I love going wild with flavours when it comes to special events in my family. That’s probably the only time my family is willing to try and be adventurous with their palates.
I’ve been hankering after those superb looking pear chips on top of a dessert/ cake / anything. Trust me, these chips are so addictive, it’s not even funny any more. Plus they are so easy to make. All you need is a mandolin (or really amazing knife skills to cut see through slices of pear), a microwave and of course a pear or two. One decent sized pear makes about 30 chips and all I needed to decorate this cake were three slices. The rest, I gladly ate without feeling even the slightest amount of disgrace. Oh c’mon its fruit, if anything, it is only healthy to munch on these. Trust me in a couple of years you would see packets of these healthy dried fruits on supermarket shelves in Mumbai.
How to make pear chips:
1.Slices the pear into thin slivers using a mandolin (or not).
2.Sprinkle with some brown sugar (Optional : I skipped this step)
3.Let it sit for a while so that the sugar can draw off all the moisture.
4.Place on a sheet pan that fits in your microwave.
5.Microwave on high power for 1 minute.
6.Check the progress. If it still feels quite wet, go for another minute.
7.Turn each slice over (be careful, they may get really hot)
8.Keep doing this and check the progress every minute to make sure the fruit doesn’t burn
9.It took me 4 and a half minutes to get one batch done.
What else have I used to decorate this cake?
Fondant flowers that are a no brainer. You may also use chocolate. I used my flower cutter to get those pretty flowers. Use them in the end to avoid any sticky mess.
Golden pearls that I bought from the very famous Arife.
Some roasted pistachios to add a hint of green and pink, also because my dad and I love pistachios.
A thin long portion of jelly hidden below those delectable pear chips.
Now let’s build the cake.
I’ve roguishly used a handsome amount of pistachios to make the sponge cum cookie. The idea was to attain the texture of a sable Breton and still have some cushion when you eat it without having to use any eggs.
Now, I am all about frowning at cakes without eggs, but considering that my family follows 4 vegetarian days a week, I am left with very little choice. So I took a regular cookie recipe and substituted 80% of the flour with pistachio meal and added 2 table spoons of curd and left out any leavening agents.
The result was a crumbly confection that was slightly crunchy on the outside and crumbly when you cut into it. Be very careful while handling this fragile object d’art, it’ll break in your hands and you won’t be able to do anything about it.
If you are concerned about how long it should be baked in the oven, just go for 5-6 more minutes after the toothpick comes out clean. The outside layer will crunch up as it cools. The insides will still remain moist due to the addition of curd.
Chill this layer well and as far as possible, don’t move it without complete support underneath.
Next was the apricot and grapefruit jelly. The apricot puree was slightly tangy and the grapefruit too. I used the zest and juice of half a grapefruit and sweetened it with a good amount of sugar. To set it, I used agar agar.
These two were enclosed in the softest blanket of pear mousse. Freshly crushed pears that are on the riper side cooked down with a little bit of cream and agar agar. I chilled this concoction and whipped it until it became all moussey.
I used the inverse assembly method to set this cake. That means I first cling wrapped the bottom of my ring mould and got rid of any creases that the plastic caused. Then I placed it on a flat tray and filled it with the pear mousse. (I left 1/4th of it in the bowl) Then I placed the jelly layer on it and covered that with the leftover mousse. Lastly came the cakookie. Haha. This was frozen for a couple of hours and unmoulded using a blow torch.
I used the other half of the grapefruit for the glaze. Squeezed and sieved out the juice and cooked it with sugar till it became all sticky. Another way to do this would be making a caramel and de-glazing it with the juice. (YUM)
Glaze the frozen cake carefully and decorate with leisure.
Let me know what you think about the flavour combinations used in this cake. Feel free to ask any questions..
Remember, I started this blog to troubleshoot and not to share recipes. Let’s keep it at that 🙂