Dominique and Me: Chocolate Caviar Tart

My caviar looks like dead flies.

HEYHEYHEY FIRST ADVANCED RECIPE, I’m practically Dominique Ansel at this point ;). I’m in the final stretch, with just nine (very) advanced recipes left. It’s a mixture of relief and sadness that before long this will be over.

Me and my mum have been lucky so far, in the fact that we like pretty much all the flavours used. That was the case until we hit this page. On the surface it just looks like chocolate which we were chill with, however, upon further inspection we realised the main component is a coffee ganache. The Wenman-Hyde’s are N O T coffee fans. It’s strange not being a fan of coffee, most people couldn’t live without, coffee is their whole lifestyle, but we just don’t get it. Honestly, its been a real identity crisis realising that I’m a gay who cannot stomach ice coffee ;).

The recipe starts off the day before with the dreaded coffee ganache. The method is the same as any other basic ganache recipe (with the addition of gelatine), and is placed in the fridge to set. Next, we head back to Ansel’s recurring use of his soft caramel. You know, the one that has been in like 90% of these recipes. Honestly, I could probably do that caramel with my eyes closed at this point ;), the caramel also went into the fridge to chill.

Ansel also requests for the tart shells to be made the day before. The tart shells are similar to his basic vanilla sable dough, however, has the addition of cocoa powder to give it a chocolately flavour that would pair well with the rest of the tart. I decided to make my tart shells in little 4” cake rings, and they were quite large so definitely go smaller if possible. The tart shells are left in the fridge overnight, allowing them to be baked the next day.

The one last task to do was to make the star of the show – the chocolate caviar. I wasn’t feeling overly daunted by this, instead just semi-daunted ;). I’ve seen Tastemade tutorials to make fruit caviars, as well as making some myself while on work experience in Sweden. Doing it at home, however, seemed a lot scarier for some reason. The chocolate caviar is shaped by dripping it into very cold grapeseed oil, of course the caviar needs a container that is deep enough for it to set while suspended in oil. This meant I ended up using a bucket (by bucket, I literally mean a sandcastle bucket ;)), because it was the only way I could ensure the oil was deep enough. This was placed in the freezer for a couple hours, and I started to make the actual chocolate caviar mix.

The recipe for the caviar uses cocoa and a long list of other ingredients including agar agar. Agar agar is a setting agent similar to gelatine. The agar agar is added and the mixture is cooled until it reaches a suitable temperature to begin dropping into the oil. I transferred the mixture into a piping bag and began to make little droplets in the oil. Let me tell you that, it looked absolutely revolting. The oil went really cloudy, almost black and the caviar wasn’t quite making spheres, instead resembling guinea pig droppings. I carried on and in the end, had a result which wasn’t perfect but not too far off ;).

The next day, I had to firstly bake the tart shells, whip the ganache and make Chantilly cream, before assembling. In the bottom of the tart shell, I piped a fairly large layer of caramel, before being topped with the ganache. It was then time to place the caviar/guinea pig droppings/dead flies on top ;), before finishing with the Chantilly cream and some gold dust.

I’m going to have to say it – this is probably my least favourite bake yet (sorry Dominique). Although largely due to not being a fan of coffee, I also found the caviar too bitter for my liking (honestly feel like I’m betraying the pastry god right now). However, the tart shell was lovely and crisp and like always his caramel was TOP NOTCH.

NEXT UP: The Angry Egg (seems like Ansel is a big fan of Angry Birds)

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Lastly, THANKYOU for reading this, if I could I would adopt you (obviously not but you get the point ;)).

Kind Regards,

Woody ✨