Of all the Senshi, I relate to Makoto the most. I’m far from being tall and svelte, but her mix of rough-around-the-edges and domestic has always felt familiar. I’ve been known to make people cookies and follow up my attempt at a friendly gesture by accidentally slapping their back entirely entirely too hard. I believe someone once described the power in my hands as “Herculean.”
Since she’s a kindred spirit, I played around with more ideas for Makoto than any of the other Senshi. Her dessert went through about 5 different design phases, but the idea of a white chocolate lightning cage, strawberry mousse and pistachio cake were consistent. This dessert is perfectly light and is topped with a lovely little lightning surprise: pop rocks!
ACT FOUR: MAKOTO
Pistachio and strawberry mousse cake with pop rocks.
Yields: 4 (quite large) slices.
Timing Notes: This recipe may take 4-6 hours, since you need to give the mousse sufficient time to set before cutting.
Pistachio Sponge Cake, recipe follows
Strawberry Jelly, recipe follows
Strawberry Mousse, recipe follows
White Chocolate Glaze, recipe follows
8 oz. (225g) White Chocolate
Pink Food Coloring
Vegetable Oil, as needed
4-6 Packs Green Apple Pop Rocks
1. Line an 6″ square cake pan with strips of parchment or acetate. Cut two 6″ squares out of your pistachio sheet cake. Using a serrated knife and turntable, carefully split each cake layer into two thinner layers.
2. Begin assembly by placing a layer of cake into the bottom of your cake pan. Pour 1/2 of the mousse on top, smoothing it out if necessary. Carefully place another layer of cake on top. Using a spoon or small spatula, spread your strawberry jam on top of the cake. Top with another layer of cake. Pour on the remainder of the mousse, and place on the final cake layer. Gently smooth the top to ensure it’s as level as possible. (A fondant smoother is perfect for this.)
3. At this point I put on the glaze, but in retrospect I would have preferred to wait. So be smarter than me: chill the cake completely, either in your fridge or freezer. Once the cake is very cold, dip the pan in a bowl of hot water to release, and then flip it onto your turntable or a sheet pan. Pour the glaze over your cake. Don’t worry about getting the edges perfect, we’ll be fixing those later. Return the cake to the fridge.
4. Once the glaze is set, pull out your cake and begin cutting. First, using a warmed knife, cut a small sliver from each side of the cake. Clean your knife between each cut. Finally, split the cake in half both ways to make 4 square pieces.
5. Blow up your 4 balloons to about 2″ diameter. Melt your white chocolate together with 3-4 drops of neutral vegetable oil, and fill it into a piping bag. Pipe onto your balloon in a lightning pattern, leaving about 1/3 of the balloon uncovered, as shown below. You should note some of these little bits may break once you pop the balloon, which is okay! Sprinkle pop rocks onto the lightning bolts while wet, and then set the balloon on some parchment in the position you’d like it to stand. Allow to firm up completely, then pop the balloon. Brush the inside of your lightning sphere lightly with some extra white chocolate glaze, and sprinkle pop rocks on the inside as well.
6. Make your rose! You can either use fondant, or just make the rest of your melted white chocolate into modeling chocolate. To do this, drip a bit of pink food coloring and about a half teaspoon of corn syrup into your leftover melted chocolate and mix until it siezes up into a dough. Once you have your dough of choice, begin by making a small cone. Then pinch off 8 equally sized (roughly pea-sized) bits of your dough. In your fingers, take one and flatten it, thinning out the edges. Dust your hands with powdered sugar or corn starch if it’s too sticky. Roll this piece around the cone to form a center. Flatten two more pieces and roll those around for the first layer, and then continue this process for the third layer with 5 rounds. Adjust the petals to your liking, pinch off any excess dough from the bottom, and allow to dry/firm up for a moment. Repeat for the remaining 3 roses.
7. Once they have firmed up some, glue the roses to the center of your lightning spheres with some melted white chocolate. Place the spheres on top of your cakes, and you’re done!
1/2 lb (225g) strawberries, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or lime)
1 tsp water
1. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the strawberries until smooth. Strain out the seeds and combine with the remainder of your ingredients in a small saucepan.
2. Stir the mixture over medium heat continuously until thickened, darker and beginning to hold together as a mass. If you aren’t sure it’s finished, drop a bit on a cooled piece of parchment and check the thickness once it’s cold. Cooking can take up to 20 minutes. Once done, set aside to cool.
3 egg whites
4.5 oz (130g) powdered sugar
4 oz (115g) pistachios, finely ground
1.5 (45g) ounces all-purpose flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a quarter-sheet pan with parchment or a silicone mat. Grease lightly.
2. In a clean bowl and with clean beaters, whip your egg whites to soft peaks. Sprinkle on a spoonful of your sugar and beat the egg whites to medium peaks. Set aside.
3. Combine remaining sugar, pistachios, and eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Fold in the flour.
4. Carefully fold the meringue into your pistachio batter. Finally, stir in the vegetable oil. Pour batter into cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the middle springs back when lightly touched. Cover with plastic wrap while still warm, and allow to cool.
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
1/2 lb (225g) strawberries, frozen or fresh
1 packet (9g) gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
1/3 cup (65g) sugar
1. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl and allow to bloom for five minutes. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the strawberries until smooth. Strain out the seeds and combine with sugar in a small saucepan. Boil the mixture together for about a minute before removing from the heat and allowing it to cool for a moment. Stir in the bloomed gelatin until dissolved.
2. In a clean bowl, whip the cream to medium peaks. Cool the strawberry puree over an ice bath until no longer warm, then fold in the whipped cream into it until the mixture looks smooth.
White Chocolate Glaze
6 oz (170g) white chocolate
3 tbsp (45ml) heavy cream
1. In a small bowl, pour heavy cream over white chocolate and microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted, stirring between each heating. Sometimes white chocolate is stubborn about melting those last bits, so strain if you have to. Set aside, rewarming slightly before use so it’s not hot but still pourable.