Though Easter is not celebrated by everyone, it’s a festival that Time Out particularly enjoys because it usually involves chocolate, cakes and lots of sweet treats. Easter Sunday falls on April 24 this year, which means there’s plenty of time to concoct some home-made goodies. With this in mind, we caught up with Marie Wucher, pastry chef at STAY by Yannick Alléno at One&Only The Palm (which, incidentally, was highly commended at this year’s Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards), for some advice and tips on creating perfect Easter puddings.
Marie is in a privileged position of working at STAY’s unique pasty library, which sits prominently at one end of the opulent restaurant. ‘This unique concept aims to put pastry in the spotlight,’ she explains. ‘[This is] something that is very rare, as most restaurants tend to prepare pastry in the kitchen and keep it there until someone decides to order it.’
Marie explains that working in such an environment is very different to working in the main kitchen. ‘Pastry is all about details and precision,’ she reveals. ‘Everything is scaled, the process must be accomplished with skilful technique, whereby temperatures and timing are constantly checked and nothing is left to chance. The organisation of a pastry kitchen is very different to that of the main kitchen because pastry can be anticipated – much of the preparation is done before service. The plating of desserts consists of assembling the different components.’
Of course, Time Out is keen to steer the conversation towards chocolate, which, luckily for us, Marie is more than happy to talk about. It seems there’s more of an art to preparing chocolate-based dishes than we first imagined. ‘Working with chocolate requires some knowledge and experience,’ she says. ‘Depending on what you’re making, you’ll need to start by choosing the right chocolate because it requires particular care to get the best results. There are so many varieties of chocolate and the decision needs to be based on what you’re making. You can’t use the same chocolate for every recipe. At the moment we use eight different varieties of chocolate at One&Only The Palm.’
Marie is kind enough to talk us through a few chocolate recipes that she thinks would make a perfect conclusion for an Easter meal. But before we try our hand at creating these tasty concoctions, we ask her for a couple of pointers when preparing the recipe (opposite). ‘I’d suggest you sheet the dough a little thicker at the beginning to ensure the best results. When making the brûlée, don’t over-bake it – you need to ensure it has a smooth texture.’
Those who’d rather forego the effort of making their own Easter desserts can sample Marie’s creations at STAY – she will be preparing a special ‘Chocolate Easter Indulgence’ menu over the Easter period. She won’t say what exactly constitutes Chocolate Easter Indulgence, but promises that guests are in for a tasty surprise.
STAY by Yannick Alléno, One&Only The Palm (04 440 1010)
Vanilla, coffee and chocolate tart
Chocolate tart dough
100g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 medium egg
30g almond powder
250g flour 20g cocoa powder
1 Mix the soft butter and icing sugar together. Do not emulsify the mixture.
2 Add salt and fold in the eggs. Bit by bit, continue to fold in the almond powder, flour and cocoa powder. Once all the ingredients are well mixed, allow to rest for one hour.
3 Roll out the mixture to a thickness of 2mm. Butter a tart ring and place the pastry into the tin, making holes with a fork in the bottom.
4 Bake at 160°C/320°F for 12 minutes.
45g caraibe chocolate
2 egg yolks
1 Make a ganache with the cream, sugar and chocolate.
2 Add the egg yolks and allow it to cool.
3 Pour in the mixture until it is halfway up the tart shell. Bake at 85°C/185°F for 10 minutes.
Mascarpone coffee mousse
1g trablit (coffee extract)
10g coffee beans
1 Roast the coffee beans at 170°C for five minutes.
2 Heat the cream to 40°C and add the hot coffee beans. Store in the fridge for 24 hours.
3 Strain the cream and add the sugar and the trablit, then whip the cream.
4 Fold into the mascarpone and add it on top of the chocolate brûlée.
168g equatorial chocolate
24g raw sugar
1 Boil the cream, milk and sugar. Pour over the chocolate and mix together in a blender.
2 Store it in the fridge until it sets. To serve, sprinkle the top of the tart with cocoa. Slice the tart and plate. Serve the tart with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream.
More Easter offerings
Black forest rabbit cake
This bunny-shaped black forest cake is sprayed with velvet chocolate for maximum indulgence.
Dhs130. Rostang, Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626)
Butter and caramel Easter ‘egg’
This clever dessert boasts a ‘yolk’ of home-made dulce de leche, a ‘white’ butter cake and a ‘shell’ of valrhona white chocolate, served in a spun sugar nest.
Dhs35. Cavendish Restaurant, Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 356 0000)
Gateau aux trois chocolats
This gateau is a base of moist chocolate sponge with layers of dark, milk and white chocolate mousse, and will doubtless satisfy even the most passionate chocoholic. Available until April 25.
Price TBC. Paul, The Walk at JBR (04 437 6494)
This traditional tart, part of the restaurant’s Easter menu, is filled with ricotta cheese and orange zest, served with Galiano or custard sauce.
Easter set menu Dhs345. Ronda Locatelli, Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626)