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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maple Mousse served in Chocolate Nut Cups - April Daring Bakers Challenge

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap 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!

Here I go, limping along, posting late as usual and doing only the basics for the challenge. However, it's done, thank goodness! I have been looking at the superbly artistic entries on the Daring Bakers website - there is a feast beautifully made, top level desserts. I can learn a lot from browsing through them and experimenting with some of the ideas.

I made half portions of the recipe for the nut cups and the mousse and used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips for the dipping chocolate and pecans for the nut base. The chocolate was an ideal match - anything sweeter would not have tasted good. I also loved the nut cups and formed them in a mini cupcake pan. I got 10 cups out of the recipe; the ones not on the plate have been gobbled up by the baker. I did not care for the Maple mousse so much as I thought it was a bit too sweet and only faintly tasted of maple syrup. I will definitely try the cups again, maybe even with finely ground nuts to give a more even shell. Here is the recipe for this fun challenge:

Nut Bowls:
Ingredients:• 1 1/2 cups crushed nuts of your choice such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts• 1 egg, beaten, at room temperature• 2 tbsp sugar• 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces
Directions:1. Use a food processor or a zip-lock back with a rolling pin to crush your nuts if whole, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups crushed. You want it somewhat coarse.2. In a bowl mix the nuts with the beaten egg and the sugar.3. Take 6 small ½ cup capacity Pyrex cups or a similar container and line the inside with aluminum foil. Spread ¼ cup of the mixture in the bowl, all the way up to the sides making sure you have a thin and even clean layer all around.4. Bake at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. until the nuts are golden and fragrant (about 15 minutes). Let cool completely before unmolding.5. Melt chocolate (either in the microwave or over a double boiler). Dip the rims of the cooled nut bowls in the chocolate. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened and is set.

Maple Mousse:
Ingredients:• 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)• 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)
Directions:1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.2. 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).3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.4. 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.5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.7. 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.8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.

Now it's onward to May - only one night to go before I know what it is.