Monday, July 25, 2011

The Shores' Dark Chocolate Ganache and Friends

 Azure at The Shores

Our wine dinner at Azure in The Shores Resort & Spa, Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, presented superbly simple grilled courses perfect to a hot summer evening. Dessert, however, was an incredibly complicated, multi-part creation that sounded doomed to failure but tasted divine.

Alas, I have no photo and it's still a mystery how these disparate parts came together, but Chef Michael Archer's talented team turned out a tour de force of flavors that somehow worked and ended the meal with an indelibly sweet memory.

The title's a marathon, the calorie and carb levels are off the charts and the preparation of so many parts might be tedious but believe me, the result is worth it. If the parts are too daunting, the ganache and the frozen custard will sufficiently wow your guests.

Dark Chocolate Ganache, Mint & White Chocolate Frozen Custard, Hazelnut Toffee, Butter Cookie, Citrus Foam

Dark Chocolate Ganache
2 lbs. dark chocolate coins
8 oz. heavy cream

Bring cream to a boil, pour over chocolate coins and mix until smooth.
Line a small terrine dish with plastic film, pour mixture in and chill until solid. Cut as desired.

Mint & White Chocolate Frozen Custard
2 qts. heavy cream
1 cup Creme de Menthe
3 oz. fresh mint, chopped
2 egg yolks
2 oz. granulated sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate, melted
2 oz. peppermint candies, crushed

In a large saucepan heat creme de menthe until it reduces to a syrup. Add cream and mint and scald.

In a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Temper in the cream until finally incorporated.

Return egg and cream mixture to saucepan and cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and cool overnight.

Pour custard into a running ice cream maker and run for 30 minutes. In the last five minutes drizzle in white chocolate and crushed peppermint candies. Allow to set up overnight in freezer before serving.

Hazelnut Toffee
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chopped hazelnuts
2 TBS light corn syrup

In a small saucepan pver medium heat combine sugar, butter, hazelnuts and syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring to blend as the butter melts. Heat mixture to 250-260 degrees.

Pour mixture into a greased baking sheet and cool. Crumble for service.

Citrus Foam
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1 egg white

Combine all ingredients and beat with a hand blender until a foam forms on top. Scoop foam onto dish.

Butter Cookies
1 lb. 8 oz. butter, soft
6 oz. confectioners sugar
12 oz. granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 lbs 4 oz. cake flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Using stand mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until flufy. Add confectioners sugar and continue mixing.

Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and continue mixing.

Add flour until completely combined.

Place cookie dough into a piping bag with a plain tube tip. Pipe quarter-size onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes.

To serve, place small slice of ganache on a plate and add a scoop of the frozen custard. Sprinkle around toffee, topping the ganache with a dab of foam and adding a cookie.

Paired nicely with Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon.

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