The final day of the Christmas special. First we’re going to make our own chocolate. Then we’re going to make a Christmas tree tuille, a hazelnut praline and a raspberry ganache.
Take two cacao pods and cut them all around on the middle. Now break the pods in half and remove the cacao beans from the peel. The white fruit should already be a bit soft, so this should be pretty easy. Then transfer the cacao beans into a preserving jar and remove the sealing ring. Now cover it and let it ferment for 5 to 6 days. Do this at a hot spot in your house at around 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. Two times a day you need to hustle it and drain the liquid. The first day there isn’t going to be much liquid, but the second day it should be a lot more. On day two and three you can also keep the liquid. It’s very sweet and tastes a lot like lychee and mango. A quick tip to keep the preserving jar at a consistent temperature is to put it on your tv receiver if you have one. Even if it’s off it will always generate some heat. Now it’s day 6 and the beans are fermented. The beans are almost completely clean and they turned a bit brown. Then transfer the beans on a tray that’s lined with a silicon sheet and let them airdry for 2 days. Mix them twice a day. Once that’s done toast them at 170 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Then let them cool down for a couple of minutes and remove the membrane for the cacao.
melted cacao butter
cleaned cacao nibs
Transfer the melted cacao butter into a wet grinder and turn it on. Then slowly add the cleaned cacao nibs and let it grind for 1 hour. After the hour also add the sugar and let it grind for at least 12 hours. I know it takes a while, but that’s the only way to get a super smooth chocolate. Once the chocolate is smooth turn off the grinder and transfer the chocolate into a bowl. Then we need to temper the chocolate. Pour four fifth on your worktop and while moving it with a pallet knife cool it down till it’s 28 degrees Celsius. Then transfer it back into the bowl and mix it till the chocolates temperature is 31 degrees Celsius. Directly clean your worktop, otherwise it’s going to be a lot of trouble later on. Now pour the chocolate into a mold and tap the mold a couple of times to remove any air bubbles. Then let the chocolate crystalize till it has completely let go off the mold. Then remove it from the mold and keep it for later.
The raspberry gel
First mix the frozen raspberries with the sugar and cover it well with plastic wrap. Now heat it up on a bain marie for around 3 hours on a low heat. Then remove the wrap and let the liquid drain on a sieve that’s lined with a kitchen paper. Do this for at least 3 hours in your fridge.
Pour the raspberry broth into a saucepan and mix it with the agar powder. Then bring this to a boil for at least 1 minute. Once it has boiled pour it into a bowl and let it cool down completely in your fridge. Then transfer it into a blender and blend it into a smooth gel.
The white chocolate snow
Mix the sugar with the water and heat this up till it’s 135 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile transfer the white chocolate into a bowl and melt it. Once the sugar is 135 degrees Celsius slowly while mixing add it to the white chocolate. This will create a delicious powder. Now let it cool down at room temperature. Then transfer it into a blender and blend it into a fine powder.
The hazelnut praline
Mix the sugar with the water and caramelize it on a medium heat till golden brown. Then add the hazelnuts. These hazelnuts are with skins, but it doesn’t matter if they are with or without skins. Then keep on mixing while heating the caramel for 3 to 4 minutes. After that transfer it on a silicon sheet. Then spread it and let it cool down completely. Now break it in smaller pieces and add the vanilla pod. Then blend it till it’s almost a smooth praline, this takes around 5 minutes. This time it doesn’t need to be 100% smooth, some texture will give the dish a very nice bite. Then transfer it into a bowl. After that transfer 20 grams on each plate. Then spread it and let it set out of the fridge. Now a little trick. For that cut a wine cork in three pieces and place them in a triangle on the outside of a plate. Then put another plate on top and continue stacking all your plates. This is a great way to save some space.
The raspberry ganache
Mix the sugar with the water and caramelize it on a medium heat till golden brown. Once caramelized while stirring add the raspberry broth and the of cream. Then also add the dark chocolate. Mix it well until it’s fully emulsified. Then transfer it into a piping bottle and cover the top of the hazelnut praline. Keep this in your fridge for later.
The Christmas tree
a touch of green coloring powder
Mix the egg white with the sunflower oil, the sugar, the salt, the butter, the flour and a touch of green coloring powder. Blend this. Then transfer it on a silicon mold and spread it. The mold I’m using here is from Mold Brothers. Now bake it at 160 degrees Celsius for around 15 minutes. Then merge the two tuilles into a beautiful Christmas tree.
How to finish the dish
Dust the trees with a little bit of the white chocolate snow and also dust a thin layer on the chocolate ganache. Then gently place the Christmas tree on the plate as well and decorate it with the raspberry gel. And now it’s ready to be served.