I like to think of this as liquid chocolate and liquid croissant. It basically is exactly that, except the liquid chocolate and liquid croissant have been solidified a little bit. The result: pain au chocolat in a glass.
The chocolate component is a basic dark chocolate mousse, replicating the chocolate centre of a pain au chocolat. To try to reproduce the croissant-pastry component of the pain au chocolat, I created croissant-flavoured milk. Now that was an interesting process.
The process of making the croissant-flavoured milk reminded me a tiny bit of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind, in which the protagonist, with his exquisitely sensitive sense of smell, set out to learn how to capture and distill all scents and smells into an essence. Not normal perfume scents of flowers and woods, but the scents of anything and everything, including rocks, metal and eventually, uh, dead teenage girls.
Anyway, some of the same principles can be applied to capturing tastes (preferably pleasant ones) and I used the method of infusion in this case to create the croissant-flavoured milk. In the same way tea leaves steeped in hot water release their flavour into the water, other items might be placed into other liquids to flavour the liquid. In this case: croissants and milk, resulting in croissant-flavoured milk, from which I made a croissant milk pudding. See the recipe after the cut for instructions on how to make it. And if you just don’t want to make croissant milk pudding, just make the mousse, since it’s fantastic enough by itself, as you can see…
Dark chocolate mousse
3g leaf gelatine
150g dark chocolate
250g thickened cream (pouring cream, 35% fat)
1 egg yolk
5g caster sugar
Follow the same steps as outlined in the white chocolate kirsch mousse recipe of Heston Blumenthal’s that I made here (disregarding the kirsch of course). Once you have folded the chocolate mixture into the cream, half-fill serving glasses with it then refrigerate for at least an hour.
Croissant milk pudding
Making croissant milk: Put two croissants in a muslin bag and tie it shut, then place in a slow cooker and cover with 1L of milk. Cook on a low temperature (should be around 70°C) for 6 to 8 hours. Open the cooker and remove contents into a bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. Remove the croissants in their bag and squeeze lightly to obtain the milk they will have absorbed. And there you have about 1L of croissant-flavoured milk. If you don’t have a slow cooker, place the croissants in the muslin bag in the milk in an airtight container, and float the container in a large pot of hot water on the stove for 6 to 8 hours, keeping the water at about 70°C (direct heat from the burner may be too hot and could burn the milk and croissants).
1L croissant-flavoured milk (doesn’t matter if it’s a bit less than 1L)
60g rice flour
75g caster sugar
Put the cornflour, rice flour and sugar in a bowl and stir to mix. Add enough milk to this to make it into a paste and whisk to make sure all the lumps are dissolved.
Place remaining milk in a pan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. While whisking continuously, add the cornflour paste and keep whisking for a few minutes until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat. Spoon the mixture into the serving glasses that are already half-filled with chocolate mousse. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, then you have your pain au chocolat in a glass ready to go.
Serves about 6 with generous portions.