There's little around the house that remind me that Christmas is coming as well as the sign of my poinsettias beginning to bloom. Around mid-Spring their leaves begin to turn red, reminding us that December is not far away. Despite their traditional use in Christmas floral displays, the brightness of the red remind me of everything I love visually about the festive season. Red is my favourite colour. I love it's vibrancy, it's warmth and its festivity. While my Christmas tree decorations are always blue and silver, but my place settings are always red and gold. Red reminds me of time with family and loved ones, sharing joyful conversation over good food.
It wouldn't be Christmas without poinsettias. It wouldn't be Christmas dessert without edible poinsettias.
Right next to poinsettias as inherently Christmas for me is peppermint. Rather than opting for a chocolate joconde, I decided to make this one in the image of the peppermint candy. The décor paste is also flavoured with a little peppermint essence
The poinsettia leaves are made with coloured white chocolate. You could use pre-coloured chocolate melts, or colour normal white chocolate as I did. If colouring your own white chocolate, be sure to use powdered food colouring. Anything else runs the risk of making the chocolate seize, especially when colouring the chocolate a vibrant colour such as red.
To make the leaves, I simply painted the chocolate onto the back of a rose leaf, let it set, then peeled off the leaf. You could use poinsettia leaves if you want a more realistic look. We have 4 standard roses in the garden, so rose leaves are way more abundant than my pot of poinsettias.
We had these for dessert after a hearty roast. It felt like Christmas was here already.
Inside is my triple chocolate ripple joconde recipe, only this time made individual. I left the cream white this time to provide some contrast and again hark back to the white stripes of the peppermint candy. The cream still has peppermint crisp folded through it — after a day or two in the fridge the flavour really infuses through the whole cake, providing a subtle but irresistible flavour enhancement. This dessert was very short lived.
If you need help with making the joconde imprime, I've posted a step-by-step tutorial over at this entry. If you're a bit more confident, let's jump straight into the recipe
Poinsettia Chocolate Ripple Jocondes
Chocolate Ripple Cake
1 packet of Arnott's chocolate ripple biscuits
150ml thickened cream
1 peppermint crisp bar, finely grated
1/2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g icing sugar
100g egg whites (approximately 3 large eggs), reserve egg yolks
110g cake flour
red food colourin
45g egg white (approximately 1 large egg), reserve egg yolk
5g caster sugar
40g almond meal
40g icing sugar
15g cake flour
15 unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp powdered gelatin
1/2 tbsp tepid water
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
90g milk or dark chocolate, chopped
150ml thickened cream
100g dark chocolate, chopped
10g butter, chopped
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add egg whites a little at a time, beating continuously. Fold in sifted flour, then tint red.
- Spread a thin layer of paste (around 5mm thick) onto a silicon baking mat (mine is 26 x 40cm). Pattern your paste as desired; freeze.
- Preheat oven to 250°C (475°F)
- Whip the egg white and caster sugar to firm, glossy peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, sift almond flour, icing sugar and cake flour together. Gradually beat in reserved egg yolks. If mixture appears too loose, beat in an extra whole egg
- Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the batter, then fold in the rest until just combined. Fold in melted butter.
- Ensure your décor paste has set. If it is not solid, the pattern may shift. Once the paste is solid enough, pour sponge mixture over the top and spread evenly.
- Bake in preheated oven for approximately 8 minutes. The sponge will cook very quickly, so keep a good eye on it. Sponge is baked when it bounces back when touched lightly.
- Remove from oven and cool slightly. Invert cake onto baking paper (so your pattern is facing upwards) that has been dusted with cornflour or icing sugar; remove silicon mat. Once completely cool, cut away burnt/dry edges. Measure the height of your chocolate ripple cake, then cut the joconde into strips approximately 1cm taller
Chocolate Ripple Cake
- Combine all ingredients except the biscuits in a bowl. Whip the cream to soft peaks
- Use the cream to sandwich the biscuits together end-on-end to form a miniature log cake. Stack enough biscuits so that your cake is 2-3 cm shorter than your final cake will be. Repeat to create 4 small log cakes.
- Place gelatine and water in a heatproof glass and stand in a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until mixture becomes clear; set aside.
- Heat milk until warm (a minute in the microwave will do it); pour in gelatine and stir
- Put chopped chocolate into a bowl; pour milk/gelatine mixture over the chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted
- Whip cream to soft peaks. Fold 1/3 of cream mixture into the mouse to lighten; fold in the rest of the cream in two batches until just combined
- Line 4 ring moulds with baking paper, acetate, or plastic wrap
- Cut 4 lengths of joconde sponge to fit inside your moulds, then carefully line your moulds with the sponge
- If you have remaining sponge, cut 4 rounds large enough to fit inside your joconde (to the base), then push them inside the mould until it lies flat at the bottom.
- Place your chocolate ripple log cakes inside the mould now lined with joconde sponge. Ensure it is centered, then pour enough chocolate mousse into the mould to fill the remaining space. Chill cakes in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just boiling. Pour this over the dark chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Stir in butter.
- Pour the ganache little by little over the top of your cake, making sure it spreads to the edges. Be careful not to pour so much that it will spill over the edges of your cake
- Decorate with chocolate leaves
Printable version of the recipe here.