Long before he ever conceived of the viral dessert of our times, the cronut, Dominque Ansel had planned a series of pastry collaborations with six of his favorite pastry chefs. Every two weeks for the next 12 weeks, the bakery will sell a special pastry developed in tandem with one of the following highly accomplished pastry chefs: Michael Laiskonis, Johnny Iuzzini, Francisco Migoya, Sherry Yard, and from Paris Christophe Michalak and Christophe Adam. First up and currently on sale until June 6th is the Michael Laiskonis collaboration, "couronne" ($6.50) with ginger caramel, dark chocolate parfait and orange mousse.
This is one of the most refined sweets I've seen come out of Ansel's shop. The tiny pastry starts with one of Ansel's signature crumbly-textured chocolate pastry shells that's filled with a pool of ginger-infused caramel. The ginger flavor in the caramel is very pronounced, but not too acidic or spicy. "We used a cold infusion of blanched ginger to get the exact flavor we were looking for," said Dominique Ansel Bakery Executive Sous Chef, Ann McGorman. "We also tried a number of different flavors for the mousse before settling on orange."
Just inside the edges of the shell is a ring of light chocolate mousse. And on top is a cluster of small mousse cubes that are dead ringers for a creamsicle. Though the cubes are referred to as mousse, their texture is really a cross between a mousse and a marshmallow. And they wobble like squares of Jell-O, adding a bit of fun to the dessert.
To make the presentation more striking, especially for a pastry that's not made to order in a restaurant kitchen, a thin layer of shiny chocolate glaçage covers the bottom half of the dessert. And the final artistic touch is a disc of dark chocolate with cutouts, gold leaf, and dots of caramel that sits on top. A hole in middle allows the orange cubes to poke through.
Look for a feature about the rest of the six specialty desserts and pastry chefs soon.