To assemble: Use a pastry brush to coat the bottom half of each petal with a little Simple Syrup or warmed corn syrup. This will act as the "glue" to adhere the petals to the bud. Wrap the first petal around the base of the bud. Continue adding petals in the same fashion until you have formed the size of flower you would like. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bud so the petals open. You can also gently roll back the tops of the petals to achieve a more realistic appearance. Cut off the bottom of the bud. Place around the brim of the hat and add the leaves as desired.
To make the ganache: If using gelatin sheets, place them in a medium-size mixing bowl with enough cold water (about 2 cups) to cover. Let stand for about 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften and hydrate. Cold water hydrates the gelatin without letting it absorb too much liquid. Remove the gelatin from the bowl and squeeze out the excess water with your hands. If you use powdered gelatin, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces; 50 grams) of cold water. Let the gelatin bloom until it has absorbed all the water, about 1 minute. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size mixing bowl. Pour the heavy cream in a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and make a ganache by pouring the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for about 30 seconds to allow the heat to distribute throughout the bowl. Add the hydrated gelatin and gently stir the mixture with a rubber spatula. The hot cream will cause the chocolate and the gelatin to melt. Slowly mixing the heavy cream and chocolate together causes the fats in them to combine to form an emulsion. Stir the ganache until it is smooth and homogenous. Place the mixing bowl in the ice bath and stir the ganache occasionally so it cools evenly. The ganache is ready when it has thickened. Test this by using a rubber spatula to draw a line through it. If the line holds for 10 to 15 seconds, it is ready. If the line fills in immediately, the ganache is too warm. Keep cooling and retest every 30 seconds. The ganache should not cool so much that it begins to harden and set. If this happens, warm it up over a saucepan of simmering water, removing it every 10 seconds and whisking it gently until it is smooth and viscous.
To finish the mousse: While the ganache is cooling, pour the heavy cream into another medium-size mixing bowl and beat to soft peaks with an electric mixer on medium speed. Be careful; if you overwhip the heavy cream, it will lose volume and the mousse will not be as light and airy. When the ganache is cool but not cold, fold in the whipped cream in 2 additions until combined. The ganache should not be so cold that it has begun to set and is grainy, yet is should be cool enough that it doesn't melt the whipped cream. If the mousse begins to seize while you are folding in the whipped cream, warm it up over a saucepan of simmering water 5 seconds at a time until it is smooth again. Do not warm it so much that the whipped cream begins to melt. Then fold in any remaining whipped cream. When all of the whipped cream has been incorporated, the mousse will be loose and pourable. Don't worry; it will set up in the freezer.
Prepare the pound cake: Cut the pound cake into a 4-inch flat circle and a 5 1/2-inch flat circle. You want the larger circle to be just a bit smaller than the diameter of your mold. That way, the mousse will cover the edge and the cake won't show through the mold. Place the mousse into a pastry bag with a large opening (no tip). Pipe the mousse into the dome mold, filling about two thirds full. Spread the mousse up the sides of the mold with the back of a large spoon. Place the smaller cake circle in the mousse. Soak the cake with the simple syrup. Fill with more mousse until almost full. Top with the larger cake circle and press down slightly. Soak the cake with the simple syrup. Place the mold in the freezer for at least 1 hour to allow the mousse to set. At this stage, the cake will hold in the freezer for up to 1 week. Spread a 1/8-inch thick layer of tempered white chocolate onto a piece of parchment paper. Let the chocolate harden until firm but not set, about 5 minutes. To make the brim of the hat, trace around a 10-inch cardboard cake circle or serving plate to cut a circle from the white chocolate. Place a clean sheet of parchment paper over the chocolate sheet and flip over both. Peel off the parchment paper. Separate the chocolate cutout and place on a cardboard cake circle.
To assemble: Unmold by dipping the mold in hot water for 5 seconds. Press against one side of the mousse to slide it out of the dome mold. Place the dome, cake side down, in the center of the white chocolate circle. Prepare the paint sprayer: Place equal amounts of white chocolate and cocoa butter over a double boiler and melt until smooth with no lumps. Assemble the dessert and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. The surface of the dessert must be chilled so the chocolate coating will harden upon contact, giving it the desired texture. Remove the dessert from the freezer and place on a platter or cake circle. Place the chocolate mixture in a clean paint sprayer and use it to spray the dessert with the chocolate. Cleanup will be much easier if you use a plastic-lined cardboard box as a backdrop to the dessert when you spray it.
Add the decorations. Let thaw in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving. The Bonnet will hold in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Tip: Wrap the cornstarch in cheesecloth. Then you can easily shake an even layer of the starch onto the work surface.
Team Torres LLC www.mrchocolate.com PO Box 303 New York, NY 10101-0303 212/489-4847 212/489-0142 (fax) 6-inch Dome Mold
Beryl's Cake Decorating & Pastry Supplies www.beryls.com PO Box 1584 North Springfield, VA 22151 800/488-2749 703/750-3779 (fax) Modeling chocolate in white or dark, assorted cutters, cocoa butter, powdered and paste food colorings, white and dark chocolate
Sur La Table Catalog Division www.surlatable.com 800/243-0852 Sinsation Chocolate Tempering Machine; cutter sets of assorted shapes and sizes; paste food colorings
Recipe courtesy of Jacques Torres (Mrchocolate.com)