These were initially quite serious little mousse cakes until I realised that being red and domed they’d be perfect candidates for a Christmas makeover. They protested a bit (ooh la la we don’t want to dress up as hats) but then got into the seasonal spirit and started singing Christmas carols in the fridge (no, not really). They’re based on Pepe Rodriguez‘s cherry dessert which he designed as one of the judges for Spain’s Masterchef Junior – yes, kids have made them and so can we! Ahem. Anyway Pepe Rodriguez also has a 1-star Michelin restaurant in Llesca and is the designated November chef proposed by the lovely Cooking the Chef group. I love their challenges where you discover new chefs, other members’ recipes and go down previously unexplored baking paths. This chef’s original dessert caught my eye with its cherry purée mirror glaze and a mousse involving natural greek yoghurt. Yay! My adaptations also have reduced sugar, some ruby chocolate and superfood skyr in the mousse, sour cherry inserts and optionally gluten-free matcha green tea soft biscuit bases. You can make them cherry-shaped with a matcha leaf and chocolate stalk or as festive hats lined with easy homemade kirsch marshmallow. The glaze can be spiked with kirsch. But these little santa hat mousse cakes – aka cherry-matcha entremets – actually feel so healthy and light you might wonder if you’ve eaten a dessert at all! A light, subtle, not very sweet Japanese-style version of Pepe’s original cakes, they’re delicious, fun and very do-able. Voilà! My little cherries-stroke-hats… 🙂
Dressed up as cherries…
They’re a versatile bunch of dome cakes.
I’ve generally reduced the sugar after disappointing experiences with very sweet shop-bought mousse cakes (Japanese ones excepted).
Mousse. White chocolate is pretty sweet so I replaced half with tangier fruity ruby chocolate – an exciting newly-invented natural ‘fourth chocolate’ (see the inventor Barry Callebaut’s ruby chocolate article here). And I used Cocoa Barry’s lovely not so sweet Zephyr white chocolate. The cream cheese or greek yoghurt is replaced with healthy low-calorie tangy skyr (from Lidl) to help in the good fight against too much sweetness.
Fruit insert and glaze. The low-sugar sour cherry inserts add more fruitiness and optional kirsch cherry liqueur gives the glaze an extra kick. Of course you can substitute the cherry with other fruit like strawberries or raspberries.
Biscuit bases. You can make the original pistachio bases but I opted for lower sugar gluten-free pleasant slightly bitter soft green tea ones (and leaves). The green base on Santa’s hat is a bit ‘original’ – for a more neutral colour and flavour replace the matcha with flour.
Marshmallow. This is surprisingly light and not too sweet! A quick substitute could be piped whipped cream.
As usual you can play with the elements.
THE RECIPE – for 6 dome cakes
These are adapted from Pepe Rodriguez’s original recipe – here in Spanish: ‘Cremoso de yogur griego y chocolate blanco con glaseado de cereza’.
- 1 set of Lekué 6 cavities semi-sphere multi cavity baking mold, red (7cm diametre) or similar moulds
- 1 mould for the cherry inserts (I used silikomart SF013) or any suitable insert mould
- Pastry cutter (or glass) – 7 to 7.5cm diametre
- DAY 1 – cherry inserts (5-10 mins work), freeze overnight.
- DAY 2 – mousse domes (20 mins work), freeze overnight and matcha pastry ball (10 mins work), refrigerate overnight.
- DAY 3 – bake matcha bases (10-15 mins work, 6 mins baking), make marshmallow (20 mins waiting for gelatine to hydrate, 10-15 mins work, 1 hour drying), make glaze (10 mins work, 30 mins or longer thickening) and assemble (20-30 mins work).
Note: can be made over 2 days if inserts are frozen 4 hours in the morning (of Day 2). Or make all the elements spread over 1 or 2 weeks in advance.
Sour cherry inserts
- 175g/ml sour cherry purée
- 15g/2 tsp pure maple syrup or sugar, to taste (if using Capfruit purée that includes sugar: 190g purée and omit the maple syrup/sugar)
- 5g (2 and 1/2 sheets or with small Dr Oetker: 3 sheets) gelatine leaves
- about 10 sour cherries (from a can/jar) – optional
- Cover gelatine in water to soak and soften 10 minutes.
- Gently bring purée and maple syrup to boil in a small heavy-based saucepan.
- Squeeze water out of gelatine leaves then add to purée and whisk well to combine.
- Allow to cool 5 minutes then pour the liquid to fill 6 of the cavities in the insert mould.
- Cut sour cherries into quarters and place a few pieces in the other 6 cavities in the mould – fill to the top with the liquid.
- Freeze overnight or 4 hours minimum.
DAY 2 – in the evening
- 80g/1/3 cup natural unsweetened skyr (or cream cheese, like Philadelphia)
- 75g/1/3 cup + 1 tsp natural unsweetened greek yoghurt (or cream cheese if you want a more cheesecake-like texture)
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract, to taste
- 3g (1 and 1/2 sheets or if small Dr Oetker ones: 2 sheets) gelatine sheets (leaves)
- 30g/ml sour cherry juice (or milk)
- 61g/2.1oz white chocolate (not too sweet, like Barry Zephyr white)
- 61g/2.1oz ruby chocolate (or white chocolate)
- 90g/ml whipping cream (35%)
- When the mousse is made immediately fill 3/4 of the semi-sphere moulds. Save a little mousse.
- Join two frozen inserts (one half plain jelly and the other with cherries facing downwards). Trim with a sharp knife if necessary to join.
- Push the insert down a little into the mousse (not to the bottom) and scrape across with offset metal spatula knife or butter knife.
- Cover over gaps with the blobs of saved mousse then gently scrape a small or large metal spatula knife across the top to smooth evenly.
- Freeze overnight.
Matcha bases pastry
- 90g/3/4 cup glutenfree flour (I used Doves Farm self-raising gf flour) or plain/all-purpose flour
- 30g/1/4 cup ground almonds
- 25g/3 tbsp icing sugar (powdered)
- 7g/3tsp matcha green tea powder
- 1 egg yolk (18 to 20g)
- 10g/1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup or runny honey (or sugar)
- 60g/4 tbsp good-quality French-style unsalted butter, like le Président
DAY 3 – next morning…
The leaves are made with thinner pastry.
Allow to cool before assembling.
Marshmallow (for Santa hats)
- 9.5g/3 and 1/8 tsp powdered gelatine
- 50g/ml very cold water
- 60g egg whites (2 small eggs) at room temperature
- 17g/3 and 1/2 tsp caster/superfine sugar
- 165g/3/4 cup caster/superfine sugar
- 50g/ml water
- 35g/1 and 1/2 tbsp + 1/3 tsp glucose syrup (a digital weighing scale makes life easier)
- 10g/2 tsp Kirsch cherry liqueur, optional
I like to wait 30 minutes to an hour, when the marshmallow is set but moist so it sticks to the domes.
Sour cherry glaze
To avoid waste, the quantities given cover 6 domes if you scrape glaze that dripped below back into the bowl. For a simple faster process double the quantities and save leftover glaze in the fridge for next time.
- 4g (2 sheets) gelatine leaves (2.5 sheets for small Dr Oetker ones)
- 115g/ml sour cherry purée (if using Capfruit purée then 125g/ml and omit the icing sugar)
- 7g/2 and 3/4 tsp icing (powwdered) sugar
- 7g/1 tsp inverted sugar or runny honey
- 4g/scant tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 10g/2tsp Kirsch cherry liqueur, optional
You can pass the glaze through a sieve if needed.
- An hour or more before assembling unmould the mousse domes and return to freezer on a tray.
- Set up a wire rack on a baking tray with an offset metal spatula and ladle handy. Set out matcha biscuits on a plate or mini cake bases.
- When the glaze is the right consistency (thicker but not lumpy) and has no bubbles (remove with rubber spatula/spoon) place one test dome on the wire rack. If lumpy warm up the glaze a little. If too thin and runny wait for it to thicken more. With practice you’ll know when it’s ready. Ladle the glaze over the centre of the dome in one go and swirl a little to catch uncovered sides. If it looks too thin it’s possible to ladle glaze over just a second time but it’s a bit risky.
- Use a little offset spatula to carefully place the glazed dome on a biscuit base.
- Repeat the process with the other domes, one at a time. If necessary scrape the glaze in the tray below back into the bowl.
- If making cherries stick little pieces of pistachios along the sides and a chocolate stalk then matcha leaf on top.
- To make santa hats surround the lower part of the dome with a marshmallow strip. Cut with scissors (leaving enough to account for shrinking after a stretch) and join the marshmallow. Stick the bobble on top. Stray dessicated coconut looks like snow.
Can’t decide which I prefer!
Which do you like best?
Eating and storing
Defrost 3 – 4 hours in the fridge before eating. They keep really well stored in the fridge up to 3 – 4 days in airtight tupperware. They also freeze well but the glaze might not look as good. Your stomach won’t mind… Yum.
I’m sharing this with the Cooking the chef group and you can see lots of info about Pepe Rodriguez on their page here (sorry, ran out of time for writing more about him) plus there’s all the group’s recipes.
Do try these santa hat cherry and matcha dome cakes! I gave one to a friend in a mini cake box and he ate it all on the way home (couldn’t wait). Gave it multiple yummy thumbs up. Mum’s cakes are waiting for her in the freezer but she loved the photos and texted ‘They are funny and look delicious! Clap clap (emoji)’. You’d surely get smiles, enthusiastic applause and happy tummies with these delicious cakes!
As cherries …
…or as festive Santa hats.
Farewell again dear readers! Always nice to see you and I wish you a lovely festive run-up to Christmas creating and testing yummy treats! Happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x