Cupuaçu is a fruit that grows in the Amazon and is in the same family as the cacao. The pulp is removed from the seeds and then used in cooking. For me, its scent recalls the exotic perfumes of the Amazon. Cupuaçu’s taste is quite hard to describe, but it falls somewhere between a banana and white chocolate, with a tang at the end.
Most likely, you will find cupuaçu being sold in the US in a pasteurized and frozen form. I like to buy it directly from www.kajafruit.com or whenever I see it in the freezer of Brazilian and Latin specialty stores. When using, I drain the water accumulated in the bag and try to use just the pulp (that helps the pastry cream to become less runny).
For the Chocolate Crumble:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ cup almond flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
For the Cupuacu Layer:
1 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
2/3 cup (140 g) cupuaçu pulp, thawed
For the Chocolate Layer:
½ pound (225g) semi sweet chocolate (55 to 65 %)
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
Equipment: 8 wine glasses or glass ramekins
Prepare the Chocolate Crumble:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the chocolate crumble ingredients together until it resembles a coarse meal.
- Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake until it dries, about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating once.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let cool at room temperature. (You can prepare it up to 2 days ahead of time and keep it in a plastic container covered with a tight-fitting lid in a cool and dry room temperature.)
Prepare the Cupuaçu Pastry Cream:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they become pale and yellow. Add the flour and cornstarch and whisk until blended and thick.
- Gently drizzle some of the hot milk into the egg yolks to prevent curdling, then add the remaining milk. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan, and cook over very low heat, whisking constantly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), until it takes on a custard’s consistency, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Immediately scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and, while it’s still hot, whisk in the cupuaçu pulp. The custard will get a little runny once the fruit is mixed in. Cool at room temperature, stirring it occasionally with a spatula. Wait until the cream is thoroughly cooled, to pour it into the glasses (this way it won’t fog up the glasses with steam).
- Fill each glass with about ¼ cup of the cupuaçu cream (my favorite tool for this task in a pastry bag). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before adding the ganache.
Prepare the Chocolate Ganache:
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a stainless steel bowl.
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil and immediately pour it over the chocolate. Stir the mixture carefully with a rubber spatula starting from the center of the bowl, gradually incorporating the whole mixture until it’s only just blended. Don’t over mix it or the ganache will break. Let it cool at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula- you don’t want to pour a hot ganache on top of the cupuaçu cream.
- Transfer the ganache to a disposable pastry bag or zip-top bag with the corner cut.
- Carefully squeeze the chocolate ganache over the cupuacu cream and tap the side of the glasses to make sure there are no pockets of air. Chill the glasses in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
- Remove them from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with the crumble.
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