Amaury Guichon's book, 'The Art of Flavor', has twelve complex and exciting creations. I call them creations because they are truly small works of art and combine chocolate skills with all sorts of pastry, baking, piping, molding and decorating skills. First off, the book; it's divided up by global cities by season with one creation for each month so I started at the beginning, Spring in Venice where he created a "quail egg"
Now you might think this looks simple enough and perhaps it is, if you have tons of experience but personally I found it challenging but fun, too! One thing about the book is that it does have recipes for each component but they're primarily a list of ingredients and amounts. There are some instructions but they're few and far between and you can forget about assembly instructions, it's up to you to glean them from the pictures. Thank goodness that sketches and photos are really great!
The quail egg is mango compote center, encased in a passionfruit cremeaux for the yolk, the white is a coconut mousse, the shell is a dip made of white and milk chocolates, the "nest" is a round of vanilla financier soaked with orange liqueur and a white chocolate nest with gold luster dust.
I have to tell you that the flavors are amazing in this. None of the components is overly sweet - the sweetness of the fresh mango with the tang of passion fruit puree soars when it's combined with that coconut.
I don't have all the sizes of molds on hand that Amaury Guichon has access to so improvising is part of the challenge.
I did purchase the egg mold in the center and on the right specifically for this project because I'm sure I'll use it again at easter time. Also since I don't have a blast chiller and the components need to be frozen prior to combining (for instance the mango compote needed to be frozen to insert into one half of the passionfruit cremeaux and then that needs to be frozen so that can put it into the other half of the cremeaux to make a complete sphere) so this project took me two days to complete.