Saturday, 15 February 2014

Delice Au Cassis

This Christmas I wanted to make something a little different for dessert to offer the family. After the usual extra large roast we all put on for Christmas, traditional Christmas pudding (although lovely) is rather heavy and can result in everyone feeling sickly stuffed. This Delice Au Cassis fits the bill perfectly. Not only does it act as the show stopper but it's very light to eat and tastes Divine. You only have to look at the list of ingredients to know it will taste great. 

In his book Deserts James Martin describes this desert as an advanced pastry but one of the best looking and tasting deserts in this book.  I'm not a very confident desert maker but I had tried this many years ago and remembered how well it turned out so I decided this was the one to end our Christmas feast.

Admittedly making this desert isn't the easiest of tasks to do and during it's construction I did curse myself for taking it on. I think I must have used every pot and pan, bowls, stand mixer and hand mixers I own and my poor partner was dragged into the process to help and constantly wash up but it was all worth it. It was a triumph and I will make it again but maybe not too soon...... 

This desert includes an Italian Meringue which is on a separate recipe page from the Delice Au Cassis. So for the benefit of people who don't have the book I will show in this blog how I did the whole desert. 

It's best to think of this desert in stages as its made up of layers. Fruit puree, fruit mousse, fruit glaze, Italian meringue, whipped cream. The only easy part is the base which calls for a ready made sponge Thank The Lord ! 

One change I did make was I used Blackberries instead of Blackcurrants as I had lots in the freezer from my allotment and this was the perfect way to use them up.

For the sugar syrup. 
375g Sugar
325ml Water
30g liquid glucose

For the Blackberry Puree. 
350g Blackcurrants 
50ml of the sugar syrup (already made) 

For the Italian Meringue. 
3 egg whites
80 ml of sugar syrup  ( already made )

For the Blackberry mousse. 
4 1/2 gelatine leaves and a bowl of cold water to soak them in
Blackberry puree - bar 4tbs from what you've already made
12g Powdered milk
1/2 Vanilla pod
3 Egg yolks
25g Caster sugar
Italian Meringue - from recipe above
200ml Creme De Cassis 
400ml Double cream

For the glaze
3 gelatine leaves - and a bowl of cold water to soak them in
50 ml of sugar syrup - (already made) 
3 tbsp Blackberry puree - already made

For the base.
Ready made sponge flan to fit a 25cm/ 10in flan ring ( 6cm / 2 1/2 in deep) 

Blackcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries for decorating. 

First thing make the sugar syrup which will be divided up into portions later in this recipe.

To make the syrup, place the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for about 3 minutes, skimming the surface if necessary. If using a saccharometer, the reading should be 30c Beaumé or 1.2624 on the density scale. Press the syrup through a conical strainer and leave until cold before using. 

Puree the Blackcurrants in the blender with 50ml of the syrup, then pass the puree through a conical strainer. 

Reserve 4tbsp of blackcurrant puree and set aside, this will be used for the glaze. 

Soak 4 1/2 gelatine leaves in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain. 

Put the rest of the puree in a saucepan with the powdered milk and vanilla pod; bring to the boil.

To make the mousse whisk the yolks and sugar in a bowl until they form a ribbon. Pour the boiling puree onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously, then pour back into the pan over a low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula until the mousse coats the spatula. Do not boil.

Remove from the heat and stir the drained gelatine into the mousse. Discard the vanilla, then strain the mousse into a bowl and leave to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming.

Place the sponge flan onto a serving plate. Place a 25cm flan ring, 6cm deep, onto the sponge and cut around to make the base. 

Mix together 50ml syrup and 1 tbsp puree and brush over the sponge. 

To make the Italian Meringue measure 80 ml of the syrup and reheat, when it reaches 110 C / 225 F on your thermometer start beating your egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff. When the sugar syrup has reached 121 C / 250 F take it off the heat. Your egg whites should now be well risen and firm. Set your mixer to its lowest speed and gently pour on the cooked sugar in a thin stream, taking care not to let it run onto the whisks. Continue to beat at a low speed until the mixture is almost completely cold - this will take around 15 minutes. The Meringue is now ready to use. 

When the mousse is lukewarm, gently fold in the meringue, then the creme de cassis.

Using a balloon whisk. Beat the double cream until it forms a ribbon. 

Using a spatular, gently fold the cream into the mixture.

Now assemble the dessert immediately, before the mouse sets. Fill the flan ring with the mousse, leaving a 3mm gap at the top. Smooth over the surface with a palette knife. Place in a freezer or very cold fridge for several hours.

To glaze, soak the remaining 3 gelatine in cold water for 15 minutes,then drain well. Mix 150ml syrup with the remaining puree and stir in the drained gelatine. Then pour the glaze on top of the desert. Quickly blowtorching the glaze removes any air bubbles and gives it a mirror like finish. Leave it to set in a fridge.


To remove the ring, heat the outside with a blow torch for a few seconds, then slide the ring up. Decorate with fruit to serve.

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  1. wow - I was looking at this very recipe in James' Martin's book and thinking I would love to give it a try, thanks for the step by step instructions

  2. Thank you , give it a go you won't be sorry. It's delcious :0)

  3. Is there a reason you use 3 eggwhites for the meringue, whereas Martin uses only one (and then even uses only half of the meringue)?

  4. Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your question. I have seen varied versions of this recipe on the internet. I followed James's recipe to the letter from his book "Deserts" the recipe calls for 1 quantity of italian meringue ( made with 3 egg whites, 180 g sugar, 5 tbs of water ) the recipe for this is on another page ( 35) to the actual recipe for the Delice Au Cassis. I actually refer to this in the description. Hope this answers your question .

  5. Thanks for your answer! I looked up the original (or what I thought was original) recipe on BBC-food, and there it says to make meringue using only 1 egg white, and use only half of it, which seems very little to me, considering the rest of the ingredients.. I'm going to stick with your version (also by using blackcurrants by the way, I couldn't find frozen (or fresh) blackberries and I love the colour of your version) Thanks again!

  6. Just wondering if you changed the quantities of blackberries you used versus blackcurrants? Sometimes the different juice contents in fruits can affect the texture so I'm a bit wary of substituting (but blackcurrants aren't in season so if blackberries worked for you I'll give it a go!)

  7. Hi Leona so sorry for my late reply but I did not see a notification for your question and stumbled upon it just now by chance. Any way no I did not change the quantities, I can't say if the texture would be different to blackberries but I doubt very much if there would be? as I have always made it using them and not with Blackcurrants, probably because they are never in season when I've made it plus I have an allotment and always have a massive glut of them so I freeze loads of them. Hope you did give it a go ?