Monday, March 5, 2012

What is an Entremet anyway?

Whenever I try to describe this divine dessert the question I often encounter is, "what the heck is an entremet?" It is not surprising to me that most Americans haven't experienced the luscious layers of goodness in this very French dessert but all you have to do is frequent a high end bake shop in a large city and most are now making them. They usually have a high shine glaze on top with either chocolate or fresh fruit garnishes and sometimes both... Inside are multiple layers of flavors and sometimes textures too.
I had the pleasure of working with a French Chef who was proficient in making these wondrous sweet fantasies. I will share the information but can not provide a recipe since they are very very long and very complicated. BUT at least you will know how they are made and the next time you come across one you will be more than tempted to try it!    
They are typically made using a 4.5 cm tall by 8" wide ring mold and acetate liner. The one you see above has two crisp layers of walnut meringue and is filled with alternating mounds of chocolate and vanilla mousse. This is the more simple style of entremet with no glazing and a very simple garnish.                                                                                                          

These desserts can be as simple or complex as you would like them to be. The important aspect of them is they have layered flavors. How many layers? How many flavors? Well, that is up to the creator. The ones I am sharing with you are somewhat simple in flavor combinations but never simple in makeup and assembly!

This is one of my favorite flavor combos but the mousse that surrounds the center has 4 different recipes just in the one mousse! It is a caramel mousse surrounding a vanilla sponge cake and the center is a pear mousse that has chunks of poached pear. It is garnished with a cold mirror glaze and dark chocolate rings.
The real secret to these desserts is a very very cold freezer. I mean a below 0°F freezer. Each step is done  individually and everything needs to be complete before you assemble. In other words, with this beauty you need to have the cake baked, the pear center made and frozen before you make the complicated caramel mousse. Then you pipe the mousse into the ring, press the thin layer of cake in it so the mousse goes up the sides of the ring, then pull out your frozen pear center place it on top, then more mousse then the last layer of cake. Put the entire cake into the freezer until frozen solid. You have built it upside down! When you take it out of the ring it will have a perfectly flat top and the cake will be on the bottom! Clever, huh? Well, they are all not done like this but it is a great technique for creating a perfectly square cake.

The next entremet I want to share with you is the chocolate mint entremet. It has layers of chocolate sponge, chocolate mousse and a center of mint mousse. My favorite technique used for this one is the top striped layer!
You begin by making some simple ganache and using an icing knife spread the ganache on a silpat and then using a cake comb pull the comb straight through the ganache to create the stripes and freeze.
Meanwhile, make your mint mousse for the frozen center piece, spread some of the mint mousse over the stripes and freeze the entire thing as well as the rest of the mousse which goes into a smaller molds (4" fleximolds) to be placed in the center of the cake when assembled.
When all is frozen you bring out the silpat with the stripes and put your ring down on top of it. Then you begin to build the cake upside down just as the pear one was built.
The cake was baked in a 6" pan. This way all the center pieces are surrounded with the chocolate mousse. The garnishes are white chocolate splattered with green cocoa butter for color and again the glaze is a cold mirror glaze.
Don't you just want to bite it? Well, although beautiful with the shinny glaze and colorful garnishes it is important to remember the flavors! They should be packed with layers of flavor and not just sweet and pretty to look at! I have seen entremet with as many as 8 layers and four complimentary flavors.
To all my pastry chef colleagues out there, make these, create new flavors and most of all have fun! This is what our customers are wanting, fun new flavors and textures to delight the mouth!


Pari said...

Looks amazing Chef. We should make one in class


Making Vanilla said...

Looks amazing. Wish there was a recipe.
Learn to make Homemade Vanilla

chefany said...

This is a complicated recipe that needs to have technique added to it... very hard to write and describe... this is why folks take classes ;)

chefany said...

This is a complicated recipe that needs to have technique added to it... very hard to write and describe... this is why folks take classes ;)