April DB Challenge: Maple Mousse served in Edible Containers
It’s that time of the month again. The Daring Bakers’ challenge time. I joined the Daring Baker (here on referred as DB) gang in February. I could not complete my first DB challenge. For the March challenge I posted late (all DB members have to post their version of the challenge recipe on the 27th of every month irrespective of when they complete the challenge). So for the April DB challenge, I really had to get it right and that too on time. Luckily I was at my parents house and not traveling so I got the time to complete the challenge.
The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blogCheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
You do not get maple syrup where my parents stay and places in India where you do get it, it is pretty expensive. Luckily, my mom had a bottle of maple syrup which she grudgingly allowed me to use, else I would have had to sit this one out too. I did have a lot of ingredient and other technical issues though because of which things I would have liked to make as containers I couldn’t. It was fun nonetheless.
Since I am still learning my way with gelatin, I did experience some problem with the cooking of the mousse and thought it wouldn’t set but the next day when I checked it had set. I made three different types of mousses to go with the different containers I planned. I divided the mousse into three parts and added flavorings accordingly. To one part I added garam masala, the other I left plain and to the third I added instant espresso powder.
I have made sugar bowls (for my homemade coconut ice cream) and bread tartlets (with caramelized onion fillings) in the past which would have made excellent pairings with the maple mousse (though would suggest you to make some changes in your maple syrup if you using the sugar bowls- it would just become too sweet). But since we were not supposed to use anything from previous posts I came up with the following four containers for this creamy, sweet maple mousse.
One, I made with cucumber and carrots, that I boiled and placed on a plate and microwaved between paper towels with a weight on top (to absorb the water that the vegetables have naturally) . The result was this paper-thin vegetable bowls- which were beautiful (The idea for this came from something I read about vegetable papyrus sometime back). I think they are a very easy and attractive way to dress up any appetizer/dessert. The crispiness of the vegetables contrasted well with the delicateness of the mousse. Also, since I read that the mousse will be very sweet (I did reduce the amount of sugar called for), to pair it with the paper thin vegetable bowls I added a heaping teaspoon of garam masala. I think the taste was great! You could glaze the bowls at time of serving with some maple syrup to give a nice flavour to the bowls.
One could come up with several variations of these bowls. Even orange rind would be a great combo. I wanted to make zucchini paper bowls as well as lotus roots paper bowls since I though they would pair up well with the sweet mousse but finding ingredients where my parents stay was a task. So I stuck to what I had on hand and with the garam masala mousse the cucumber and carrot bowls were great.
My second attempt at edible containers were nest bowls from noodles. I thought the noodles would give an excellent crunchy and salty contrast to the mousse and oh boy I was right. I paired the noodle nest bowls with the espresso mousse. (While photographing I realised that the mousse actually looked like an egg- making it a fabulous addition for an Easter Day spread!). The espresso mousse was divine. Maple and coffee are a wonderful combination.
I wanted to make waffles bowls to pair with the plain maple mousse but since the waffle iron that my mom has, was packed in some trunk in the garage, I was not be able to make them. Also, since I am not a fan of bacon I did not try any bacon bowls- but I am sure those who like bacon would love the mousse with the bacon.
My plain mousse did not set properly, as a result of which I thought of freezing the mixture for my third shot at an edible container. I decided to make some maple mousse filled white chocolate bites. I put a little melted white chocolate in an ice cube tray. Added some mousse and topped with a mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate and froze the mixture. It made delicious bites.
My fourth edible container was a take on fried ice cream- a Fried Maple Mousse. I had some mousse left of each kind. So, I mixed it all up, all the while thinking- what am I doing mixing garam masala plus coffee plus maple syrup- I can’t be thinking straight, can I? Surprisingly, it tasted quite good. And combine this with deep fried goodness- voila! you have a great dessert!
My favorite, purely based on taste, among the four containers was the espresso mousse in the noodle nest bowl. The prettiest, of course, were the paper thin vegetable bowls. My parents and I had a fun time devouring all the versions.
I was blown away by everybody’s creativity for this challenge. Some really awesome and innovative edible containers. The DB group is a talented lot and be sure to check out everybody’s creation on the Daring Bakers’ site.
I am sorry for not having any pictures for the method I used to make each container. It was the first time I was trying each version and was not sure whether I will be able to pull each off. But, I will try to explain it in the best possible way I can.
MAPLE MOUSSE AND EDIBLE CONTAINERS
- 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup) (I used 3/4 cup)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)
- Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
- Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
- Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.
- Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
- Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
- Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.
Garam Masala Mousse in Paper thin Carrot and Cucumber containers
Slice the vegetables real thin (A mandoline would be great, but a knife would work as well- I don’t have a mandoline , so I speak from experience). In fact even if you don’t get them real thin- it would be fine as after boiling and pressing them, they become paper thin.
Put the sliced vegetable in boiling water till they become tender (You should be able to pierce the vegetable with a fork). The cucumber did not take much time but the carrot took longer. Place a paper towel on a plate and line the vegetable pieces on the plate, overlapping them slightly. Place another paper towel and on top place another plate. Put some bowls or anything else as a weight.
Microwave for three minutes- one minute at a time, replacing the paper towels each time as they get wet from the moisture the vegetables are leaving. For the cucumber, three minutes was enough but for the carrot it took longer.
The end result would be like handmade paper. If they are still a little wet, then you can place the vegetable paper between two paper towels and put a clean cotton sheet on top and iron it out. Then twist and turn to get a bowl shape, or place in a bowl and put another bowl on top and let sit for a while. You will get your desired bowl shape.
Espresso Mousse in Nest shaped noodle bowls
For making the crunchy nest shaped noodle bowl, boil some noodles in water till they are soft. Do not put any oil in the water while you are cooking the noodles, because you want the noodles to stick together once cooked. If you have a steel “tea” strainer- great. If not, you can use a steel ladle. Lay the noodles in the strainer, covering it completely but at the same time not making a very thick layer. Heat oil on a high flame. Once the oil is hot, (check with some scrap boiled noodles), immerse the tea strainer or ladle in the hot oil. Fry till golden brown putting pressure down on the noodles with the back of the spoon, so that they do not float out from the strainer. Lay on paper towels and let cool. Spoon in the mousse and eat away to glory. This is also a great way to serve ice cream and believe me, you will fall in love with the combination!
Maple mousse filled white chocolate
Melt some white chocolate. Spoon a tiny amount in a greased ice cube tray (or a chocolate mould, if you have one). Add a teaspoon of mousse and top with a mix of melted white chocolate (I added some melted dark chocolate as well as it was left over from something I had made). Freeze the mixture. Once set, remove the mousse filled chocolate from moulds and pop into your mouth!
Deep Fried Garam Masala Coffee Mousse
Put the garam masala-coffee- maple mousse in the freezer. Once hard, scoop out small balls (I did not have much left- but if you plan to do this with the whole mousse I would suggest scooping out bigger balls) and with your hands, working very quickly, make round balls. Set them in the freezer again. Crush some corn flakes mixed with cinnamon powder. After about 4 hours of freezing time, roll the mousse balls in the cornflakes and set them in the freezer to set for another 4 hours. (there will be some crushed corn flakes left which you will use for the second coating).
In a bowl, beat an egg. Roll the corn flakes coated frozen mousse balls in the beaten egg and again coat them with the crushed cornflakes, making sure the mousse is completely covered with the cornflakes. Heat oil for deep frying on a high flame in a thick bottom pan. The oil should be very hot, since you want only the cornflakes to get fried and the frozen mousse to stay in tact. Fry the balls till golden brown on the outside. Remove and serve immediately.