Poire Willows: Dark Chocolate Bombe with Poached Pear and Truffles

Adapted by StarChefs.com
Thursday Nov 6, 2003
Yield: 8 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Poaching Liquid
½ bottle Riesling, not late harvest
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
2 star anise
Juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
8 Seckel pears, skinned, stem intact
Bombe Crust
11 ounces pralinosa
1 ounce cocoa butter
2 ½ ounces Feulletine flakes
Poire William Mousse
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces confectioner’s sugar
1 cup Poire William pear purée or pear nectar and brandy combined
2 ½ gelatin leaves
1 tablespoon pear eau de vie, (clear fruit brandy)
Chocolate Mousse
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64%)
2 ½ ounces butter
3 eggs, separated
1 ½ ounces sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Chocolate Glaze
1 pound semisweet chocolate (58%)
12 ounces butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Dark Chocolate Sauce
12 ounces water
5 ounces sugar
¼ cup honey
4 ounces cocoa powder
1 pound semisweet chocolate
Ganache
1 vanilla bean
4 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, divided in half
1 cup cocoa powder, Cacao Barry extra brute or Valrhona, sifted
¼ cup pear eau de vie
Hazelnut Croquant
3 ½ ounces sugar
1 ounce honey
3 ½ ounces heavy cream
4 ounces hazelnuts toasted, skinned and chopped

METHOD:

For Poaching Pears:
Combine all ingredients except pears in heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, hold simmer. While ingredients are coming to boil, place pears in bowl of lemon water until ready for poaching. Add pears to simmering liquid. Make tent of parchment paper, place on surface of poaching liquid. Press tent down to keep pears submerged. When tip of paring knife slides easily through pears, but they are still firm to touch, they are done. Remove pears from liquid. Turn off heat. Cool both pears and liquid to room temperature. Store pears in liquid in refrigerator until service.

For Bombe Crust:
Combine Pralinosa and cocoa butter in bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Stir in Feuilletine flakes. Scrape mixture onto parchment-lined sheet pan and spread into thin layer about 1/16 – inch, with offset spatula. Refrigerate until firm, cut out 3 - inch circles and reserve. Remaining scraps can be re-melted and used again.

For Poire William Mousse:
Mix heavy cream and confectioner's sugar in bowl of an electric mixer. Whip to soft peaks. Reserve in refrigerator. In large mixing bowl, place 2/3 of pear purée, the remaining 1/3 in separate bowl that will serve as top of double boiler. Bloom gelatin sheets in cold water. Gently warm 1/3 of pear purée over simmering water dissolve gelatin sheets in purée. Stir gelatin mixture into remaining purée. Add eau de vie. Fold in reserved cream. Pipe or pour mousse into 3 – inch flexipan molds and place in freezer to set while preparing chocolate mousse.

For Chocolate Mousse:
Melt chocolate and butter together in bowl over simmering water. Remove from heat. Whisk in yolks. Set aside. Whip whites to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Fold in softly whipped cream. Pipe chocolate mousse over pear mousse into bombe molds, cover with hazelnut Feulletine discs. Return bombes to freezer until ready for glaze.

For Chocolate Glaze:
Melt chocolate, butter and corn syrup together in bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and combined. Cool slightly before glazing bombes.

For Dark Chocolate Sauce:
Combine water, sugar and honey in saucepan and bring to boil. Sift cocoa powder over chocolate in mixing bowl. Remove syrup from heat and pour over chocolate. Whisk to combine, strain, and set aside to cool.

For Ganache:
Split and scrape vanilla bean into cream. Bring cream to boil in stainless steel saucepan. Pour cream over 4 ounces chocolate and whisk gently to combine. Add cocoa powder. Stir in eau de vie, and refrigerate Ganache until firm enough to scoop. Scoop out teaspoon size balls of Ganache; freeze until ready to coat in chocolate and cocoa. Temper remaining 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, dip each truffle in chocolate. Roll in sifted cocoa. Reserve in refrigerator.

For Hazelnut Croquant:
Preheat oven to 300°F. In saucepan, bring sugar, honey and cream to boil. Boil 3 minutes. Add hazelnuts. Pour mixture onto parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in oven approximately 15 minutes, until caramel colors and set. Remove from oven. After cooling just a few minutes, cut into triangles roughly 3 inches high. Cool completely. Store in sealed container at room temperature, between layers of parchment.