Are you a foodie fan looking to add an extra layer of sweetness to your Valentine's day menu? Why not try upping your game with some exquisite variations on tradition themes? Two of our top pastry chefs, Julien Boutonnet from EHL Lausanne and Lars Hellenbrand from EHL Passugg, have submitted elegant alternatives to the classic toffee apple and the Swiss nut tart. Surely an impressive and memorable way to show love to those dear to you!
Julien Boutonnet is a Senior Lecturer Practical Arts teaching pastry and dessert courses at EHL. He earned France’s top distinction, the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) award for pastry and desserts in 2015. His passion for pastries has earned him numerous awards: Runner-up as best apprentice in France (2000), the Pascal Caffet award (2004), European Championships of Sugar runner-up (2005) and the Charles Proust award (2006).
Julien wanted to make a tradition sweet treat with a twist in celebration of this year's St Valentine's Day.
"The idea comes from the famous "Toffee Apple" coated with red caramelized sugar that everyone knows as the love apple! I wanted to revisit this great classic with a healthier version. This small dessert is made with caramelized apples in a tatin style, a crispy granola shortbread, a biscuit with almonds and caramel pieces, and an airy Tonka bean cream."
- 29g oat flakes
- 12g chia seeds
- 38g chopped almonds
- 12g chopped pistachios
- 12g dried apples
- 12g honey
- 11g maple syrup
- 10g glucose syrup
- 8g coconut oil
- 8g cocoa butter
- 37g soft butter
- 13g sifted icing sugar
- 0.2g salt
- 29g flour
- 4g corn flour
- 126g basic granola
Almond Dacquoise sponge
- 53g whipped egg whites
- 1g powdered egg whites
- 42g caster sugar
- 1g fine salt
- 42g ground almonds
- 21g caramel powder
- 21g all-purpose flour (T 55)
- 21g boiling cream
- 21g egg yolks
- 240g Golden Delicious apples
- 1g grated Tonka bean
- 4g gelatine mix
- 476g Golden Delicious apples
- 119g caramel powder
Tonka bean cream
- 31g whipped egg whites
- 24g caster sugar
- 78g milk
- 78g cream
- 0.88g grated tonka bean
- 16g caster sugar
- 83g egg yolks
- 23g gelantine mix
- 182g whipped cream
For the Granola:
- In a pan, add the honey, syrups, coconut fat and cocoa butter, and bring to gentle boil.
- Assemble the rest of the ingredients on a tray and pour the hot mixture on top.
- Bake at 145°C for 5 minutes.
- Mix all the ingredients well and bake again for another 5 minutes.
For the Granola shortbread:
- Mix together the butter, sugar and salt.
- Add the flours and mix well.
- Incorporate the cooked and basic cold granola.
- Press into a 100g ring.
- Bake at 145°C for 5 mins. Press down and bake again for 10 mins.
For the Almond Daquoise sponge:
- Whip the egg whites with the sugar, salt & powedered egg whites into stiff peaks.
- Boil the cream and pour onto the dry ingredients. Then add the egg yolks.
- Gradually add half of the meringue mixture into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the remaining other half of the meringue. Mix well.
- Spread into a ring measuring D16cms and bake at 190°C for approx 6 mins.
For the apple compote:
- Peel, gut and roughly cut the apples. Cook in water and blend.
- Weigh them to make sure they come up to 200g.
- Add the gelatine and grated Tonka. Mix well.
- Peel the apples and cut them into eighths.
- Place the 8 pieces & the powdered caramel into a vacuum-sealed bag.
- Cook 'sous-vide' with the steam set at 83°C for 1 hour.
- Press out any excess liquid before using.
For the Tonka cream:
- Whip the eggs whites with the sugar (meringue base).
- Mix the egg yolks & 1st dose of sugar.
- For the custard: add the milk to the cream, followed by the grated Tonka, the egg yolks & sugar, and cook at 83°C.
- Add in the gelatine and leave to cool.
- Add the whipped cream to the custard mixture.
- Mix everything into the meringue base.
Engadine nut cake «deconstructed» with pear sorbet and liquorice foam
Since 2015, Lars Hellenbrand has been working at the Swiss School for Tourism and Hotel Industry in Passugg as a production manager, specialist teacher and head pastry chef. For over 18 years he worked as a pastry chef in top gastronomy and hotel business. "My great passion for chocolate and my love of detail have been recognized in competitions and specific courses and workshops, such as at the “Salon du chocolat” in Zurich."
The famous Engadine nut cake ("Bündner Nusstorte") dates back to around 1850 and is the most sold culinary souvenir of the Swiss Grison region. In this ambitious variation, Lars has deconstructed each section of the cake and given it a modern twist, along with the additon of fresh pear sorbet and liquorice foam.
0.5g vanilla pod
50g butter (cold and cubed)
60g gound almonds
1/4 vanilla pod
1g ground cinnamon
500g pear puree
30g lemon juice
White wine pear
4-6 Williams pears
1L white wine (or apple juice)
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 vanilla pod
3 star anise
Peel and juice of 1 lemon or orange
50g brown cane sugar
25g ground coconut
25g rum raisins
40g chopped dried fruit
25g chopped hazlenuts
5g baking powder
5g grated liquorice
2g lecite texturas
For the caramelized walnuts
- In the oven, lighty roast the walnuts.
- Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrap out the contents with a knife.
- Heat the cream in a pan.
- In a separate pan, slowly caramelize the sugar, then add the hot cream, butter, honey and vanilla.
- Simmer on a low heat until the caramel has dissolved and reduced.
- Add the warm walnuts and mix well with a spatula until everything is covered.
For the butter crumble
- Knead all the ingredients into loose crumbles, then place in fridge to cool down.
- Bake in oven at 170°C until golden.
For the pear sorbet
- Boil the sugar, glucose, water & lemon juice.
- Add to the pear puree and freeze.
For the caramel sauce
- Slowly caramelize the sugar. Then add the cream, butter and salt.
- Simmer on a low heat until the caramel dissolves and runs smoothly.
For the caramel-pear foam
- In a Pacojet food processor, place half the caramel sauce with 2 poached white wine pears and softly blend.
For the white wine pear
- Heat all the ingredients for the stock, and add the quartered pears until soft enough to be poked with a skewer.
- Leave to steep, covered with a lid.
For the pear chips
- Halve a pear and cut into thin, even slices.
- Steep the slices for a short time in the warm stock, shake off access liquid and place them on a silpat sheet.
- Bake in the oven at 60-70°C for a few hours, turning them over from time to time.
For the fruit-crunch cookie
- Mix the butter and sugar together. Add the egg.
- Carefully knead in the rest of the ingredients. Then leave to rest for 30 mins.
- Form balls of dough, place on parchment paper/silpat and bake at 170°C until golden.
For the liquorice foam
- Heat all ingredients in a pan and leave to steep.
- Beat with an electric whisk, skim the foam and plate.
For the plating
- Place the caramel-pear foam on the plate and with a stick make a star-shaped form.
- Place the baked half-round fruit crunch cookie on the foam.
- Randomly place the caramelized walnuts and caramel sauce and add the baked crumble.
- Arrange the poached pear quarters and the dried pear chips.
- Place a quenelle (rugby ball shape) of the pear sorbet in the middle and add the liquorice foam.