A rich chocolate shot topped with vanilla foam and chocolate crispie cakes served with a warm pithiviers of praline chocolate and marinated plum wedges cooked in a crisp batter.
Crush the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar and then place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least one hour.
Break the chocolate into pieces and place into a heatproof bowl. After the milk has infused with the juniper berries for at least an hour, return it to the heat and bring back to the boil. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and stir until melted and well combined. Pass the liquid through a sieve and then set aside.
For the vanilla foam: place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and leave to soften. Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Place the vanilla seeds, the pod and the milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and then stir in the icing sugar and the softened gelatine leaves. Mix until dissolved, pass through a sieve and leave to chill. Once cool, pour the mixture into a siphon and keep chilled until ready to serve.
For the garnish - chocolate coated coco pops
Place the milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, stir the coco pops into the chocolate and then spread the mixture on to a baking tray and leave to set.
Preheat the oven to 180'C. Spread the chopped almonds on to a baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
Place 110g caster sugar in a frying pan and melt, without stirring, to form a caramel. Add the toasted almonds to the pan and mix well. Spread the mixture onto a silicone baking sheet and leave to cool and harden. Once set, break the nougatine into small pieces and then place in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.
Melt the butter and then whisk together with the remaining 15g caster sugar, the cream and the egg yolks. Add the powdered almond nougatine and combine to form a thick paste. Cover and chill until needed.
For the ganache: zest the orange. Bring the cream to the boil and then pour it over the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Stir until combined and then add the orange zest and the Grand Marnier. Leave to cool and set.
Preheat the oven to 200'C.
Roll both sheets of pastry to a thickness of 3mm. Cut one sheet of pastry into 8cm circles and the other into 10cm circles. The smaller discs of pastry will form the base of the pithiviers. Generously spread the praline chocolate onto each base, leaving a 1cm border at the edge of each circle. Use a tablespoon of ganache for each pithiviers - roll into a ball and place in the centre of the praline mixture. Brush the exposed edge of pastry with a little beaten eff and then carefully lay the larger disc of pastry on top. Press the edges together firmly. Make a small hole in the top of each pithiviers, brush with a little more beaten egg and then chill for 10 minutes.
Use a sharp knife to score a pattern into the top of each pithiviers and then transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180'C and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
For the batter: place the water in the fridge and chill until really cold. Break the egg into a bowl and then slowly beat in the cold water. Add the flour and the bicarbonate of soda and stir with a fork to combine. Set aside with you prepare the plums.
For the plums: cut each plum into wedges. Zest and juice the orange. Place the sugar in a frying pan and melt, without stirring, to form a light coloured caramel. Add half of the plums, the star anise and the zest and juice of the orange. Cook until the plums are soft and then add the red wine and reduce by half. Remove the star anise from the plan. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend to a puree. Pass the mixutre through a sieve and then return to the heat and bring back to the boil. Add the rest of the plums, remove from the pan and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the plum wedges from the sauce and pat dry. Dust with plain flour and then dip in the batter. Drop the beignets into hot oil and deep fry for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.
Pour the chocolate mixture into individual shot glass and top each one with vanilla foam. Sprinkle with chocolate coated coco pop pieces.
Place a few plum beignets on each plate, place the warm pithiviers on top and then drizzle the plum sauce around the dish. Add the chocolate shot to the plate and serve immediately.
«Don't worry about making the batter for the plums too smooth, small lumps of flour will add to the texture.»