Earl Grey

This dessert is called an entremets in French and for centuries this type of desserts were served between different dishes of a meal but in the last century they took their rightful place to be served as a dessert that is the last course! This entremets is a recipe coming from the Great French Pastry Chef Christophe Felder and his associate Camille Lesecq, and it’s so special that will surprise you a lot :-) The sabayon cream is flavored with Earl Grey and it’s simply splendid! You can really taste the flavor of Earl Grey tea in the cream! The prunes go very well with the rest of the ingredients and I used whisky instead of prunes eau de vie as in the original recipe to soak the lady finger biscuit! For sure, to make this dessert you need to dedicate a lot of time but the result is so special that worth the time spent! Just give it a try and see for yourself! Can you imagine? A cream with the taste of Earl Grey? It’s simply amazing!

In two words:

“She was beautiful, the Night
Who sleeps in the dark chapel
Where Michel-Angelo made his bed,
Even still, she is beautiful”

Alfred de Musset, Sur une Morte Tweet
To Start...

difficulty a bit difficult
preparation15’ (for the frangipane biscuit) + 10’ (resting time for the tea) + 5’ (for the whipped cream) + 5’ (for the lady finger biscuit) + 10’ (for bring everything together) + 4h-5h (to macerate the prunes)
cooking - 25’ (for the frangipane biscuit) + 12’-15’ (for the lady finger biscuit)
serves - 6-8  

Ingredients

for the white chocolate shavings

  • 15gr-20gr of white chocolate

for macerating the prunes

  • 300ml of red wine from Cahors (*)
  • 125ml of water
  • 60gr of caster sugar
  • ¼ of an orange
  • ¼ of a lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 300gr of prunes with their stones

the frangipane biscuit

  • 50gr of butter room temperature
  • 50gr of caster sugar
  • 5gr of corn flour
  • 50gr of almonds powder
  • ~50gr of egg (1 large egg)
  • 5gr of rum
  • 15gr of heavy cream
  • 140gr of macerated prunes without their stones + 110gr of macerated prunes without their stone and for decorating purposes
  • 30gr of pine nuts

for the ladyfinger biscuit

  • 55gr of all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 55gr of caster sugar

for the prunes punch

  • 10gr of caster sugar
  • 30ml of water (2 x 1 Tablespoon)
  • 30ml of prune juice (2 x 1 Tablespoon)
  • 5ml of whisky (1 teaspoon)

for the sabayon cream with Earl Grey

  • 4gr of unflavored gelatin leaves (a leave of gelatin weighs 1,6-1,7gr)
  • 50ml of water
  • 50gr of caster sugar
  • 10gr of Earl Grey
  • ~80gr of egg yolks (5 large eggs)
  • 230gr of heavy cream

Steps

before starting

  • The day before take out the butter from the refrigerator
  • Place in the freezer a metal bowl with the whisks of an electric hand mixer while you are not using them

for macerating the prunes

  • In a casserole add:
    • the wine
    • the water
    • the sugar
    • the orange
    • the lemon
    • the cinnamon
  • Bring it to a boil
  • Add the prunes into a bowl
  • Pour on top the mix of wine
  • Add the bay leaf and stir
  • Cover and leave it macerate for several hours (4h-5h)
  • Keep aside some of the prunes for decorating
  • Remove the stones from the prunes and slice them in half if they are too big

for the white chocolate shavings

  • Melt the white chocolate (eg in a double boiler)
  • Spread the chocolate onto parchment paper in a very fine layer (you can use a spatula or a knife)

the frangipane biscuit

  • Preheat the oven at 180°C
  • In a bowl, add the soft butter and start beating with an electric hand mixer
  • Add the sugar little-by-little and continue beating for a few minutes
  • Add the corn flour little-by-little and continue to beat after each addition
  • Add the almond powder little-by-little too and continue beating
  • Add the egg and continue beating
  • Add the rum and continue beating
  • Add the cream at the end and continue beating
  • Place the frangipane cream into a piping bag with a plain pastry tip of 10mm Ø
  • Pipe the cream into a square metallic mold of 16cm each side and onto some parchment paper
  • Smooth everything with a teaspoon
  • Sprinkle on top the macerated prunes reserved for this purpose
  • Sprinkle with pine nuts
  • Bake for 25’
  • Take the biscuit out of the oven and let it cool

for the ladyfinger biscuit

  • Draw a square of 14cm x 14cm onto parchment paper
  • Add the egg whites into a large bowl with a little bit of salt
  • Start beating
  • When they start to rise, add little-by-little the sugar and continue beating
  • Once they form stiff peaks, start sprinkling on top the flour while passing it from a sieve
  • Stir gently with a rubber spatula
  • Once all the flour absorbed, place the mix into a piping bag with a plain pastry tip of 10mm Ø
  • Pipe the biscuit in a way that covers the drawn square and while creating adjacent sticks
  • Bake for 12’-15’
  • Take the biscuit out of the oven and let it cool

for the prunes punch

  • In a small casserole add:
    • the water,
    • the sugar
  • Heat-up slightly until the sugar dissolves
  • Add the prune juice and the whisky
  • Stir with a teaspoon
  • Pour the syrup into a glass and set aside

for the sabayon cream with Earl Grey

  • Place the gelatin leaves into cold water to soften them up
  • Add the heavy cream into the bowl that you have in the freezer
  • Start beating the cream until a stiff whipped cream is formed
  • Place it in the refrigerator and seal it with plastic wrap
  • In a small casserole, bring to a boil the water along with the sugar
  • Remove it from heat and add the tea into it, stir with a teaspoon
  • Cover and leave it to infuse for 10’
  • Drain the tea and place it in a small casserole
  • Place the casserole into a double boiler already hot
  • Add the egg yolks
  • Start beating vividly with a whisk
  • Slowly you will see a cream starting to form
  • The cream is ready when you can see the bottom of the casserole and when the cream does not cover rapidly the line drawn with the whisk
  • Add the cream into a bowl
  • Drain the gelatin and add it into the bowl and continue to vividly whisk with the whisk until the cream is completely cold
  • Start adding the whipped cream little-by-little and stirring with a rubber spatula after each addition
  • Once all the whipped cream is absorbed start to bring everything together

for bringing everything together

  • Turn over the frangipane biscuit onto a plate
  • Remove gently the parchment paper
  • Turn it over again and place it in a metallic square mold of 16cm x 16cm
  • Sprinkle on top the prunes reserved for this phase of the dessert
  • Spread on top a fine layer (if you can) of sabayon cream
  • Trim the edges of the lady finger biscuit as to have clear edges that form a square
  • Turn over the lady finger biscuit onto a plate
  • Remove gently the parchment paper
  • Place the biscuit on top of the cream with the bottom side up
  • Use a teaspoon to soak the biscuit with the prune punch
  • Add a thick layer of sabayon cream on top and soften all the surface with a tablespoon; put aside some cream to use it later
  • Place the dessert into the freezer for 15’
  • Take it out of the freezer and spread the remaining cream in a thin layer
  • Slice the white chocolate into irregular shavings
  • Gently remove the metallic mold while using a knife to separate edges
  • Decorate the top of the dessert with the white chocolate shavings and the prunes reserved for this purpose
  • It’s really good and it has this slight taste of Earl Grey that makes this dessert so special!
  • Enjoy :-)
  • :-)

What’s the story behind this recipe?

When I saw this dessert in the book by Christophe Felder and Camille Lesecq, I was immediately very interested about it because I love Earl Grey, and even if I am no used to eating prunes, I wanted to make this dessert because Earl Grey is my favorite tea and I was so curious to see how this dessert was going to taste! But I did not have enough time to make it before this recipe, it was not my priority, but now, here it is! And as they say better late than never!

Try to make this dessert, it’s really good and so special that deserves the detour :-)

Inspiration

The Earl Grey dessert as it is found in the book Felder Christophe, Lesecq Camille, Entremets. 40 desserts d’exception, Editions la Martinière, Paris, 2020, p. 100.

Tip

This dessert can be stored in the freezer for some days (in small pieces or maybe as a whole), you just need to take it out for the freezer and store it in the refrigerator to defreeze, and it’s really good as well!

(*) if you cannot find Cahors red wine, try to find a light red wine that is a bit strong in taste 

o-o C'est si bon ! o-o

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