Tag: mousse

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.

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TRIPLE LAYER CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE

So 19th/20th was our first wedding anniversary. V and I completed one year and would you believe it, we could not celebrate it together! I am in India and he is in the States and though he tried he could not get leave from office.

The reason why I mention two days is because we had our Hindu wedding (V is Hindu) on the 19th of March and our Sikh wedding (I am Sikh) on 20th March. Lot of people are kind of taken aback when I tell them ours is an arranged marriage because generally in Indian culture arranged marriages happen within the same religion and only in cases of love marriages, people of different religions marry. While his family and most of my family consider our anniversary to be on the 19th, my grandparents take 20th as our wedding anniversary. I don’t mind it because it gives me two days to celebrate! It also is a good save for people who forgot or couldn’t wish me on the 19th, and a few did use that as an excuse.

Now, since I am at my in-laws and it was our first anniversary and my first trip to India after marriage, my in-laws wanted to invite V’s relatives so that I could meet all of them. My in-laws always hire a cook when they throw a party at home. So the main course and snacks were all the cook’s responsibility. I was pretty impressed by the speed with which this guy cooked. He came at 12 in the noon on the day of the party and within 5 hours prepared 4 different snacks and 6-7 main course dishes! I wish I could work so fast. I guess that’s how the real professionals work.

Since the food was the cook’s responsibility, I thought of making the dessert. I had been itching to make this triple layer chocolate cake for days, and had luckily saved the recipe. I also wanted to try these chocolate roses I had seen on Cake on the Brain a while back. Unfortunately, I did not save the tutorial for the roses and when I sat down to make the cake I did not have the recipe nor the method to make the roses as there was some problem with the internet. I did remember that the recipe called for dark chocolate and corn syrup but had no idea about the proportions. Nor did I have corn syrup on hand so I used sugar and water instead. As a result, I did end up goofing the roses a bit but nonetheless was able to pull off some passable roses.

I think I did over bake the bottom layer a tad bit even though it was in the oven for less than 14 minutes but since I was using a microwave oven I think it baked faster! So do keep an eye on the bottom layer while baking as different ovens will vary in temperature and baking time. Also, as suggested by some on Annie’s Eat, I did not butter the sides of the spring form pan as mentioned in the recipe. But, I feel because of that and over baking, the cake cracked on top. I would still suggest you to not butter the sides, since by greasing, the bottom layer retracts from the sides giving way for the second layer to fill the gaps, resulting in just two layers to be shown on the outside.

I was double minded to post this recipe since the pictures did not come out too great as 1) the cake could have been prettier and 2) I hurriedly took the pictures as I had to rush for a “phoolon ki holi” party (it was my first time at such a party and the concept behind it is that people play Holi- a spring time Hindu festival – by throwing flowers at each other!). But, the cake was such a big hit at our party and everyone just loved it. I have to admit it does taste heavenly- c’mon! three different chocolate layer- how could one go wrong! So, despite not-so tempting pictures I would still insist you should try this cake out- you will surely not be disappointed! Promise!

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