I’m not suggesting mirror glaze is new – social media went into collective freak-out mode last year when Russian pastry maker Olga Noskova started posting photos of her ultra high sheen cakes.
According to America’s Today.com, her Instagram account skyrocketed from 30k to 300k overnight.
It’s not just not new, it’s old. The classic French technique, named glacage mirroir (mirror glaze) for its impossibly perfect gloss, is common in entremets, a stalwart from the haute patisserie canon. The glaze encases the intricate layers, keeping it fresh and adding oh la la.
In the attention-grabbing age of Instagram, mirror glaze is enjoying a new lease of life. And in this instance, I’m all on board. A recent encounter with the technique at Sydney’s Koi, where Reynold Poernomo and his kin use it to elegant effect, left me besotted. A soft, mirrored veil of alluring lipstick pink gave way to light-as-air strawberry mousse; the effect was as beautiful to eat as to look at.
A frozen mousse underlay, or something of comparable texture, is key to mirror glaze, which seeps through the fine holes of regular crumb cakes. Enter layered mousse-sponge-gel numbers, ice cream creations and cheesecakes.
Like any technique, it’s not just about looks. A defining glaze is flavourful, but not too sweet (often from a combination of caster sugar, white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk), and is thick, but supple, almost delicate (usually from gelatine, as well as glucose or pectin).
“We use it on our mousse cakes, which is about 60 per cent of our range,” says Reynold, who credits his mum for their winning recipe. “She’s been working on it for years, experimenting with different ratios, sugars and water percentages.”
To get the look at home, you’ll need a silicone mold for a smooth-as mousse base, as well as a kitchen thermometer. “The right temperature is crucial,” says Reynold. Too hot and it goes on too thin or melts the mousse; too cold and it’s too thick. Make sure you have ample glaze, too (and I mean a lot).
Once you’ve mastered the basic mirror, the variations are endless, from marble
to the ocean.
And, of course, galaxy.
Just look at these: incroyable.
In this column, Dessert Date, I scour bakeries, patisseries and dessert joints from around the world for the hottest sweet trends, up-and-coming ingredients and game-changing pastry techniques.