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 http://thedaringkitchen.com!
Sadly, I didn't have time to get real creative with this challenge, so I simply made the recipes as they were posted and did not come up with my own unique "edible container." I made a half recipe of the maple mousse and poured it into two edible almond cups. I would have loved to have tried making some bacon cups for the mousse (I love salty and sweet combos!), but I ran out of time.
The flavor in the maple mousse was absolutely amazing, though probably slightly too sweet for my taste. I hardly ever complain of anything being too sweet, so you know it must be pretty sweet! I did read that some bakers cut back about 25% on the amount of maple syrup in the recipe to decrease the sweetness just a tad. If you've never had good quality maple syrup, you really need to try it. Especially if you've been using maple-flavored pancake syrup which is nothing compared to pure maple syrup! If you're looking for a good deal, you can get a 32 oz. jug of Coomb's Family Farms 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup for $16.83 (with subscribe & save). (If you don't use maple syrup all that often, you may want to pay a little more and get two 16 oz. jugs for $17.88 since the syrup can mold after a while but has a long shelf life as long as it's sealed.)
Thanks Ria and Jamie, for hosting this month's challenge. It was the perfect way to showcase the wonderful flavor of maple syrup and I'll definitely be making it again. I've seen some pretty amazing creations on some other blogs already, so make sure you check out the Daring Bakers' Blogroll to see how everyone else enjoyed this sweet, maple-y treat.
• 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)
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.
• 24 thin slices good quality bacon
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
2. Take a muffin pan or 6 small ½ cup capacity heat-proof bowls, turn upside down and carefully form aluminum foil covers on the back of 6 muffin cups or the bowls.
3. Taking 2 strips of bacon at a time crisscross the strips over the backs of the muffin cups and cut to size a tad longer then the bottom part of the cup. Now use 1 to 2 more strips to cover the sides of the muffin cups in a weaving fashion. You want a full tight weave because bacon shrinks a lot. For smaller cups I used a shot glass with a square of bacon for the bottom and I wrapped 1 strip around the side.
4. Tuck the ends of the bacon strips inside otherwise they will curl while cooking. A good idea is to insert 4 toothpicks where the crisscrossed bacon meets in the weave.
5. Place muffin pan in a cookie tray to catch drippings. Bake in oven for about 25 to 40 minutes, or until the bacon is golden and crisp but not burned.
6. Cool completely, a good hour, before removing your cups delicately from the foil.
• 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
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.
Vegan Maple Mousse:
• 1 package (12 oz.) soft silken tofu
• ¾ cup (14 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup
• 2 tsp agar-agar
1. Let tofu come to room temperature. Using a food processor, blender, or hand mixer, blend tofu until just smooth.
2. Sprinkle agar-agar on the maple syrup and let it rest for 10 minutes. Heat maple syrup on the stove to a boil and then let it simmer 5 minutes until the agar-agar has dissolved.
3. In a food processor, blender, or a large bowl, blend the tofu with the maple syrup until creamy.
4. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Remove from the fridge and divide among your edible containers.
• 3 large egg whites at room temperature
• ¾ cup (165 g./5.5 oz) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C.
2. Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer beat for a few minutes until the whites become stiff. Now add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is stiff and glossy. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture won’t fall out.
3. Place baking parchment on to a clean baking sheet. Using a spoon or a piping bag, dollop the meringue into circles that fit inside the rim of your edible cups. (See mine, I wanted height but they fell a bit...which is OK...freeform art)
4. Put the tray in the oven, then immediately turn the oven down to 250 degrees F/130 degrees C. and bake for 45 minutes.
5. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for a few hours.
6. Place meringues as decoration on your maple mousse which has already be spooned into your edible containers.
Recipe Notes (from Evelyne):
• Putting aluminum foil on the muffin pan heat-proof bowls is essential or they will be stuck to the form. Be gentle when removing the aluminum foil from bacon cups.
• Bacon shrinks a lot so make sure weave is tight on the form. Tuck the ends of the bacon strips inside otherwise they will curl while cooking. A good idea is to insert 4 toothpicks where the crisscrossed bacon meets in the weave.
• For the nut bowls, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups of crushed.
• In the maple mousse recipe, after the gelatine has bloomed (softened) in the cold whipping cream, the gelatine MUST be heated to melt completely…contrary to popular belief. Follow the directions as described and never let gelatine boil or it will become stringy and unusable.
• If you make the meringues let them cool in the oven once they are baked… just don’t forget to turn off the oven when they are done. This cooling process will help then dry out nicely and be crispier.