Seasonality dictates my creations since the freshest produce is always best and need not be expensive. Strawberries and raspberries are plentiful in Australia, so they are an easy favorite. They’re also highly nutritious so it’s a win working with these super-berries.
My Parmesan Strawberry and Hazelnut Chocolates is a cast of formidable flavors: dark chocolate, strawberry pâte de fruit with Parmesan crisps and smooth hazelnut praline. These components are bold and distinctive. So much so that they are commonly featured on their own as the main focus in desserts and other dishes. But not this time.
In this experiment, I try to rein in the more pronounced characteristics of these four ingredients. At first bite, the strong tangy flavors of the strawberry pâte de fruit shine through to balance the bitterness of the dark chocolate and lasting cocoa notes. As you savor this soft, slightly chewy confection, its sweetness gives way to crunchy Parmesan crisps, with their subtle salty hints and traces of toasted, almost caramelized milk flavor. The creamy, roasted hazelnut praline is smooth and delightful, reinforcing the flavor of the Parmesan. Together, they’re a match made in heaven!
Follow along for more of Elaine’s delectable desserts and Edible Journeys here.
Parmesan Strawberry and Hazelnut Chocolates — makes 35 bars (10 x 2.2 x 1 cm)
- 150 g Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 120ºC.
Grate the cheese as a thin, single layer on a parchment paper-lined tray. Bake the grated cheese for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp. Remove Parmesan Crisps from the oven and set aside to cool.
Strawberry Pâte de Fruit
- 340 g strawberry purée
- 70 g glucose syrup
- 270 g caster sugar
- 8 g yellow pectin
- 4 g citric acid
- 4 g water
- a candy thermometer
- a large baking tray
- 26 x 30 cm stainless steel entremets cake frame
Prepare the frame by placing it on top of a silicone mat on a tray.
In a medium saucepan, bring the strawberry purée and glucose syrup to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine the caster sugar and yellow pectin in a bowl and mix. Add this mixture to the saucepan of strawberry purée and whisk to break up any lumps. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches 106ºC.
Separately in a small bowl, dissolve the citric acid in water and add this to the strawberry mixture. Mix well.
Pour the puréed strawberry mixture into an entremet cake frame set over a tray and allow to set. Refrigerate to cool completely.
Crispy Parmesan and Hazelnut Praline
- 400 g hazelnut praline paste 50%
- 60 g cocoa butter, melted
- 40 g chocolate couverture 60%, melted
- 50 g Parmesan Crisps (recipe above)
- Strawberry Pâte de Fruit, chilled
In a saucepan, combine the hazelnut praline paste, cocoa butter and chocolate couverture. Heat to 45ºC, tempering the mixture once it reaches 27C. Then add the Parmesan Crisps and mix until evenly distributed.
Pour the hazelnut mixture over the frame of chilled Strawberry Pâte de Fruit. Allow to crystalize until set.
Parmesan Strawberry and Hazelnut Chocolates
- 1 tray of Parmesan – Strawberry – Hazelnut (26 x 30 x 1 cm)
- 3000 g Cacao Barry Inaya 65% dark chocolate couverture
- strawberries, freeze-dried
- Parmesan Crisps
- a guitar cutter, for chocolate
Temper the dark chocolate couverture. Form into fine chocolate sticks and allow to crystalize. Cut the chocolate sticks into 10 centimeter-long pieces.
Set up your guitar cutter to 10 x 2.2 centimeter. Flip the chilled Strawberry Pâte de Fruit and Crispy Parmesan and Hazelnut Praline to release it from the entremet frame. Now spread a thin layer of chocolate over the Strawberry Pâte de Fruit.
Working quickly before the chocolate hardens, cut the slab of Strawberry Pâte de Fruit and Crispy Parmesan and Hazelnut Praline into 10 x 2.2 centimeter rectangles.
Dip each bar in the chocolate couverture.
To serve, arrange the fine chocolate segments on their sides, followed by a piece of freeze-dried strawberry and a Parmesan Crisp piece.