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Chocolate Christmas Balls by Michel Willaume

December 5, 2014
Chocolate Christmas Balls by Michel Willaume
Michel Willaume
Light pistachio sponge, baba with green griotte syrup and whipped chocolate ganache inside a chocolate Christmas Ball


Chocolate Christmas balls are more than an appropriate sweet for the festive season. They can also be a tasty dessert that combines pistaccio, cherries and chocolate.

With this creation, Michel Willaume, World Champion Pastry Chef, exemplifies his pastry vision with his concept “Think Pastry”, which is simply the notion to gather the nearest elements in the workshop that one can integrate into one piece, which can then be developed into a stimulating and fruity creation.

Light pistachio sponge

  • 245 g whole green pistachios
  • 45 g pistachio paste
  • 200 g  sugar
  • 365 g  whole eggs
  • 100 g butter
  • 80g  egg whites
  • 50g sugar

Combine the pistachios, pistachio paste and sugar and blitz in a food processor, add the eggs and whip the mixture. Add the butter, melted to 45ºC. Separately, whip the egg whites together with the sugar. Gently combine both mixtures and spread in sheet pans. Bake at 180ºC for 20 to 25 minutes.

Baba dough

  • 35 g heavy cream, 35% fat
  • 60 g whole milk
  • 3 g salt
  • 15 g  sugar
  • 15 g  fresh yeast
  • 200 g  flour T55
  • 100 g whole eggs
  • 60 g butter

Combine the milk and cream and heat to 30ºC approximately. Whisk in the yeast, salt and sugar to dissolve. Add the sifted flour, three quarters of the eggs and knead slightly only. Add the remaining eggs and mix until fully incorporated. Melt the butter, pour over the dough and cover with a cloth without mixing. Place in a drying oven at 27-28ºC for about 20 minutes until the butter has been fully absorbed by the dough. Pour into the molds and bake at 200ºC for a few minutes so that they start to rise evenly. Then reduce the temperature to 170ºC for 12 to 15 minutes.

Griotte juice

Place 750 g of frozen griottes in a bowl and airtight-seal with some plastic wrap. Place in a bain marie and cook for about 2 hours until a considerable amount of juice is obtained. Pass through a chinois.

Detail of one of the Chocolate BallsGreen griotte syrup

  • 270 g water, bottled
  • 110 g sugar
  • 230 g griotte juice
  • 45 g  lemon juice
  • 5 g  fresh verbena

Combine the water, griotte juice, lemon juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Allow to infuse the fresh verbena in it for about 15 minutes and pass through a strainer. Reserve in the refrigerator.

Griotte compote

  • 300 g griotte purée
  • 150 g frozen griottes
  • 70 g glucose
  • 75 g  sugar
  • 9 g  pectin NH

Heat the purée and whole frozen griottes together with the glucose to 40ºC. Add the sugar previously mixed with the pectin. Bring to a boil and reserve in the refrigerator.

Whipped Tainori ganache

  • 225 g heavy cream, 35% fat
  • 25 g glucose
  • 25 g invert sugar
  • 200 g  Tainori chocolate, 64%
  • 450 g  heavy cream, 35% fat

Combine the cream, glucose and invert sugar and bring to a boil. Gradually pour this hot mixture over the melted chocolate while ensuring a correct emulsion with the help of a hand blender. Add the cold cream and allow to crystallize in the refrigerator overnight. Whip to the desired consistency when needed.

 Montage and finishing

Place the babas in a deep baking tray and soak in the syrup. After 10 minutes, turn the babas over and leave to soak in the syrup in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, drain very well before assembling. Place some sponge on the bottom of the chocolate hemispheres with some griotte compote. Top with a piece of baba and pipe the whipped Tainori ganache on top. Cover with another chocolate hemisphere. Garnish and place the balls on a round pistachio sponge.

Christmas Balls by Michel Willaume

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