An Evening with Scharffen Berger Chocolate and Pastry Chefs Johnny Iuzzini and Elizabeth Falkner

So what do you do when handed an irresistible invitation that reads, Scharffen Berger® Chocolate Maker Invites You to an Evening of Elevated Desserts with Acclaimed Pastry Chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Johnny Iuzzini?  If you love chocolate and eat dessert first, you say “Yes, please!” and head to the event with the resident Food Editor (the lovely Erica Clark) to watch the chefs give new twists to classic sweets using Scharffen Berger® chocolate.

Foodies and fans of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” will recognize Johnny Iuzzini as one of the head judges (alongside Gail Simmons) and Elizabeth Falkner as one of the guest judges from season one.  Iuzzini cut his teeth at Payard and is now the Executive Pastry Chef at Jean Georges restaurant in New York City while Falkner will soon be appearing on “The Next Iron Chef” and is the brainchild behind Orson restaurant and Citizen Cake bakery/ice cream parlor in San Francisco, CA.

In a room mostly full of women (yes, we do love our chocolate), Iuzzini started his demonstration of creating “Chocolate Pudding with Passion Fruit Gelée, Whipped Chocolate Crème Fraîche, and Cacao Nibs,” which was inspired by Jell-O Pudding Face ads, while Falkner began her demonstration of “Chocolate Gelato Sundae,” which was inspired by her love for ice cream. In order to make the ice cream solidify faster, Falkner used liquid nitrogen to freeze the milk-sugar mixture, which gave the demo a science-lab feel. (Both recipes are featured after the jump below.)

The audience was then divided into two groups to learn how to make each dessert (while wearing chefs hats and aprons).  Ending up in Iuzzini’s group, I mixed dry ingredients (those are my hands, on the right, and me with Iuzzini, below) and watched as unsweetened natural cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate became a trifle with layers of passion fruit gelée, devil’s food cake (that incorporated mayonnaise), chocolate crumble, crème fraîche, pudding, and for garnish: passion fruit seeds and freeze-dried raspberries. 

Afterwards, we were given a taste of the deeply delicious desserts — the chocolate pudding was a combination of sweet/sour and smooth/crunchy while the gelato sundae (garnished with chocolate cake bits, cocao nibs, and marshmallow cream) was a combination of sweet/bitter and crunchy/chewy.

Moms (and dads) all need a little “me” time, so if you’re a parent who loves chocolate, baking, and creating unusual spins on traditional desserts, consider making these two desserts as a treat for the family (the gelato sundae is more child-friendly, though you won’t need a nitrogen tank at home to make it!).  Or enter the “Elevate a Classic Dessert with Scharffen Berger® Chocolate Contest” for a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000.  The contest period is between October 1, 2011 – January 2, 2012.

Scharffen Berger® Chocolate Pudding with Passion Fruit Gelée, Whipped Chocolate Creme Fraîche and Cacao Nibs

Recipe by Johnny Iuzzini, Executive Pastry Chef at Jean Georges, New York, NY

Serves 10

For the passion fruit gelée:

  • 5 gelatin sheets
  • 3 ½ Tbs. sugar
  • 3.5 oz. water
  • 17.5 oz. passion fruit purée

For the devil’s food cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (6.2 oz.) sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (4.2 oz.) mayonnaise
  • 5 oz. pastry flour, sifted
  • ¾ tsp. (0.12 oz.) baking soda, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp. (0.02 oz.) baking powder, sifted
  • 1.5 oz. Scharffen Berger® Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder, sifted
  • ¼ tsp. (0.035 oz.) table salt, sifted
  • 2/3 cup (5.11 oz.) water

 For the chocolate crumble

  • 3 oz. Scharffen Berger® Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 8.82 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. sugar
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 17.5 Tbs. (8.82 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

For the chocolate crème fraîche

  • 5.3 oz. Scharffen Berger® 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 8.82 oz. crème fraîche

For the chocolate pudding

  • 1.2 oz. Scharffen Berger® Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder, sifted
  • 3.5 oz. sugar, sifted
  • 1.7 oz. cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 oz. Scharffen Berger® 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 quart half and half

 For the garnish:

  • Scharffen Berger® Roasted Cacao Nibs
  • Freeze-dried raspberries
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Fresh passion fruit seeds
  • Tempered chocolate décor

Make the gelée

Place the gelatin sheets into ice water for 10 minutes to bloom them, then remove from the water, squeeze out the excess water and reserve. Whisk the sugar into the water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin and mix to dissolve. Slowly whisk in the passion fruit purée. Pour out into a flat tray lined with plastic wrap (the gelée should be at least ½ inch thick) and place in the refrigerator to set. Cut out discs that will fit into the bottom of the dish or glass you plan on using to plate.

 Make the devil’s food cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In an electric mixer fitted with a whip, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage, i.e. forms a slowly disappearing ribbon on the surface when some of it is lifted with the whisk. Whisk in the vanilla extract and mayonnaise. Add all the dry ingredients alternately with the water.  Mix only until combined; do not over mix. Spread the batter onto greased, floured and parchment-lined 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating half way through baking. Cool completely. Cut into disks with a cookie cutter.

Make the chocolate crumble

Sift the dry ingredients together. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, paddle together all the ingredients, then spread the batter evenly until ¼-inch thick on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake until dry, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely, break into pieces and grind in a food process. Store in an airtight container if not using immediately.

Make the chocolate crème fraîche

Melt the chocolate to at least 50°C on a double boiler or in a microwave. Heat a quarter of the crème fraîche until it simmers and gently stir it into the chocolate to emulsify it.  Whip the rest of the crème fraîche until firm. Quickly fold the chocolate into the crème fraîche.  Put in the fridge to set.

Make the chocolate pudding

Note: make the pudding once everything else is ready to go. Begin plating as directed below before starting the pudding.

Whisk the cocoa, sugar, cornstarch and salt into the cold half and half. Bring to a simmer over low heat while stirring constantly. Add the chocolate and vanilla, raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring. Boil for 1 full minute. Pass the pudding through a fine mesh strainer and pour directly into the prepped serving glasses (see directions below).

To serve

In a clear rocks glass, place the passion gelée in the bottom. Place a disc of devil’s food on top making sure it is a tight fit to the glass on the sides. Make the pudding and pour on top of the cake disks. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and set in the fridge. Once set, remove from the fridge and cover the pudding with a layer of the chocolate crumble. Make a quenelle of the chocolate crème fraîche and place on top. Drizzle passion seeds, cacao nibs, crushed freeze-dried raspberries and fresh raspberries on top.  Garnish with a thin wisp of tempered chocolate for decoration.


Scharffen Berger® Chocolate Gelato Sundae with Chocolate Cake Crumbles and Marshmallow Cream

Recipe by Chef Elizabeth Falkner, Owner and Executive Chef of Orson Restaurant and Citizen Cake, San Francisco, CA

 For the Scharffen Berger chocolate gelato:

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 3 oz. corn syrup
  • 4 oz. sugar
  • 2 oz. Scharffen Berger® Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 4 oz. Scharffen Berger® 41% Cacao Extra Rich Milk chocolate, chopped
  • 4 oz. Scharffen Berger® 82% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 oz. cornstarch
  • Pinch salt

 For the chocolate sauce:

  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 4 Tbs. water
  • 8 oz. Scharffen Berger® 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 5 Tbs. corn syrup

 For the cake:

  • 3 oz. cake flour
  • 3 oz. Scharffen Berger® Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 4 ea. eggs, separated
  • 5 oz. canola oil
  • 5 oz. sugar plus 2 oz. of sugar
  • 1.5 oz. water

Scald the milk and corn syrup.
Combine the sugar, corn starch and cocoa powder.
Add this dry mix to the milk and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour over milk and dark chocolates to melt.
Chill 8 hours before churning.

Make the gelato

Scald the milk and corn syrup over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, corn starch and salt.
Add this dry mixture to the milk and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Put the milk and dark chocolates in a large bowl.
Pour the milk mixture over the chocolate and stir to melt. Chill 8 hours before freezing in an ice cream or gelato machine.

Make the chocolate sauce

In a small saucepan, bring the cream, water and corn syrup just to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat and pour over the chocolate. Set aside for two minutes and then whisk to dissolve the chocolate.

Make the cake

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
Whip the egg whites with 2 oz. of the sugar to soft peaks.
Combine the yolks with the remaining 5 oz. of sugar and whisk until smooth. Whisk the canola oil and then the water into the yolk mixture. Whisk in the dry ingredients and fold in the egg whites.
Pour into a greased brownie pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

 Make the Marshmallow Cream

  • 6 oz. egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 10.5 oz. sugar
  • 3 oz. corn syrup
  • 1/2 t. xanthan gum (optional)

Bring a few inches of water to a gentle simmer in a saucepan.
Put the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly to dissolve the sugar and heat the mixture for about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment and whip on high, adding the xanthan gum while whipping. Continue to whip on high for another 3 minutes.

To Serve

Drizzle chocolate sauce into sundae coup glasses.
Scoop 1 scoop of gelato into each glass.
Spoon some marshmallow cream on top of the first scoop.
Top with another scoop of gelato.
Spoon more marshmallow cream on top.
Drizzle on more chocolate sauce and finish with cacao nibs and dark chocolate curls.

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