Chocolate, orange, and cream: some combinations are just classic. So much so that not even our playful additions—hazelnuts, coriander, cardamom, salt—make a dent on this idyllic combination.
For a quick and fun alternative to the spicy hazelnuts, a line of popping candy can be used instead. It’s a delight to watch people’s faces as they are taken by the surprise of little balls exploding in their mouths.
If you want a restaurant-style extra, shape the chocolate into quenelles, rather than just spooning it onto the plate. The term describes the three-sided oval shape that results from smoothing a mixture between two tablespoons that have been dipped in hot water. Scooping up, then passing the mixture between two spoons like this, scraping the sides as you do, results in something that looks like a little rugby ball. It’s a nice touch, but don’t worry if you’re not feeling cheffy: it’s certainly not essential to the dish.
Either way, you’ll need to start a day ahead for the chocolate to set in the fridge. You’ll have a little of the chocolate pudding left over, which can be saved as a snack to have with coffee or served warm with some ice cream.
Reprinted with permission from NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
9 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids), broken into 3/4-inch pieces
2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch dice, plus extra for greasing the dish
1 large egg, plus 3 egg yolks
5 tablespoons superfine sugar
Coarse sea salt, to serve
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
8 cardamom pods
3/4 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 1/2 ounces hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed and roughly chopped
10 1/2 ounces crème fraÎche
2 1/2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Make the chocolate ganache: place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan half full of simmering water. Take care that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Keep on the heat for about 5 minutes, stirring and folding the mixture every now and then, until the chocolate is melted and shiny. Remove from the heat and set aside until completely cool.
Place the egg, egg yolks, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk for 5 to 6 minutes, until thick, light, and foamy. In stages using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the egg into the chocolate by hand, taking care not to overwork the mixture, then transfer to a lightly greased and parchment-lined 8 1/2 x 3 inch loaf pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the surface is opaque but the middle has a slight wobble. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate until set, preferably overnight. You don’t want it to be too firm when serving, so remove it from the fridge 2 hours before serving.
Make the spice mix: place the coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cardamom pods in a frying pan and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle and grind until completely fine. Transfer to a medium bowl, mix in the sugar and hazelnuts and set aside.
Mix together the crème fraÎche and confectioners’ sugar and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Make the orange oil: mix together the orange zest and olive oil and set aside.
To serve, arrange the hazelnut spice mix in a straight line down the middle of 8 plates. Scoop a tablespoon-sized portion of the chocolate ganache onto each plate (dipping the spoon in hot water will help keep things neat) and place on an angle across the nuts. Place a spoonful of crème fraÎche next to the chocolate and drizzle the orange oil on top. Finish with a tiny pinch of salt and serve at once.