Category Archives: hazelnut

Cucumber chocolate?

Can you combine cucumber and chocolate in desserts? If you check the Foodpairing tree of cucumber (click on the picture for the dynamic pop-up), you will find in the category of pastry/ chocolate (bottom left) ingredients like milk chocolate (lait) from Vanuatu.

Now, how do you get started?

First of all, select the ingredients looking at the cucumber Foodpairing tree. You will find also hazelnut, honey, almonds, lemon, black and green tea.

Next step is to make different textures with the ingredients;

With the lemon and almond, you can make a crumble;

175 g of flour, 100 g almond powder, 125 g butter, 225 g sugar, 3 lemon zeste, 100 g cocoa butter

Mix the first 4 ingredients till you obtain a sandy dough. Bake at 175°C till it’s golden brown. Let it cool down. Mix the crumble with the melted Belcolade Cocoa Butter. Pour the crumble in a circle of  14cm and freeze

With the honey and hazelnut, you can make a honey hazelnut biscuit;

500 g eggs, 200 g hazelnut powder, 175 almond powder, 175 g honey, 200 g icing sugar, 100 g flour, 330 g egg white, 50 g sugar

Whip everything together, spread out on a baking tray. Bake at 240°C for 5min.

The cucumber is transformed into a Cucumber jelly;

500 g cucumber juice, 80 g sugar, 40 g honey, 10 g gelatin

Make fresh cucumber juice and heat up the juice till 40°C together with the honey. Add the gelatin, pour in a Flexipan mould 14cm and freeze it.

The black tea can be combined with Vanuatu chocolate: Black tea creme;

450 g Cream 35%, milk QS, 20 g black tea, 570 g Vanuatu 44 milk chocolate, 100 g butter

Boil the fresh cream and the black tea and let it infuse for 5 min. Pass through a sieve and add milk till you have your original weight of 450g again. Heat up again till 85°C and pour onto the Belcolade Origins Vanuatu 44. Mix to obtain a homogeneous filling. When the cremeux reaches a temperature of 35°C, add the butter and mix again. Pour the Black Tea Cremeux on top of the Crumble Lemon. Put on top of this a layer of the Hazelnut Honey Biscuit and freeze.

To finish chocolate mousse;

250 g milk, 250 g cream, 100 g egg yolk, 550 g milk chocolate Vanuatu 44, 6 g gelatin, 450 g cream

Boil the milk with the cream and pour this onto the egg yolks. Add the Belcolade Origin Vanuatu 44 and mix. Add the gelatin and mix again. Add the semi whipped fresh cream. Fill 1/3 of a circle with mousse. Take the insert and the Cucumber Jelly from the freezer. Place the Cucumber Jelly on top of the insert and put it in the circle upside down in the mousse. Freeze it.

You can compose all these layers into a pie like this Astroid by Michel Eyckerman


Continuing the ‘how to replace’ we looked for ingredients which take a lot of time to make…. like brown stock and replaced them with ingredients very easy to make.
In the following dish with pigeon, passion fruit, chocolate and belgian endive we replaced the brown stock with…freshly made coffee. If you mix this coffee with the other ingredients for the sauce you obtain a sauce where you can’t distinguish the coffee anymore, tasting like you would make it with brown stock.
So next time you don’t have time to make brown stock, just make a fresh brewed coffee.

Pigeon of Anjou, Belgian endive, passion fruit, chocolate and…coffee

Ingredients for 4
2 pigeons
Sauce: 15 g butter
            2 g garlic
            50 g shallots
            0,2 g bay leaf
            0,2 g star anise
            50 g mushrooms
            15 g butter
            180 g bones and legs of pigeon
            0.4 g baking soda
            50 g of red wine
            10 g soy sauce
            150 g fresh made coffee
            80 g water
4 Belgian endive heads
100 g girolle mushrooms
chocolate powder:        30 g white chocolate
                                    pinch of grated lime peel
                                    50 g tapiocamaltodextrine (malto Texturas)
passion cream:             100 g white chocolate
                        40 g passion fruit coulis
40 g hazelnuts
ground coffee beans
herbs to garnish
butter for frying
salt and pepper
Scorch the pigeons slightly with a blowtorch to remove feather remainders. Remove the entrails. Remove the fillets. Chop the carcass and legs into smaller pieces.
Season the fillets with butter and salt. Bake the fillets in hot butter, according to the desired cuisson.
Keep the baked fillets warm in an tin foil wrap.
Sauce without brown stock
Clean the shallots, garlic and mushrooms and chop them. Fry in butter with bay leaf and star anise. Remove from the pan and add water and butter. Season the chopped pigeon carcass and legs with pepper and baking soda and allow them to brown in the hot butter. Add the fried shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Bring to heat and add the red wine. Add the soy sauce, coffee and water and allow the sauce to reduce. Season to taste, strain and finish with a knob of butter. Keep warm
Belgian endives
Clean the endives. Season with salt and pepper and fry briefly in butter. Add some water. Allow to simmer on low heat. Remove from pan and drain. Then brown the endives in hot butter. Season to taste
Girolles mushrooms
Clean the girolles mushrooms with cold water. Dry them with a towel. Fry the mushrooms in hot butter and season with salt and pepper.
Chocolate Powder
Melt the chocolate. Stir in the zest of the lime. Add malto and stir with whisk until a fine powder is obtained
Cream of passion fruit
Heat the passion fruit coulis and stir in the chocolate. Allow to set while stirring regularly. Put the cream into a piping bag.
Roast the hazelnuts in the oven at 180 ° C. Let cool and chop coarsely.


In Top Chef just desserts we saw some challenges passing by where Foodpairing would be an incredible help to support the participants. Last year I met Johnny Iuzzini (one of the judges) during my presentation at Starchefs (his Desserts Fourplay is a must have) and I was pleased he got interested by our Foodpairing.
As an example we took a parsnip-banana-hazelnut dessert from episode 6 of Top Chef.

Here are some of the possible pairings with hazelnut (clustered in categories, the closer to the center the better the match);

Or this coffee, strawberry, rum, pea combination. It should work, but this combination is quite challenging to find the right balance in taste. If you use young, fresh sweet peas it should work.

 Here the visualisation of this pairing;

There was even a chocolate pairing with French fries, reminds me of the first edition of our  The Flemish Primitives in 1999 where we gave people French Fries with mayonnaise (based on chocolate), next to all sorts of challenging items like glowing lollypops (picture by Khymos) or at the last edition ants by Alex Atala tasting like ginger, lemongrass (which was later also presented at Madfoodcamp)