Opaline | Los Angeles, CA
While most young pastry chefs his age were sitting in a classroom,
Julien Wagner was traveling to exotic locations such as the Yucatan
Peninsula, using Mexico’s natural and colorful landscape as
his own private classroom. After working for many years in Boston’s
best restaurants, Wagner headed to the west coast, excited to create
desserts using all the organic and refreshing produce that southern
California offers. His ambitious creations marry extraordinary concepts
with unexpected flavors. At Opaline, desserts become a flavor adventure
as Wagner constructs fresh and sweet dishes that bring a blissful
ending to any meal.
Valrhona Chocolate Torte with Pistachio Ricotta Purses
Chef Julien Wagner of Opaline – Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 4 Servings
- ¼ cup unsalted pistachio nuts
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ounce unsalted butter, plus 1 Tablespoon to grease baking
- 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons to coat
- 2 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Valrhona
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
Pistachio ricotta purses
- large egg whites
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 drop almond extract
- 12 ( 2 ½ inch) squares phyllo dough
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
Bittersweet chocolate sauce
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Valrhona
- 2 ounces milk chocolate, such as Valrhona
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons port wine
- ½ cup dried cherries
For chocolate torte:
For pistachio ricotta purses:
Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Toast pistachios for three to five minutes.
Once cooled, grind nuts and flour in food processor until smooth.
Set aside. Increase oven heat to 350°F. Grease four 2 ½
inch baking rings and dust with granulated sugar. Set aside. Combine
chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler, stirring frequently.
Once melted, set aside. In an electric mixer with whisk attachment,
combine eggs and yolks. Whisk on medium speed until barely frothy.
Gradually add 4 Tablespoons of sugar and continue to whisk on medium
speed until mixture has tripled in volume. Remove whisk attachment
and slowly fold in melted chocolate. Once incorporated, slowly fold
in pistachio flour. Place buttered baking rings on a parchment-lined
sheet pan. Fill rings halfway with batter and bake for five minutes.
Giving rings a half-turn to ensure even baking, bake for another
five minutes, or until tops begin to crack. Transfer to a cooling
rack. Once cooled, unmold by running a paring knife along inside
of rings. The torte may fall slightly. If not serving immediately,
wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Warm slightly before serving.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In an electric mixer with the paddle
attachment, combine egg whites and sugar and mix until bright white.
Add ricotta, salt, and almond extract and mix until just combined.
Chill for two hours. Lay out phyllo squares on work surface and
brush each on both sides with melted butter and sugar. Layer three
squares on top of each other and gently press together. Repeat with
remaining squares to form a total of 4 piles. Place approximately
1 Tablespoon of ricotta filling in the center of each pile of layered
Phyllo. To form purses, fold the sides over the filling, and pinch
dough gently at the top. Chill for 20 minutes. Bake on a parchment-lined
baking sheet for 6-8 minutes.
For bittersweet chocolate sauce:
Bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in both
chocolates until incorporated. Funnel into squeeze bottle and reserve.
For cherry sauce:
In a medium saucepot, combine water, sugar and port until all the
sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender.
Add dried cherries and puree. Pass through a fine mesh sieve and
keep cool. Funnel into squeeze bottle and refrigerate until service.
Warm both the torte and the ricotta purse in the oven at 325°F
for one minute.
Remove torte, carefully placing it on its side, as shown in photograph.
Place ricotta purse on opposite side of the plate. Squeeze a wavy
line of cherry sauce down the middle of the plate between the torte
and the purse. Squeeze a half dollar size amount of chocolate sauce,
in front of torte. If desired, place a scoop of vanilla ice cream
next to torte on top of the chocolate sauce.