This entremet of chocolate and hazelnut was impressive to behold, and, with its contrasting layers of flavour and texture, equally delightful to taste. There were a number of individual components to make and chill, but the end result was definitely worth it.
I didn’t take a lot of photos to document this labour-intensive cake, because the recipe I followed already does a great job of that. Speaking of the recipe, it seems that this cake goes by at least two names: “Royal” or “Trianon”. French Wikipedia has a short article about it.
Anyway, I bought a bunch of things from Vanilla Food Company recently, a Canadian online retailer of ingredients and equipment related to baking, cake decorating, chocolate, etc. My order included a giant (2.5 kg) box of feuilletine, a package of praline grains, and milk chocolate callets.
Here are my notes about each component:
Depending on how well you whip the egg whites, the meringue layers may be very thin. You need to ensure that they are nearly the full diameter of your cake ring. I needed a bit more than 20 minutes before the top felt dry and started to brown.
The ingredient list on the praline grains is crushed hazelnuts with caramel, at a ratio of 1:1. I thought this would be a shortcut to making my own praline paste. While it turned out fine, it lacked the intense aroma of freshly roasted hazelnuts. This combination of hazelnut, chocolate and crispy wafers is super-addictive. I could eat handfuls of this all day long.
Since I only had one stand mixer bowl, I whipped the cream first and set it aside in the fridge, while I made the pate a bombe.
Chocolate Mirror Glaze
Interestingly, you need to make this ahead of time and refrigerate it. I found it too sweet, and would reduce the amount of sugar next time.
Assembling the cake was pretty straightforward. One thing I neglected to do was to run a knife around the outside of the cake ring, to get rid of air pockets. I found that the dacquoise layer on the bottom stayed crisp and chewy, since the praline acted as a barrier to the mousse. Maybe it’s personal preference, but I prefer a softer base to a mousse cake.
All in all, this combination of hazelnut and chocolate is a real winner, especially with its alternating soft and crunchy layers.