Mozart

December 5th, 2006

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One of my last experiments before the I begin the frenzy of holiday baking – a flight of fancy from Pierre Hermé’s Desserts that he dubbed Mozart. The alluring picture in the cookbook has made me stop at this recipe many a time, but the complicated assembly, as well as the unorthodox combination of apples and cinnamon in chocolate gave me pause. It was always filed away on the project list, something to try when I had time and adventurousness to spare.

Finally, right before the year marking Mozart’s 250th anniversary is about to run out, I’ve managed to strike this item off my miles-long baking list. And I’m certainly glad I finally took up the challenge. Like many of Mozart’s pieces, it is easy to be beguiled by the delicate, sweet appearance of the dessert, and it is not until you bite into it that you realize the complexity and genius contained within.

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The Mozart is composed of three layers of crisp, cinnamon-almond pastry alternating with a dense chocolate mousse studded with sauteed apples. While I am a fan of cinnamon, chocolate, and apple, their forms in this dessert intrigued me. I was unsure how I would feel about having bits of apple strewn in my chocolate, and how the tastes would mingle in my mouth.

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Allegro. The first sensation is of the outer pastry layers crackling beneath your bite. As a tribute to the Austrian composer, the cinnamon-scented dough is made with a sieved hard-boiled egg yolks, a common ingredient of Austrian pastry chefs. The egg yolks give the pastry an ephemerally crumbly texture – as well as making frustratingly fragile to work with. The recipe warns the the baked pastry cracks easily, making any manipulation a high-risk process. Fortunately, only one layer – the top -  has to survive intact for display!

Andante. The crunch of crust gives way to a rich, dark chocolate mousse. This is the part in which to luxuriate, the smooth, velvety mousse laced with hints of cinnamon and rum, and the surprise of bits of caramelized apple. I found the apples to work much better than I imagined they would – the overnight chilling of the cake allows the flavor of the apples to subtly blend with the chocolate, turning into an interesting supporting undertone. The apple pieces also add textural interest to the mousse, keeping it from becoming too one-note boring.

Finale. As the bite of cake is finished, a bevy of impressions – crisp crust, creamy mousse, cinnamon and almond, chocolate and apple, swirl into a crescendo of perfectly balanced deliciousness. I was impressed with how all of the elements of this dessert had been thought out and calibrated to harmonize with each other. This is an interesting riff on the layer cake motif – I found myself thinking I could use the format of alternating crisp pastry with rich filling in a variety of flavor combinations. So if the idea of apples in chocolate is not to your fancy (although I would give it a try before you completely dismiss it) there are still innumerable ways to use this dessert template – just as Mozart was able to write divine sonata after sonata.

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35 Comments so far ↓

  • johanna #1

    OH MY GOD! This is my idea of heaven! stewed apples, chocolate mousse – paradise! i must try this for myself over the christmas holidays (or get someone to make it for me, seeing that i am about to drop and should bt putting my feet up! thanks for sharing…

  • Kieran #2

    Well done! I’ve had my eye on that one as well, but haven’t yet worked up the courage!

  • Kristen #3

    I just wanted to comment on two things.
    One – that cake looks fantastic.

    Two – Your writing style is incredible. I enjoyed reading every last bite of this!

  • Kat #4

    Bravo! (standing ovation! with lots of clapping) This looks gorgeous.

  • lori #5

    Mon dieu, incroyable! Excuse the bad French, but those were the first things that popped into my head when I saw this exquisite dessert. You really knocked yourself out with this one, Anita!

  • Vita #6

    Oh, great! It looks magnificient!I know this recipe and I had intentions to make it for several times actually, but I never did! Well, after reading your finest description and looking at your beautiful photos I must include it in my plans!

  • Linda #7

    *Stunned* Anita, this is simply too heavenly to be eaten! I think I will take ages to finish this piece of artwork created from your humble kitchen and skillful techniques of yours.

    I agree with Kristen totally – your literal style of writing is simply incredible. I enjoy reading every post of yours ever since I found your chronicles of adventures in this sweet blog. Keep posting!

  • Ellie #8

    Oooh! I have this recipe from Pierre Hermes in my “The Cook’s Book” cookbook and have awed at the pictures but wondered whether it was really something I could create! I can’t wait to give this a try now, as your pictures look mouth-wateringly delish :)

  • Lisa #9

    That is a stunning cake, Anita. As always, your presentation and writing has me wanting more by the time I finish reading! =)

  • Patricia Scarpin #10

    Hi, there.

    First time around here and I’m stunned – such a beautiful dessert, needless to say delicious too. I love it!

    I’ll come back here over and over again, that’s for sure.

    Regards from Brazil,
    Patricia.

  • Brilynn #11

    Wow!
    That dessert looks absolutely perfect.

  • Tanna #12

    The Mozart is composed of three layers of crisp, cinnamon-almond pastry alternating with a dense chocolate mousse studded with sauteed apples. Couple that with your Allegro Andante and Finale and I really need your address for just a small slice of this.
    Wow!
    So, I guess I must add this cookbook to my long wish list.

  • Jeanne #13

    Oh you continue to astound me – both with your ambitious baking and your pictures, and now also with the great musical theme to the post! This sounds like heaven on a plate to me – let’s hear it for Pierre. And of course for YOU!

  • Christine #15

    Wow, you are talented. That cake is not only beautiful but sounds like it tastes terrific. I love the great description of it all. I am going to have to take a look at that book.

  • veron #16

    Wow! The man himself couldn’t have done any better. This cake is an art in itself. Perfectly done!

  • peabody #17

    Now that makes some beautiful music.

  • Ivonne #18

    Anita,

    I have no doubts that Mozart himself would be proud. This cake looks like a huge undertaking and you have outdone yourself.

    It’s a work of art!

  • Meeta #19

    WOW! Anita, this is so awesome looking and your writing had me captured. Wonderful!

  • bea at La tartine gourmande #20

    This is such a tempting dessert Anita. I would love to try it.

  • Helen #21

    What to say after so many who have sai it all. I don’t know which I enjoyed the most, the pictures or your writing. I looked a this recipe and I am not sure about it. Chocolate and apples just don’t attract me….maybe I’ll do it with pears.
    Beautiful as always!

  • Ari (Baking and Books) #22

    This is a fabulous post all around, but my favorite part is how gorgeous those green apples look on top of the chocolate brown cake. Art!

  • eliza #23

    nicely done, anita! it’s kind of intriguing how chocolate and apple would mix together…but glad that you had a success trying this cake.

  • Katya #24

    Wow, your presentation is great! Definitely going on my to make list. Your writing is indeed interesting. (mine is nowhere near as good)

  • ParisBreakfasts #25

    OH MY!
    That is SENSATIONAL looking Anita!
    What a combo? Beautiful and original photos too!

  • ParisBreakfasts #26

    P.S. Your writing here Anita is a SONATA!!!

  • Marieke #27

    Hai Anita,

    This looks sensational and professional. It takes guts to take on a cake of this ‘size’. The pictures look appetizing too.

    Did you listen to Mozart while making this masterpiece?

    Marieke

  • Dianka #28

    My Goodness! This is amazing!! I am very impressed.

  • Alicat #29

    wow you are so brave to take on such a beautiful dessert :)

  • Scott at Real Epicurean #30

    This does look good. My wife makes something very similar which I hope to be having over the christmas period.

  • Anita #31

    Johanna,
    Thank you!I’m glad someone else was intrigued by the combination of ingredients!

    Kieran,
    I think it’s worth a try – it’s definitely a unique recipe!

    Kristen,
    Thank you for the compliments. I’m always trying to improve both!

    Kat,
    Thank you! I was quite nervous about how it would turn out.

    lori,
    Thank you! This was one of my more nerve-wracking projects to date!

    Vita,
    Thank you! From seeing your website I am sure you will do a beautiful job!

    Linda,
    Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy visiting the blog!

    Ellie,
    I’m sure you will do a great job! It’s actually not that difficult, just time-consuming!

    Lisa,
    Thank you! I’m very flattered by your compliments!:)

    Patricia,
    Thank you for visiting! I love your site as well, and will return!

    Brilynn,
    Thank you! I felt like a “real pastry chef” plating it up!

    Tanna,
    Thank you! It’s a beautiful, inspirational cookbook – even before I dared try any of the recipes I was always drooling over the pictures!

    Jeanne,
    Thank you! It was fun trying to work the musical motif into this post!

    Ulterior epicure,
    Thank you! I’m glad they came out so well!

    Christine,
    It’s a great book, I think you’ll enjoy it! Thanks for the kind comments!

    Veron,
    Herme is a great inspiration! Thanks for your compliments!

    Peabody,
    Thanks!

    Ivonne,
    Thank you! It was a fun challenge to take on and I’m glad it turned out so well!

    Meeta,
    Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post!

    Bea,
    Thank you! I have no doubt you would do it justice!

    Helen,
    It is an unusual combination – but like you mentioned, it’s easy to substitute other ingredients that are more to your taste!

    Ari,
    Green and brown make a nice contrast, don’t they? Thanks for your kind compliments!

    Eliza,
    I was nervous about how it would turn it – but it was an interesting experiment!

    Katya,
    I’m always working on improving my writing – I think your style is great too!

    Carol,
    Thank you! I wish my photos were as beautiful as your paintings!

    Marieke,
    I listened to some Mozart, but other music as well! (It took a while to assemble this cake!)

    Dianka,
    Thank you! It was quite a project, to be sure!

    Alicat,
    Thank you! I finally worked up the courage to tackle it!

    Scott,
    You’ll have to let me know how it turns out!

  • Alita #32

    MMMM, apples, cinnamon and cocolate,
    that’s the perfect combination for me,
    it looks sooo tasty,

    great photos, congratulations!

    And A Happy New Year full of culinary inspiration! :)

  • rea #33

    Hi Anita, i’m really a FAN for your site. Enjoying scrolling down every pages of your site so much. This Mozart cake looks delicious. How did you make the apples look so fresh instead of browning? Thanks and Keep up the good work. :D

  • Anne #34

    This Looks tasty. I will make it. I hope my son will enjot this recipe.

  • konstantkraver #35

    Oh myyyy how good does that look!!!! I’m always looking for fab new chocolate recipes to try

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