For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to present something along the lines of individual plated desserts versus a single cake. It was a lot more work, but a fun way to make use of my pastry school education. Plus, I needed to make up for the time that my pumpkin chocolate tiramisu failed to make it to the holiday gathering (in retrospect, that recipe I used was all sorts of wrong).

This dessert has a base disc of flourless hazelnut chocolate cake, a layer of pumpkin pastry cream, a layer of pumpkin-chocolate crème légère (basically the pumpkin pastry cream mixed with melted chocolate, frangelico and whipped cream), and a topping of mascarpone whipped cream. On the side is a cranberry compote, made with whole frozen cranberries, sugar, lemon juice, frangelico and a little corn starch to pull it together.

The dark chocolate cage was the most involved step. Fortuitously, my dad had 3″ PVC pipe lying around, so we sawed that into short rings for holding the cylindrical shape while the tempered chocolate set. Family teamwork!

I’m only calling this a mendiant because that is the name of a similar dessert we made in pastry school. Obviously it is not the same as the chocolate confection also known as the mendiant, but I have yet to figure out a better name.

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