Chocolate Overkill

How many times have you gone out for dinner and craved chocolate at the end of the meal? You’ve just had the entrée, the main and its time for dessert. You are kind of full, but may have chosen the lighter dishes so there still enough room left. If you’re like me, you may even have requested the dessert menu first to decide whether entrée is required.

On the dessert menu is a chocolate dish. The menu reads well, so that’s the choice for the evening. The chocolate dish finally arrives from the kitchen and… abruptly your expectations slide.

An overpowering dessert can destroy a good meal. When it is nothing but chocolate and sugar it can make your taste buds so full that you can’t even finish it. The dessert chef might as well have placed a block of chocolate on the plate and sprinkled sugar on top. Dinner is now over and you’re ready for bed and the the night may has been ruined thanks to chocolate overkill.

A chocolate dessert doesn’t have to be over-done at all. It can be well balanced along with freshness and minimal adding of sugar to the chocolate to get the maximum flavour from the quality of your product. Fruit is great for cutting through the chocolate and to complement it and not to make it so heavy but rather lighter.

Fresh herbs and baby micro herbs are the rage now, not like the old days with mint. Mint is still ideal though, it helps with the digestive system and at the same time gives you great breath, always useful for those crucial dates.

I’ve currently got a pistachio dessert that has raspberries on the menu and also a carrot dessert that has apricot to cut the heaviness, both different from each other and both have chocolate. One has Satin Blanc, a white chocolate, and the other with a milk chocolate 40.5 per cent Origine Ghana and praline. Both chocolates are Cacao Barry products.

I use a high percentage of cocoa with my petit fours, the chocolates that accompany the bitter smooth coffee.

The dessert looks like this on the menu:

White chocolate and pistachio chantilly.

Feuilletine crunch, bavarois crème, fresh raspberries.

Praline and apricot délice, carrot and apricot sorbet caramelised walnut crumble

Chocolate degustation

On 6 August I will be at the Hunter Valley Tempe’s Two to do a seven-course Cacao Barry chocolate degustation of three canapés, seven courses and then petit fours. I’m doing a palette cleanser along with a cheese course, two desserts and petit fours for 180 people. It will be huge, especially considering that the dishes have to flow and the last thing I want to do is for people to be over chocolate.

My palette cleanser has a little twist to it. It’s a verrine of apple. There is a caramelised mousse where the white chocolate is baked in the oven at 130°C for an hour and every 10 minutes stirred so it caramelises evenly. It’s the new technique that everyone will be doing and raving on about, it is so tasty. You apply it to any product as normal, then apple jel, Satin Blanc tapioca, sweet and sour apples, mini-apple tart tartin and a lime sherbet. Its got colour along with the creativity and fun and it still has chocolate but is not over done.

I love desserts where the dish consists of chocolate that’s light, exciting and you’re left wanting more. That you’re ready to pick up the plate and just lick it.

The degustation uses all percentages of chocolate from your whites to the bitter chocolates. The main dessert is Tanzanie and Ghana crème, passionfruit curd, basil foam, grue cacao dust with 75 per cent Dark Origine Rare Tanzanie and 40.5 per cent milk chocolate Origine Ghana.

It’s my signature dessert and the dessert that everyone loves, giving the ‘wow’ factor visually and taste wise. Using milk and a dark chocolate the passionfruit cuts through the chocolate and same as the sorbet and the foam refreshes’ the dessert. I use the coco nibs of the chocolate to make a grue cocoa crisp on the base of the crème and I also turn it into a powder.

Desserts are the excitement at the end of the meal, the dish that people rave on about, as it’s the last course, the last remembrance.

So make that dessert sexy, elegant, fun and wow to the eyes of the beholder.


By Anna Polyviou, The Bathers’ Pavilion

Makes 35 portions
3cm x 12cm of the raspberry pistachio delice
3cm x 9cm of tempered white chocolate
Frame 30cm across 45cm length
Vanilla bavaios (500g per layer)
150ml milk
70g yolks
35g caster sugar
10g gelatine sheets (soften gelatine)
One vanilla pod (scraped and seeded)
250ml cream (semi whisked)

1 In a small saucepan, boil the milk and vanilla pod together.
2 Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl till combined.
3 Pour the boiled vanilla milk onto the egg mixture slowly then return to the heat and stir untill it reaches 85°C.
4 Take off the heat, add the pre-soaked gelatine into the mixture and sieve.
5 Cool to 45°C and fold through the semi whisked cream.

Raspberry jelly (600gm layer)
600g raspberry puree.
50g caster sugar.
25g gelatine sheets (soften gelatine sheets)

1 In a small saucepan warm half of the raspberry puree and the caster sugar together, take off heat once the sugar has dissolved.
2 Add in the softened gelatine sheets to the puree along with the remaining puree.
3 Strain and place aside.

Feulletine (per tray)
200gm white chocolate
75gm feulletine

1 Melt the white chocolate and mix in the feulletine.

Pistachio chantilly
750g cream
600g white chocolate
40g pistachio paste

1 Place the cream along with the pistachio paste into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
2 Pour over the chocolate, make an emulsion.
3 Place in a take-away container and leave aside to cool for 24 hours.
4 Semi whisk and pipe when required.

Pistachio dacquoise
(2 x 400g, 800g per tray)
240g almond flour
240g icing sugar
60g plain flour
300g egg whites
135g caster sugar
75g pistachio paste

1 Sift together the almond meal, plain flour and icing sugar.
2 Whisk the egg whites to soft peck and gradually add the caster sugar.
3 Gently fold through the sifted dry goods.
4 Take out about 200g of the mixture, soften the pistachio paste with it and fold back into the dacquoise.
5 Spread on a baking tray 800g per tray and bake at 160°C for six minutes or untill cooked.

Assembling the dessert
Get a flat tray and place the pistachio sponge 30cm x 45cm and place the frame on top. Spread the white chocolate and feuilletine evenly onto the pistachio sponge,
pour the bavarios on top and freeze. Once set, place the pistachio sponge and spread thin layer of white chocolate. Once set pour the raspberry jelly.

Freeze the gateaux. Once set remove the frame and portion the gateaux to 3cmx12cm. Place the white chocolate rectangle on top, pipe the whisked pistachio Chantilly crème and finish with another white chocolate rectangle on top.

Setting up the gateaux
White chocolate rectangle
Piped pistachio Chantilly
White chocolate rectangle
Jelly (600g)
Spread thin layer of white chocolate
Sponge (400g)
Bavarios (500g)
Feulletine (275g)
Sponge base (400g)

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