White Chocolate Hazelnut Fraisier
CRISPY HAZELNUT CRUST:
OVEN-TOASTED RICE CEREAL,
SUCH AS RICE KRISPIE
WHITE CHOC HAZELNUT FILLING:
1/4 cup HAZELNUT LIQUEUR -- SUCH AS
1 package UNFLAVORED POWDERED GELATIN
12 ounces WHITE CHOCOLATE -- COARSELY
1 cup MILK
2 teaspoons VANILLA EXTRACT
1 1/2 cups HEAVY CREAM
2 pints FRESH STRAWBERRIES -- STEMMED
WHITE CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
4 ounces WHITE CHOCOLATE -- COARSELY
1/4 cup PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS HEAVY -- CREAM
1 tablespoon LIGHT CORN SYRUP
GARNISH: WHIPPED CREAM
Make the hazelnut crust:
Lightly butter the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Place the rice cereal and the toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Process the mixture for 25 to 30 seconds, until finely ground. Transfer the cereal/nut mixture to a medium bowl.
Melt the white chocolate according to the directions in the Chocolate Key. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the melted chocolate into the cereal mixture in the bowl. Stir the mixture until combined; scrape it into the prepared pan. Press the cereal mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator.
Make the white chocolate hazelnut filling:
Place the hazelnut liqueur in a small, heatproof cup. Sprinkle the gelatin over the liqueur and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Place the cup with the softened gelatin in a small pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the cup.
Heat the gelatin mixture in hot, not simmering, water. Stir the gelatin frequently for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the gelatin granules dissolve completely and the mixture is clear. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the cup in the water to keep the gelatin mixture warm until ready to use.
Place the white chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Add the warm gelatin mixture and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
Place the bowl over a larger bowl of ice water and stir for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is cool.
In a chilled medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream at medium speed until it begins to form soft mounds . Do not overbeat or the mousse will be grainy. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Set the mousse aside at room temperature.
Assemble the cake:
Remove the prepared springform pan from the refrigerator. Slice a strawberry in half lengthwise. Arrange the two halves next to each other, stem-side-down with the cut side against the side of the pan.
Continue to cut strawberries and fill in the border of the pan, cutting only as many strawberries as needed. Fill in the center of the pan with whole strawberries, placing them stem-side-down and using as many as needed. Reserve the remaining strawberries for garnish.
Carefully scrape the white chocolate mousse over the strawberries.
Using a small metal spatula, smooth the top of the mousse so that it is even.
Refrigerate the cake for four hours, until the mousse is firm.
(Do not refrigerate the cake for longer than 6 hours, as the strawberries will release water and cause the cake to collapse when sliced.) Make the white chocolate glaze:
Melt the white chocolate according to the directions in the Chocolate Key; set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a gentle boil. Stir the hot cream into the melted chocolate until smooth.
Glaze and garnish the cake:
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Pour the white chocolate glaze evenly over the top of the cake, covering it completely. Return the cake to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the glaze.
To unmold the cake, carefully run a small, hot knife around the edge of the pan. Undo the clasp on the springform pan and remove the side of the pan. Garnish the top of the cake with the remaining strawberries, sliced, and rosettes of whipped cream.
- Tish Boyle