Bittersweet Valrhona Chocolate Fondant with Sable Cookie
By Chef Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Wine Pairing: Grappa de Luce

Servings: Makes 6 Servings

Fondant Ingredients:
1 Egg White
1/4 cup Sugar
7 tbls. (3 1/2 oz.) Butter (very soft)
5 1/2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate (melted and kept hot in a metal bowl)
2 tbls. Coffee (hot, strong brewed)
3 Egg Yolks
2/3 cup Heavy Cream (whipped to soh peaks)
1/4 cup Currants (soaked in hot water about 30 minutes or until plump)
1/4 cup Almond Slices (toasted blanched, chopped)

Ganache Ingredients:
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate (finely chopped, in a small bowl)

Chocolate Dentelle Ingredients:
1 cup Almond Slices (toasted blanched)
1 tbls. Cocoa
2 tbls. Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tbls. Corn Syrup
6 tbls. (3 oz.) Butter

Sable Cookie Ingredients:
14 tbls. (7 oz.) Butter
2/3 cup (4 1/2 oz.) Sugar
1 Egg Yolks
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) Flour

1. Although the techniques involved in this recipe are not difficult, it is imperative that the ingredients are assembled at the proper temperatures. If not, it is likely that the mixture will separate and if it does, you will not be able to recombine it.

2. Place 6 ring molds (2 inches wide by 2 inches high, with a 4 ounce capacity) on a parchment lined sheet pan. At the end of the recipe you will use a blow-torch to loosen the fondant from the sides of the molds. If you do not have a blowtorch, line the inside of each ring mold with a piece of clear acetate plastic to enable you to lift off the ring before serving.

For the Fondant:
1. In a metal bowl, whisk the egg white until it begins to hold a shape, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Continue to whip until the meringue holds a shape, about 4-5 minutes.

2. Place the softened butter in a bowl and whisk until it is smooth and creamy. Add the coffee to the chocolate and stir to combine. Remove the bowl from over the heat and let the chocolate cool slightly, just enough so that when you add the chocolate the butter will combine with, rather that melt into the chocolate; it should still be quite warm.
Working quickly, whisk in the egg yolks and then the butter. With a spatula, fold in the meringue and then the heavy cream. Add the currants and almonds, mixing just to combine.

3. Spoon the fondant into the ring molds. The mixture should come to the top of the molds. Using an offset spatula, smooth the tops level with the rim of the mold and refrigerate the fondants for at least 4 hours to firm or up to 5 days.

For the Ganache:
1. Heat the heavy cream and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute to melt the chocolate, then stir to combine the ganache. Remove the fondants from the refrigerator and top each one with a spoonful of glaze, smoothing it to the rim of the mold. Refrigerate the molds for an hour or up to 5 days before serving.

For the Chocolate Dentelle:
1. Pulse the nuts and cocoa in a food processor, then run the machine until the nuts are in small pieces and "gravel-like" in appearance. Remove to a bowl. Place the milk, sugar, corn syrup and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook until the mixture reaches a temperature of 220° F.

2. Stir the hot milk mixture into the nuts. Pour half the dentelle mixture between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out as thinly as possible. Lift the dentelle in the parchment and place the sheets on a pan and into the freezer (it must be frozen to remove a sheet of the parchment.) Repeat with the remaining dentelle batter. These sheets each make about 24 cookies and can be kept in the freezer for future use. For a smaller yield, just cut through the parchment paper and store the dentelle in smaller quantities.

To Bake the Dentelle:
Remove the dentelle from the freezer, pull off and discard the top sheet of parchment paper and place the cookies (still on the bottom sheet of parchment) on a sheet pan and into a 350° F oven for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the dentelle cool slightly. Cut the dentelle with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter, then cut each disc in half. If the cookies harden too quickly, return them to the oven to resoften. Let the dentelle cool, then store them in an airtight container. The baked cookies do not freeze well but the uncooked dentelle sheets can stay frozen for several weeks.

For the Sable Cookies:
1. This recipe will make about 8 dozen cookies. Extra baked cookies can be frozen, but for better results, freeze the uncooked dough. In a mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the yolk, beat well, then mix in the flour until combined. Remove the dough from the mixer and roll it between two pieces of parchment paper into a thin sheet, about 1/16th inch thick. Place the parchment wrapped dough in the freezer for an hour or so to harden completely.

2. Remove the sable from the freezer, place the sheet of cookies on a cutting board, remove one piece of parchment paper and cut rounds with the same diameter as the fondant molds.

3. Place the cookies on a silpat or parchment lined sheet pan and bake at 350° F. for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and when they have cooled, store them in an air-tight container. The sable can be made up to 5 days in advance.

For the Creme Anglaise:
Mix the creme anglaise with the coffee extract and refrigerate.

To Complete:
Place a sable cookie under each fondant. Briefly run a blowtorch around the mold just to loosen and remove the ring, or if you used acetate paper, just lift off the ring.

Links to more Thomas Keller Recipes:
Braised Stuffed Pig’s Head with Sauce Gribiche

Bittersweet Valrhona Chocolate Fondant with Sable Cookie

Broccolini Salad with Burrata Cheese - (new)

Buttermilk Biscuits - (new)

Buttermilk Fried Chicken - (new)

Creamy Maine Lobster Broth, Russet Potato and Lobster Coral Gnocchi

Foie Gras Infused Custard with White Wine Poached Anjou Pears

Iceberg Lettuce Slices with Blue Cheese Dressing, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Bacon, and Brioche Croutons - (new)

Leek Bread Pudding - (new)

Milk Poached Wild Turbot with "Foie Gras" and Sweet Onion "Cracklings" and Foie Gras Emulsion

Nantes Carrot Stew - (new)

Pig’s Feet with French Green Lentils

Pork and Beans

Sautéed Gulf White Shrimp* with Jasmine Rice, Raisins and Spicy Shrimp Broth

Scallion Potato Cakes - (new)

“Surf and Turf" Pan Roasted “Filet Mignon" of Veal with a Maine Lobster “Pancake", Clam Shell Mushrooms and Sauce “Homardine"

Sweet Butter Braised Maine Lobster with Baby Arrow-leaf Spinach and a Saffron-Vanilla Sauce

Other Related Links:
Thomas Keller: Ad Hoc at Home

Bringing Home the Bacon

The Great Chefs Series

Chef Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller Joins The Culinary Institute of America Board of Trustees


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