The Finished Dish
Simply called "Chocolate" this dessert is a true celebration of the multiple forms, textures, and tastes this ingredient can take on. Let's start with the highest point: a toasted chocolate marshmallow. Its smokey, crispy crust and chewy chocolate center provide a synopsis of the whole dessert: though it looks beautiful and impressive, it's really a playground of texture. Underneath the marshmallow is a white chocolate cheesecake glazed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with malt powder. The cheesecake is so light and subtly flavored that it sits on the border between cheesecake and angel food cake. A decorative and snappy piece of chocolate divides the cheesecake from a small round of deeply flavored dark chocolate pudding. Atop the pudding is a butter-smooth chocolate ice cream and on either side of this are Oreo-like crumbles of dehydrated chocolate cake.
Here are just a fraction of the ingredients that go into Kymberli’s chocolate dessert.
Adding Gelatin to Pudding
One of the many chocolate elements on the plate, the dark chocolate pudding is a cooked mixture of sugar, cocoa powder, cocoa extract, cream, gelatin, and milk powder (which adds a slight malt flavor).
Pouring Pudding in the Vitamix
After all of the ingredients are dissolved in the saucepan, Kymberli adds the chocolate mixture to egg yolks in a Vitamix, which is essentially an extremely powerful blender. The eggs are actually cooked as they're blended, which produces an exceptionally smooth pudding and also makes for more yield since the pudding doesn't have to be strained when it's made this way.
When the mixture is done churning in the Vitamix, it has already taken on the thick texture of pudding. After a trip in the cooler to set, it's warmed back up and poured into these molds. These then remain in the cooler until service when they will be unmolded and plated.
Marshmallow Step One
A toasted chocolate marshmallow is the finishing touch to Kymberli's dessert. Here she heats up sugar, corn syrup, and honey to start the marshmallows.
Once the syrup heats to a specific temperature, it's slowly added to gelatin as the entire mixture gets whipped in a KitchenAid.
Kymberli adds chocolate liqueur and cocoa powder after the syrup and gelatin are combined and then allows the KitchenAid to continue running until the mixture cools enough to be poured out and set into marshmallows. Chocolate marshmallows can be very dense, so chocolate liqueur is added to help lighten them up.
Pam is truly a marshmallow's best friend. Kymberli pours the chocolate marshmallow into an oiled pan to set.
Usually freshly made marshmallows are dusted on top with powdered sugar and cornstarch, but Kymberli wants to retain the irregular waves of the marshmallow so she leaves the top undusted.
Valrhona Coeur de Guanaja, 80%
Pieces of 80% Valrhona dark chocolate are tempered to make a decorative and crispy piece of chocolate for the final dessert. Tempering is the process of melting chocolate, cooling it, and briefly heating it again, which adds shine to the final product and serves to strengthen the chocolate so instead of crumbling when broken, there's a distinctive snap.
After Kymberli melts the chocolate over a double boiler to a temperature dependent on the darkness of the chocolate, she cools it down by working with it on a marble slab for a minute or two.
After briefly heating it back up over a double boiler, the chocolate is now ready to be spread over acetate, or a thin piece of plastic. Once cooled, it will be snapped into irregular pieces to add both a decorative and textural element to the plate.
White Chocolate Cheesecake
Kymberli mentioned she doesn't like super rich desserts. This tendency shows in the lightness of her white chocolate cheesecake. It's an astute choice for this dessert where a denser, more typical cheesecake would be too heavy combined with all of the other chocolate elements.
The beautiful, shiny glaze for the cheesecake is used in a few other desserts at Storefront, so Kymberli had some already made that she threw into the Vitamix to loosen up before pouring it over the cheesecake.
One of the surprising keys to getting such a shiny glaze is cocoa powder.
Kymberli sprinkles malt powder over the chocolate-glazed cheesecake. The powder is simply malt, 70% dark chocolate, and maltodextrine, a powder derived from tapioca that can be used to powder-fy just about anything, including pepperoni.
One of the most exciting pieces of equipment in Storefront's kitchen is the Pacojet ice cream machine. It can turn a solid block of frozen base into a velvety airy ice cream in a matter of seconds. A blade attached to the underside of the machine moves down into the canister of frozen base and breaks up the ice crystals into miniscule bits, making for the smoothest ice cream known to man.
Chocolate Ice Cream
A previously rock-hard block of chocolate ice cream base is turned into a soft and easily scoopable ice cream after a trip in the Paco.
Storefront makes individual chocolate cakes for people celebrating their birthday at the restaurant. They also take these cakes and dehydrate them overnight, turning them into crunchy chocolate crumbles to add yet another textural element to the dessert.
Plating begins with the chocolate cheesecake. The round of dark chocolate pudding is unmolded and placed right beside it.
Adding Dehydrated Cake and Ice Cream
The crumbles of dehydrated cake are placed on either side of the pudding and a quenelle of chocolate ice cream is gently placed on top of the pudding.
A small square of chocolate marshmallow gets torched so it forms a delightfully crispy and smoky crust.
Kymberli breaks off a piece of the cooled sheet of chocolate and adds it between the cheesecake and ice cream.