Chocolate Leaves with Asbach Uralt-Poached Pears and Grapefruit-Lemon Quark Mousse

This is an elaborate recipe, but with a spectacular result with layers of exquisite flavors. Superb!
Course Dessert
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Leaves:

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet German chocolate chopped

For the Poached Pears:

  • 2 cups Gewürtztraminer
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Asbach Uralt
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 firm Bartlett pears peeled, halved, and cored

For the Grapefruit-Lemon Mousse:

  • 1-1/2 cups quark
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 egg whites

For the Raspberry Coulis:

  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 2-3 tablespoons superfine sugar

For the Presentation:

  • chopped pistachios for garnish
  • berries for garnish
  • mint for garnish

Instructions

For the Chocolate Leaves:

  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and with a palette knife, smooth to about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate until completely hardened, about 20 minutes. The chocolate may curl at the edges during the cooling process; this is normal.
  • Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Using a 2 1/2-inch x 2 1/2-inch square cutter, cut eight squares into the chocolate but do not remove the squares from the parchment. Place back in the refrigerator.

For the Poached Pears:

  • Cut a circle of parchment that is slightly smaller than the opening of the saucepan in which you will poach the pears. Cut a hole about 1 inch in diameter into the center of the parchment. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Place the parchment directly over the ingredients so that the pears stay completely submerged in the liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off heat and allow pears to infuse for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove parchment.

For the Grapefruit-Lemon Mousse:

  • By hand or in a stand mixture, mix together the quark, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, vanilla sugar, and salt. Combine the cornstarch with a bit of water to create a thick slurry. Dust the quark mixture with the confectioners' sugar and then gently mix it in by hand. Gently fold the cornstarch slurry into the quark mixture.
  • By hand or in a stand mixture, whip the cream to the stiff peak stage. By hand or in a stand mixture, whip the egg whites to the stiff peak stage. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the whipped cream. Gently fold this mixture into the quark mixture.

For the Raspberry Coulis:

  • Place the raspberries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor or blender and purée. Add more sugar if necessary, to taste. Pass the puréed berries through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the seeds. It may be necessary to add a little water to thin the coulis. Place in a fine-nozzled squeeze bottle and store refrigerated for up to 2 days.

For the Presentation:

  • Leaving the tops intact, slice the Poached Pears into fans and place on the center of each serving plate. Remove the chocolate leaves from the refrigerator and gently peel them from the parchment. Place one leaf atop each pear and cover with the mousse. Place a second square atop the mousse. Garnish with Raspberry Coulis, berries, and mint. Serve immediately.