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Chocolatier and judge on Netflix's "Nailed It" Jacques Torres shares his go-to chocolate and phyllo dessert to "wow" dinner guests.
"In French, fontaine means fountain. When I created these, I imagined the chocolate oozing out, like water rushing out of a fountain. The combination of raspberries and chocolate is a popular one, the bittersweet chocolate balancing the strong flavor of the raspberries. This dessert is filled with contrasts: warm/cold, acid/sweet, crunchy/smooth. The delicate crisp phyllo dough triangles create an architectural quality, giving the dessert an elegant height. It will be easiest if you make the ganache a few hours in advance and let it cool at room temperature. If you put it in the refrigerator to cool, it will become too hard." —Jacques
Pro Tips from Jacques: Always store phyllo dough thoroughly wrapped in the refrigerator to keep it from drying. If it dries, you will have to throw it away. Meanwhile, if the phyllo is frozen, you will not be able to separate the layers. Let it thaw, covered, at room temperature. If it comes rolled up, you will want to lay it flat. If you have any slight tears in a layer, you can still use it by "gluing" it together with butter. If you tear a layer beyond repair, just throw it away.
For more sweet recipes from Jacques Torres, check out his Chocolate Chip Cookies and Homemade Chocolate Turtles with Pecans + Chocolate.
For the ganache, heat the heavy cream in a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size mixing bowl. Make a ganache by pouring the hot cream over the chocolate and letting it sit for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate, then slowly whisking until smooth and homogenous. Pour the ganache onto a clean baking sheet to allow it to cool. As it cools, it will begin to set and thicken.
For the cake, set aside until ready to use.
For the raspberry syrup, place the sugar and water in a nonreactive 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. The sugar should completely dissolve. Add the raspberries and return to a boil. As the mixture boils, whisk thoroughly to break up the raspberries and allow them to release their juices. This will cause the syrup to turn red. Remove from the heat.
Prepare an ice bath and strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-size bowl placed in it. Discard the seeds and any pulp. When the syrup is cool, add the framboise liqueur. (If added when the syrup is hot, the alcohol will evaporate.) Store the syrup in a squeeze bottle or a bowl covered with plastic wrap until ready to use.
To assemble the fontaines, slice the pound cake in ¾-inch-thick slices, then use a 2-inch fluted round cutter to cut 12 small circles from the pound cake. Keep the cuts as close together as possible to avoid waste. Line the circles up in rows on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and soak evenly with the raspberry syrup.
When the ganache has cooled to the consistency of toothpaste, scrape it into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip and top each cake circle with a layer of ganache. (I use a pastry bag because it is a clean, easy way to add the layer of ganache.) Or use a tablespoon for a dollop of ganache. Place 6 raspberries on top of each ganache layer and press gently to anchor them in the chocolate. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 15 minutes to allow the ganache to harden slightly.
Lay one sheet of the phyllo on your work surface. Keep the remaining phyllo dough covered with a clean kitchen cloth to keep it from drying. Use a pastry brush to spread about 2 tablespoons of the melted butter over the entire surface of the phyllo sheet. It will be easier if you start by brushing a line of butter lengthwise down the center and then fill in by brushing top to bottom from the center toward the edges. Be sure to brush all the way to the edges, where the phyllo is the driest.
Place the powdered sugar in a fine-mesh sieve and liberally sprinkle the buttered phyllo sheet with it. Cover with a second sheet of phyllo and repeat with more butter and powdered sugar. Use a sharp paring knife to cut the doubled phyllo sheets in half from top to bottom and then from left to right. Place one raspberry ganache cake in the center of each section of phyllo. Fold each side of the phyllo over each cake and tuck under the edges.
Lightly brush the tops with melted butter and place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Repeat these steps using four more phyllo sheets, until all of the cakes are wrapped. (At this stage, the fontaines can be stored in the refrigerator for a few hours or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks if well wrapped in plastic wrap; to thaw, place in the refrigerator for an hour before baking.)
To make the phyllo garnish (you should have the garnish ready before you bake the fontaines): Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay 1 of the remaining sheets of phyllo dough on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to spread about 2 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the entire surface of the phyllo sheet, making sure to brush all the way to the edges.
Using the fine-mesh sieve, liberally sprinkle the powdered sugar over the buttered phyllo. Cover with the remaining phyllo sheet and repeat with more butter and sugar. Use a sharp paring knife to cut the doubled phyllo in half lengthwise. Make diagonal cuts from the top to the bottom of each half to create thin elongated triangles (1½ inches at the base and 4 inches tall). Bake until evenly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stay at the oven and watch these carefully, because they burn very quickly after they brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. (Leave the oven on.)
Use a small offset spatula or knife to loosen the triangles from the parchment paper once they have cooled. Be gentle—they are extremely fragile.
To bake the fontaines, place them on a baking sheet and bake until the phyllo wrapping begins to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. While these are baking, you can decorate the plates. You will need 6 phyllo triangles for each serving. Place three triangles in a circle in the center of each plate with the tips toward the edge. Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag filled with a ¼-inch star tip. Pipe a dollop (or rosette) of whipped cream between each triangle and top each dollop with a raspberry.
Remove the fontaines from the oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and center each on a plate, on top of the triangles. Stand three triangles on end to form a tower over each centered fontaine, using the raspberries to help support the triangles. Serve immediately.