THE DARK CIRCLE
 

THE DARK CIRCLE

An original recipe by L'École Valrhona Chef Frederic Bau
From their cookbook Simply Chocolate
For 6-8 people
Category: Cakes and Tarts
Difficulty: Easy
Preparation: 2 hours
Cooking: 15-30 minutes
Freezing: 3-4 hours
 
 

INGREDIENTS

Cocoa Nib Nougatine:
100g (3/4 cup) COCOA NIBS
50g (1/4 cup) butter
75g (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) sugar
25g (1 Tbsp) glucose syrup (or honey)
2g (1 tsp) yellow pectin (or 5g (1 tsp) cornstarch)
20g (1 Tbsp) water
7‑8 finely ground Timut peppercorns

CARAÏBE 66% Chocolate Sponge:
100g CARAÏBE 66%
70g (1/3 cup) heavy cream
4 (125g) egg whites
2 (30g) egg yolks
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
10g (1 Tbsp) COCOA POWDER
butter for the mold

Creamy Ganache:
200g CARAÏBE 66%
350g (150g very cold + 200g) (2/3 cup very cold + 1 1/2 cups) heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbsp (30g) acacia honey

CARAÏBE 66% Chocolate Glaze:
150g CARAÏBE 66%
5g (1/2 Tbsp) COCOA POWDER
110g (1/3 cup) evaporated milk
80g (1/3 cup) heavy cream
40g (3 Tbsp) sugar
2g (1 tsp) yellow pectin
5g (1/2 tsp) glucose syrup (or honey)
35g (2 1/2 Tbsp) water

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 
Cocoa Nib Nougatine:
  • Preheat the oven to 360‑370°F (180‑190°C).
  • In a pot, mix the sugar with the pectin.
  • Add the butter, water, glucose syrup, and Timut pepper. Cook over low heat, but don’t stir too much. Once everything is combined, simmer a few seconds.
  • Add the cocoa nibs.
  • Spread a thin layer of this mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12‑15 minutes.
  • Once cool, break the nougatine into large pieces. Keep a few for decoration.
 
Chocolate Sponge:
  • Preheat the oven to 360‑370°F (180‑190°C)
  • Melt the chocolate to 118‑122°F (45‑50°C).
  • Add the cream, the egg yolks, and finally the cocoa powder. Stir vigorously with a spatula until the batter is smooth and elastic.
  • Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks with the sugar.
  • Fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture in two or three parts.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the batter into a lightly buttered 7-inch metal ring (18‑20cm) on the sheet. Bake for 9‑10 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cover it with chunks of the nougatine. Bake for 3‑4 minutes more so that the nougatine sticks to the cake.
  • Unmold while still warm and let cool.
  • Line a 7 1/2 inch (1 1/2 inches high) metal ring with a 1 1/2 inch wide PVC strip. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put the cake in the center. There should be about 1/8 inch of space on all sides.
  • Keep in the refrigerator while making the ganache.
 
Creamy Ganache:
  • Whip 150g ( cup) of very cold cream to soft peaks. Keep aside.
  • Over low heat, boil 200g (1½ cups) of cream. Pour about a third of the mixture over the chocolate; mix, then repeat two more times.
  • Mix with a spatula until a smooth and shiny emulsion is formed. At 95‑104°F (35‑40°C), add the whipped cream.
  • Pour the ganache over the cake and freeze for at least 3‑4 hours in order to glaze.
 
Chocolate Glaze:
  • Boil the cream, evaporated milk, water, sugar, pectin, cocoa powder, and glucose syrup together.
  • Gradually pour the hot liquid over the chocolate while stirring to create a smooth, shiny, elastic core. Immediately blend with an immersion blender to finish the emulsion.
  • Store in the refrigerator or use right away at 96.8‑100.4°F (36‑38°C).
Assembly
  • Remove the metal ring and polyethylene strip; place the cake on a rack and quickly cover with the chocolate glaze.
  • Remove the excess with a metal spatula and let set for 30 seconds.
  • Place on a serving plate and decorate with the nougatine chunks. Store in the refrigerator.