nöel. Copyright © 2020 David Hawksworth. Photography by Clinton Hussey. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

 

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