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Before starting this Pear Belle Hélène Entremets recipe, organise the necessary ingredients for the almond biscuit.
For the almond biscuit: Pour the egg whites in the stand mixer recipient.
Combine the egg white powder and 50 grams of castor sugar together. Egg white powder allows a meringue to hold together longer and prevents it from collapsing. Egg white powder is optional in this recipe. If you're not using egg white powder, simply go without it but make sure you do not change the quantities listed above.
Add the sugar and egg white powder mix to the fresh egg whites in the bowl. We're adding the castor sugar to the egg whites right from the start in order to "grease" the egg whites for a glossy, firm consistency.
Start beating the egg whites at low speed...
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, almond powder and remaining sugar.
Slightly increase the speed of the food mixer.
There's no need to add salt for this recipe, unless you would like to give a little savoury kick to your preparation. Salt is generally used to obtain beaten egg whites with a super smooth texture.
Stop the mixer when the egg whites are foamy.
Incorporate the powder mix with a rubber spatula. Combine gently so the egg whites do not collapse.
Note: Beating egg whites until foamy (and not firm) will ensure good results after baking. It will prevent the biscuit from growing hollow while cooking.
Scoop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle (diameter 10mm).
Pipe the preparation into a spiral shape to create discs with a diameter of 14 cm. Start piping the spiral from the centre then going outwards.
The proportions listed here will make three discs. We only need one disc of biscuit for this recipe. Unfortunately proportions cannot be divided by 3, otherwise we won't get the same consistency and the egg whites won't whip as required. You can easily store the other discs in the freezer and use later for another recipe.
Bake in a fan-assisted oven at 170°C (gas 3) for 10 to 12 minutes.
When cooked, remove from the oven...
... and leave to cool.
For the pear crémeux: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Pour the pear purée in a saucepan and place over medium heat.
Steep the gelatine sheets in cold water.
In a mixing bowl, place the whole eggs, egg yolks and castor sugar...
... and blanch with a whisk.
When the purée is hot, take away from the heat and add the egg and sugar mix.
Cook over medium heat while whisking constantly. Cook the preparation 'à la nappe' (i.e. until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).
Add the strained gelatine sheets.
Mix well until completely dissolved.
Add the butter cut into cubes and combine. At this stage, you can add a little pear liqueur to enhance the pear flavour which can be very subtle.
Once the butter is incorporated, transfer the preparation into a recipient.
Stretch a sheet of cling film over a mousse ring (diameter 16cm) in order to create a base.
Place the stainless steel ring inside the Silikomart Eclipse mould (white base).
Mix the pear crémeux with the hand blender.
Pour the pear crémeux inside the stainless steel ring. For an optimal balance between pear and chocolate, I recommend pouring 350 grams of chocolate.
Place in the freezer. This pear crémeux will be used as an insert. The pear insert can be prepared ahead and stored in the freezer.
Cut the almond biscuit with a stainless steel ring (diameter 14cm).
For the crunchy praline: Combine the praline paste and pailleté feuilletine flakes together. We chose not to add any chocolate to this praline to ensure a smooth consistency.
Pour the preparation over the almond biscuit disc. The proportions listed above are perfect to cover one biscuit disc.
Spread over the whole surface and reserve in the freezer.
For the chocolate icing: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Soften the gelatine sheets in cold water.
In a saucepan, heat the whipping cream with castor sugar and water.
Bring to a boil.
Take away from the heat and add the cocoa powder.
Return to the heat, making sure the cocoa powder doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Whisk constantly.
Bring the preparation to a temperature of 106°C.
Add the strained gelatin. Combine.
Pass the sauce with a chinois or a fine sieve.
For the dark chocolate mousse: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Soak the gelatine sheets in a big bowl filled with cold water.
Heat the milk up to 40°C and add the strained gelatine. Combine with a whisk.
Add the dark chocolate pistoles.
Combine with a whisk until the chocolate has completely melted.
Add a portion of whipped cream and whisk.
Add the rest of the whipped cream in small batches...
... and combine with a rubber spatula.
Assembling the cake: Prepare all the elements needed to assemble the log.
Remove the pear insert from the mould.
Transfer the chocolate mousse into a piping bag.
Cut the tip of the bag with scissors (the use of a nozzle is not necessary).
Fill the bottom of the mould with chocolate mousse.
Using a palette knife, create a volcano shape so that the mousse goes all the way up the rim.
Arrange the frozen pear insert in the centre.
Place the clear lid over the white silicone base.
Fill the gaps on the sides with dark chocolate mousse...
... and cover the pear insert.
Place the almond biscuit disc over the chocolate mousse, with the praline coating side facing down.
Bury the biscuit gently until the mousse comes up the sides a little.
Place in the freezer. Up to this stage, this recipe can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer for up to a month. This will save you a lot of time on the day to concentrate on the finish.
For the finish: Take the cake out of the freezer.
Gently remove the top part of the mould (clear lid)...
... then release the cake from the white silicone base.
Slide your palm around the cake to even the joint mark.
Transfer the cake on a pastry rack, which has been placed on top of a deep tray.
Pour the icing at 30°C over the whole surface of the cake in one stroke.
Even the surface with a cranked spatula.
Let the excess icing drip off.
Fill a decorating bag with a blend of clear mirror glaze and gold colouring powder. In a random pattern, pipe lines of golden glaze over one side of the cake.
Arrange a few chocolate petals over the surface of the cake.
To finish the decoration, carefully arrange small pieces of gold leaf with the tip of a knife. Let defrost slowly in the fridge, at least between 4 and 6 hours before serving.
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