After completing a pastry apprenticeship in his hometown of Sydney, Australia, Richard Hawke left his native country in 2008, bound for Europe and a career in the art of authentic French pastry. For the next eight years, he worked hard to refine his techniques for plated desserts, entremets, tarts and bonbons. The highpoint of this time came in 2012 when he became an instructor at Ecole Nationale Superieure de Pâtisserie (ENSP) in Yssingeaux, France, a dream job that gave him the opportunity to work alongside some of the finest pastry chefs in the world and utilize his bilingual (English/French) skills. Four years later, Chef Hawke was offered a new challenge, which he met head-on: he became Executive Pastry Chef at Rose Léon Patisserie, a gluten-free pastry shop in Casablanca, Morocco. Here he honed his skills in developing cakes and pastries that were gluten-free and exceptionally light – made with less sugar and fat so that the primary flavors could shine through in a natural way. The trick, he realized, was to adapt classic recipes without sacrificing texture or balance of flavor. Today, Chef Hawke is a full-time pastry consultant, traveling the world to give advice, teach and demonstrate how to do just that.
In this article, we showcase one of Chef Hawke’s recipes and the thought process behind it. Here are his notes:
“When I start the creative process, I normally begin with the main ingredients that I want to use in the recipe. In this case, they were lychee and mango. After the primary goal of making it gluten-free, my next objective is to capture the maximum amount of flavor in my creation. I decided to make the dessert lactose-free, as there was no need for cream or butter to come into play.
‘I wanted to create a mousse with the maximum amount of lychee flavor, and that’s why I used a meringue base – so that I could replace the egg whites with puree and dried egg whites. I also used odorless coconut oil to keep the focus on the main ingredient without sacrificing an agreeable mouth feel. I decided to use a mango coulis and a mango-based glaze for the natural color and to bump up the mango flavor in a subtle way, as the lychee flavor is very delicate. After adding the moist almond sponge (which is more neutral in flavor), I wanted to incorporate the shortbread for its crunch and as a decorative element.
‘In the shortbread, I replaced the flour with brown rice flour. This gives us the nice crunch that we are looking for, and the brown rice flour has a similar absorption rate to that of standard wheat flour. I also incorporated guar gum, which helps bring the dough together in the absence of gluten. It is possible to take it out, but the dough will then be more difficult to work with.
‘I also took out the butter and replaced it with odorless coconut oil. This makes the dough more difficult to work with (because coconut oil melts at 77˚F/25°C), so it is important to work with the dough on a cold tray.
‘In the mango coulis, I am using a 100% fruit puree with no added sugar, and I have added 9% sugar to the recipe. The passion fruit puree is there to add the acidity that the pectin needs in order to work correctly.”
Mango Lychee by Chef Richard Hawke
Yield: 15 servings
Special equipment: 15 gummy molds (Pavoni PX4364)
Chef Richard Hawke is a gluten-free guru whose pastry quest is constantly evolving. His current research has him focused on lactose-free and various vegan products.
- 130 g coconut oil
- 325 g brown rice flour
- 126 g confectioners’ sugar
- 42 g almond meal
- 5 g guar gum
- 8 g salt
- 70 g whole eggs
- 38 g water
- Melted cocoa butter, as needed
- Heat the coconut oil to 77˚F and combine with the brown rice flour, confectioners’ sugar, almond meal, guar gum and salt in a bowl to create a sandy texture. Add the eggs and water and mix to form a dough. Roll the dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper (or guitar sheets) to a thickness of 3 mm. Allow to cool before cutting out 1” x 2” shapes to fit on the long sides of the Pavoni gummy molds (see dessert photo). Bake at 300˚F for 25-30 minutes.
- Right out of the oven, brush one side of each shortbread with melted cocoa butter (this will prevent humidity from penetrating the glaze).
Chef’s notes: the guar gum in the recipe facilitates working with the dough in the absence of gluten. It is equally possible to use this recipe to line tart rings. Without the guar gum, the dough will fall apart easily and the walls of the tart shells will collapse. The coconut oil warms quickly, so it is important to correctly master working with this type of dough.
Moist Almond Sponge
- 155 g grape seed oil
- 185 g almond meal
- 150 g confectioners’ sugar
- 235 g whole eggs
- Mix all the ingredients together, pour into a 27 x 37 cm frame, and bake at 320˚F for 15-20 minutes.
- Place the sponge in a clean frame and blast freeze until ready to use.
Chef’s notes: This sponge is very similar to an almond cream (with a slightly different ratio). There is no need for the addition of gums, as normally an almond cream doesn’t require flour in order to be successful.
- 510 g mango puree (preferably Capfruit)
- 27 g passion fruit puree (preferably Capfruit)
- 53 g superfine granulated sugar
- 8 g pectin NH
- In a saucepan, heat the purees to 122˚F, add the sugar mixed with the pectin, and cook to 185˚F.
- Pour the hot coulis over the frozen sponge layer in the frame and allow to set. Place in blast freezer.
- Cut 4.5 x 7 cm portions of the frozen sponge/coulis for inserts.
- 12 g gelatin powder
- 682 g lychee puree (preferably Capfruit), divided
- 50 g coconut oil
- 8 g Sosa Natur Emul vegetable emulsifier
- 8 g egg white powder
- 56 g Sosa inulin, cold
- Hydrate the gelatin with 96 g of the lychee puree.
- In a saucepan, combine 490 g of the remaining puree with the coconut oil and heat to 104˚F. Add the Natur Emul and hydrated gelatin and blend well to form an emulsion. Allow to cool overnight.
- Have the lychee base between 50-60˚F. Whip the remaining 96 g lychee puree with the egg white powder, gradually adding the inulin to form a meringue. Fold the meringue into the base and pipe into the Pavoni gummy molds (PX4364).
- Place inserts into mousse to the height of the molds. Smooth the mousse and place in blast freezer.
- 600 g mango puree (preferably Capfruit)
- 225 g water
- 30 g lemon juice
- 195 g glucose
- 195 g superfine granulated sugar
- 5 g pectin NH
- 7 g Sosa locust bean gum
- In a saucepan, heat the puree with the water, lemon juice and glucose to 122˚F. Add the remaining ingredients and cook to 185˚F. Allow to set in the refrigerator before heating to 104˚F for glazing.
- Preserved lychee
- Silver leaf
- Unmold the frozen mousse desserts and glaze. Garnish each with a piece of preserved lychee and silver leaf. Arrange pieces of shortbread on each side of the dessert.