Jul 21, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Chocolate Saffron & Apricot Napoleon

Pete Schmutte's Chocolate Saffron & Apricot Napoleon.

White chocolate saffron cream, apricot pain de genes, apricot sauternes sorbet, vanilla gel, roasted vanilla powder, smoked apricot compote and marcona almond croquant by Pete Schmutte, Pastry Chef of Cerulean in Indianapolis, IN.


Yield: 16 servings

Pete Schmutte, Pastry Chef, Cerulean, Indianapolis, IN.

White Chocolate Saffron Cream:

  • 3 gelatin sheets (silver)
  • 12 oz/340 g white chocolate
  • 0.35 oz/10 g glucose
  • 7 oz/200 g milk
  • 0.07 oz/2 g saffron
  • 14 oz/400 g heavy cream

1. Bloom gelatin and set aside.

2. Heat chocolate to 113°F and stir until smooth. Add glucose to the chocolate and emulsify.

3. Place milk in a saucepot with the saffron and warm to simmering. Remove from heat and infuse 5 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender. Return milk to a simmer and add gelatin. Pour the milk into the white chocolate and emulsify. Add the heavy cream and blend with immersion blender. Strain into a container and let set in the refrigerator overnight.

Apricot Pain de Genes:

  • 3.17 oz/90 g cake flour
  • 0.21 oz/6 g baking powder
  • 17 oz/480 g almond paste (50%)
  • 0.14 oz/4 g salt
  • 17 oz/480 g whole eggs
  • 5.3 oz/150 g melted butter
  • 0.17 oz/5 g apricot compound
  • 2.8 oz/80 g apricot puree

1. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

2. Place almond paste and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add melted butter, apricot compound and apricot puree and mix. Spread batter into a sprayed and parchment lined half sheet pan. Bake at 325°F for 12 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature  and cut into desired shape.

Apricot Sauternes Sorbet:

  • 8 oz/224 g granulated sugar
  • 2.1 oz/60 g powdered glucose
  • 0.14 oz/4 g sorbet stabilizer
  • 7.3 oz/207 g water
  • 17.6 oz/500 g apricot puree
  • 2.8 oz/80 g Sauternes

1. Combine sugar, powdered glucose and sorbet stabilizer.

2. Put water in a saucepot. Stream in the dry ingredients and bring to a temperature of 185°F for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately seal in an airtight container and let cool to room temperature.

3. Add puree and Sauternes and let age in refrigerator overnight.

4. The next day, process in ice cream machine.

Vanilla Gel:

  • 7 oz/200 g granulated sugar
  • 0.14 oz/4 g agar agar
  • 0.03 oz/1 g locust bean gum
  • 7 oz/200 g water
  • 1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1. In a bowl, combine sugar, agar agar and locust bean gum. Scrape vanilla seeds into the dry ingredients.

2. Place water in a saucepot. While whisking, stream in dry ingredients. Place pot over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, pour into a shallow plastic container and place in refrigerator until set. Cut gel into small cubes and process in a blender until smooth. Strain through a chinois and reserve.

Roasted Vanilla Powder:

  • Used vanilla pods, as needed

Spread pods onto a Silpat-lined sheet pan and place in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes. Once cooled, process pods in a spice grinder until ground into a fine powder.

Smoked Apricot Compote:

  • 7 oz/200 g dried apricots
  • 4.2 oz/120 g granulated sugar
  • 7 oz/200 g water
  • 0.35 oz/10 g olive oil

1. Cut apricots into a small dice. Set aside.

2. Combine sugar and water in a saucepot and bring to a simmer. Add diced apricots and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, wrap pot with plastic and let cool to room temperature. Stir in olive oil.

Marcona Almond Croquant:

  • 10.5 oz/300 g granulated sugar
  • 2.6 oz/75 g water
  • 2.1 oz/60 g unsalted butter
  • 2.6 oz/75 g Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped

1. Place sugar in a pot with the water. Cook to a medium amber color. Add butter and emulsify. Pour caramel onto a Silpat and let cool to room temperature. Process caramel into a powder in a food processor.

2. Remove from food processor and toss in a bowl with the chopped Marcona almonds. Sprinkle onto a Silpat in 2 circles and place in a 375°F oven for 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and, while still warm, cut out rounds with a 2” ring cutter. Reserve in an airtight container with desiccant.


  • Tempered milk chocolate tiles
  • Tempered dark chocolate decoration
  • Gold leaf

Place your plate on a cake turntable. While rotating the turntable, use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the Vanilla Gel in a ring. Hold plate at a 90° angle and sprinkle Vanilla Powder down the surface of the plate so it adheres to the gel. Place a milk chocolate tile on the plate and top with a piece of the Apricot Pain de Genes. Top with another milk chocolate tile. Pipe Saffron Cream back and forth over the tile using a rose tip. Dot the cream with pieces of apricot compote and top with the third chocolate tile. On top of the napoleon, place a small spoon of the apricot compote and decorate with tempered chocolate garnish and gold leaf. Across the surface of the napoleon, pipe spots of the Vanilla Gel. Place a piece of Almond Croquant on the plate and top with a quenelle of Apricot Sauternes Sorbet.

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