Recipe courtesy of Jacques Torres

The Clown Hat

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  • Yield: 8 servings


Clown Hats:

Raisin Creme Brulee:

To finish desserts:

Caramelized Banana Saute:

Raspberry Sauce:

Mango Sauce:


Special equipment:
8 cone shaped paper cups
  1. For the Clown Hats: Melt white chocolate in microwave. Fill each cup all the way to the top with melted chocolate. Invert the paper cup over the bowl of chocolate and allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the paper cups upside down on a wire rack placed over a parchment paper covered baking sheet and allow the chocolate to set. When use a sharp paring knife to gently trim the chocolate off the bottom (opening) of each hat. Then peel off the paper cone. To adhere the M&Ms baking bits to the hats, heat the tip of a paring knife in boiling water. Dry it off and gently press it against the chocolate hat to melt the spot for the candy. Immediately press an M&M into the chocolate hat. Use as many as you like to decorate hat. For the Raisin Creme Brulee: Hydrate the raisins by placing the raisins in a mixing bowl or glass jar and add water so that it covers the raisins by at least 1/2 inch. Stir in the rum or flavored alcohol. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It is even better to allow the raisins to hydrate for 2 to 3 days; they will become very plump as they absorb the liquid. You can keep them in the refrigerator for a few weeks. When you are ready to use them, strain the amount that you need through a fine-mesh sieve before adding them to the recipe. Preheat the oven to 320 degrees. Sprinkle the hydrated raisins over the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Pour the heavy cream and milk into a nonreactive 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over medium heat. Use a sharp paring knife to slice the vanilla bean in half again, this time lengthwise. Separate the seeds from the outside skin by scraping the bean with the knife. Place the skin and seeds in the heating cream. Scald the cream by heating it until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Place the whole eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Continue to whisk as you slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous in color. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the vanilla bean pieces and any overcooked eggs. Your next step will be made easier if you strain the mixture into a large measuring cup with a spout. Place the cake pan on a baking sheet with 1-inch high sides. Fill the cake pan with the custard and set the baking sheet in the oven. Use hot water from the tap and pour enough water onto the baking sheet to reach halfway up the side of the pan. If you are using a convection oven, a water bath is not needed because the even circulation of the air insulates the custard from the direct heat of the oven. If using a convection oven, preheat to 200 degrees. Baking time is about the same for either oven, about 50 minutes When baked correctly, the custard should tremble slightly when gently shaken. If you detect any liquid under the skin, the custard is underbaked. Put it back in the oven and shake it every 5 minutes until it is ready. Remove the mold from the oven and the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving; it will finish setting in the refrigerator. Let the water bath cool before removing it from the oven. *See Puff Pastry recipe and insert here(separate recipe because of space limitations). For assembling the clown hats, use a paring knife to carefully cut a small circle from the top of each puff pastry shell. Set the top aside to use later. Use your finger to remove the doughy inside from the shell. Fill the shell with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and reposition the puff pastry circle. Place the clown hat on top of the puff pastry. Decorate the plate with fruit sauces.

Caramelized Banana Saute:

  1. For the Caramelized Banana Saute: Peel and dice the banana into 1/4-inch cubes. Place them in a small mixing bowl with the rum or Grand Marnier and about 1/3 of the sugar and let macerate for 10 minutes. Heat a medium-size heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. If it starts to smoke, the pan is too hot and you need to run it under cool water, dry it, and start again. When warm, sprinkle the remaining sugar into the pan. Try to keep the sugar in an even layer to allow it to caramelize at the same time. As soon as you see the sugar begin to melt. Start moving the pan over the burner to keep the sugar from burning. Tilt the pan from side to side so that the melted sugar runs over the unmelted sugar. Cook until all of sugar is light golden brown. I usually add the butter at this stage because it makes the caramel smoother. Add the banana mixture and spread it evenly in the pan. Let cook over medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the bananas are soft but not mushy. If the bananas are still firm when most of the liquid has evaporated, add a few tablespoons of water and continue cooking until they are ready. Remove from the heat and pour the caramelized bananas onto a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Mango Sauce:

  1. For the Raspberry Sauce: Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Add the sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, incorporating it well after each addition and making sure any lumps are dissolved. Add lemon juice and blend again. Strain the sweetened puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. This will separate the pulp from the fruit puree and remove any small seeds. Stir the puree until completely smooth. For the Mango Sauce: Peel and remove pits of mangos. Chop into medium-size pieces. Puree the fruit until completely smooth. Add sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, incorporating it well after each addition and making sure any lumps are dissolved. Strain the sweetened puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Stir the puree until completely smooth.