Namelaka cream


I’d like to introduce you to a rather fabulous multi-purpose ingredient, developed and created in the L’Ecole du Grand Chocolate Valrhona test kitchens: Namelaka. It was actually developed several years ago, but seems not to have caused much of a ripple since then, with the exception of in Italy, where it appears to be very popular.

It’s name (pronounced namma-lakka) comes from the Japanese for creamy/smooth and it is a fabulous cross between a ganache and a crème pâtissière. It has the smoothness of a pastry cream, but the richness of a ganache and can boast a whole host of uses.

Milk chocolate praline namelaka

As you can see from the photo, it holds its shape beautifully when piped, which makes it perfect for tart and pastry fillings and decoration. It is especially fine in filling choux pastry items such as eclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs and croquembouche. You can use it to decorate the tops of cakes or to sandwich them together, both large and small, and it can also be served as a dessert itself, in small, ladylike portions, with some granola or crushed biscuits adding texture.

One of the great aspects of namelaka is the possibility of adding additional flavours to complement the finished cream by infusing the milk before use. What you use is limited only by your imagination: the zest of any of the numerous citrus fruits, instant coffee granules, freeze-fried fruit powders, teas, freshly ground spices, tonka bean, praline… the list goes on. The only downside of namelaka cream is the need to make it a full day before required, as it needs time to chill thoroughly before use.

White Chocolate Namelaka

For serving in its most light and delicate form, I recommend just a single leaf of gelatine and using whipping cream. An almost mousse-like consistency can be achieved by using 2 leaves of gelatine and double cream, and then whisking it briefly after chilling overnight. You can also vary the texture by reversing these proportions: a single leaf of gelatine and double cream gives a rich and unctuous cream, while two leaves of gelatine and whipping cream is lighter but firmer and benefits from whipping before use.

White Chocolate Namelaka Cream

170g white chocolate
1 sheet of leaf gelatine/2 sheets
100ml whole milk
5ml liquid glucose
200ml whipping cream/double cream

  • Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water.
  • Put the sheet of gelatine in cold water to bloom.
  • Heat the milk and glucose in a pan until almost boiling.
  • Add the bloomed gelatine to the milk and stir to dissolve.
  • Pour 1/3 of the hot milk mixture onto the melted chocolate and stir to incorporate.
  • Add the remaining milk and repeat.
  • Add the whipping cream and mix thoroughly.
  • Briefly use an immersion blender to ensure mixture is thoroughly amalgamated.
  • Cover with cling film and chill for 24 hours before using.
  • When using 2 sheets of gelatine with whichever cream, whisk briefly after chilling before use. Or not. As you like.

For milk chocolate praline: add 75g praline paste when melting the milk chocolate

For flavouring with citrus: Use the zest of 1 fruit in the milk and allow to infuse for 15 minutes once heated. Strain out the zest and reheat before mixing.

For flavouring with Tonka bean: ½ a bean grated on a microplane is plenty. Infuse as above.

For spices: Use whole spices for preference (easer to fish out) and infuse as for the citrus zest.

In case you missed it:

This week on Robert May’s Chicken Pie

26 Comments on “Namelaka”

  1. Martin says:

    Hi, thanks drawing attention to a very interesting new patisserie ingredient. There being a huge difference between grades of gelatine and also size of sheets, I have one question: what weight and quality were the sheets you used?
    Thanks again.

  2. beeeze says:

    Excellent. Thanks MAB – possibly a lifesaver for afternoon tea gubbins.

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers beeeze!
      Oh for sure! Inna cake! Onna cake! Inna tart! Inna puff! Inna mille feuille! Inna glass! Inna dish! All delish! M-A 😀

  3. Pete says:

    I like the look of this. If making milk (40%) or dark (60-70%) namelaka, is it just a straight swap of chocolate, or does it need tweaking a little for the different fat content? Thanks.

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Pete!
      Not tried plain, but I would think what with all the gelatine and cream, the fat in the chocolate is going to have little overall effect. Do let me know how you get on! M-A 😀

      • Pete says:

        I found a Valhrona document with some base recipes for use with their chocolate. The quantities for namelaka are:

        200g whole milk
        10g glucose
        5g gelatin (frustratingly, they don’t give a strength)
        400g whipping cream (35% fat)

        And for the various cocoa solids:

        70% 250g
        65% 265g
        55% 285g
        40% 350g
        33% 390g

        35% white chocolate 340g – and using 4g gelatin instead of 5g

        I’m suprised how little info about namelaka is out there, so hopefully this may be of use to anyone who comes across this post. I’ve emailed Valrhona for further guidance on gelatin; if I hear back I’ll let you know. 🙂

        • MAB says:

          Wow Pete – this is excellent!
          Many thanks for hunting these quantities out.
          WRT the gelatine strength, as far as I’m aware, there is only one grade in the UK/Europe, which corresponds to the Platinum strength of the US.
          If you find out anything to the contrary, would love an update!
          M-A 😀

      • Pete says:

        The whole gelatin thing is a nightmare. I think pro kitchens tend to use use bronze (160 Bloom) in their recipes, but most French recipes I see use Gold (200 Bloom), and Valrhona is French. I actually think the way you’ve written it is probably most useful, since a sheet of whatever strength should set the same amount of liquid. (Supermarket Dr Oetker platinum gelatin weighs 1.8g whereas gold is 2g, and four sheets of either sets a pint.) As a home cook, I’ll not stress it and just use two sheets of supermarket platinum for the relevant quantity of chocolate I’ve listed above. I’ve made a couple of batches and it’s worked out just fine. Thanks again.

      • Pete says:

        Sorry to jump back in with another comment – I thought we’d boxed this off. Anyway, after initially telling me the recipe I posted earlier used 5g of gelatin, Valrhona have been back in touch to say it should in fact be 9g of gelatin (8g for white). It would seem even their own chefs are befuddled by their recipes!

        No harm done, but I wanted to post for completeness (fingers crossed!).

        • Drops says:

          You are amazing, thank you for taking the time, doing the research and writing it here too, now I feel like I have a better chance of doing this amazing cream. I’ve tasted it today for the first time hours ago and I still remember the taste

  4. Flavor Rules says:

    Hi Mary Anne!

    Can u please tell me which piping tip u used for the dark chocolate namelaka? Thank-You.

    Have so enjoyed watching you on the Great British Baker off and the Christmas bake off! Especially the cute Christmas wreath biscuits and the Christmas Cakes bakey with the Chocolate Orange joconde sponge with Saville orange curd in the bottom tier, the lemon and ginger spice cake in the middle , and the Speculation cream on the top!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Flavor Rules!
      Sorry for the delay in responding – I’m just cathcing up fter the summer break.
      I used an open star tip of a diameter of 15-20mm. It probably has a proper reference number, but I’m afraid I don’t know what that might be.
      It’s just a standard tip – it’s the namelaka that makes it look good!
      Hope this helps, M-A 😀

  5. Flavor Rules says:

    I mean, the Speculos cream, that was a typo, lol!

  6. Zahara says:

    How about making BlackBerry namelaka?
    I tried to heat the blackberry with milk but it curd?!
    Do you have any idea about it?!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Zahara!
      I would recommend using freeze-dried fruit powders.
      I get mine here:
      Dissolve the powder in the milk until the flavour is to your liking.
      I recommend making it fairly strong-tasting, to flavour the end result well.
      Hope this helps!
      M-A 😀

      • Zahara says:

        Thanks for answering my question
        But its difficult to find and its expensive to by from sites because of shipping yo have any idea.. Can I heat the frout in the whipping cream?
        Or any idea that can help

        • MAB says:

          My next suggestion would be to use a jam, or a combination of jam and puree, heated in the cream. Depending on how much of this you use to get the flavour you want, you might need to add a little more gelatine to compensate for the extra liquid.
          Hope this helps!
          M-A 😀

  7. Hi, thanks so much for the recipes!
    For the milk chocolate praline, do you still use 170g of milk chocolate and add the 75g of praline paste? Or does the total weight of milk chocolate and praline paste adds up to 170g?

  8. Jared says:

    Where can I purchase Tonka beans?

  9. Erika says:

    Can you please tell me how to convert sheet gelatin to grams of powder . And how to bloom.
    Thank you!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Erika!
      Powder and sheet gelatine are the same product in different forms.
      4 sheets of gelatine will set 1 pint (600ml) of liquid.
      4 leaves of gelatine is equal to 12g of powder.
      To bloom gelatine, it needs to be soaked in liquid to rehydrate, usually water, although using some of the liquid from the recipe (in this case, the milk) can sometimes be easier.
      Gelatine will need 10-15 minutes to bloom. For sheets, this is when they are completely soft, for powder, when it has swollen and no-longer feels hard and grainy when rubbed between finger and thumb.
      Whichever type you use, bloomed gelatine then needs gentle warming, in order to melt and mix in thoroughly with the rest of your ingredients.
      Hope this helps!
      MAB 😀

  10. Farah says:

    Hi, just wondering how this cream holds up in a tropical weather? Is it like whipped cream that is best served cold? Thank you.

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Farah!
      I suggest you treat it like buttercream. When you have used it in your recipe, keep it chilled until shortly before serving.
      Happy baking!
      MAB 😀

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