This is my first Daring Baker’s challenge, and I actually almost didn’t do it. I just had so much stuff on. French assignments and tests, a criminal law assignment and another one in contracts...Plus all the regular uni work. On top of that, I’ve had some illness in the family (my little sister by a year) had to get emergency surgery, and my own emergency trip to the doctor (after which I am left with no answers, but a referral for an unspeakable and highly uncomfortable test next Thursday). Life’s just been a little hectic lately. But somehow everything settled down last week and I was able to not only do the challenge, but cook other things as well!
The challenge this month, hosted by Evelyn for Cheap Ethnic Eatz and was to make a maple syrup mousse and an edible container. It was actually a dual challenge, so the daring cooks also had to do the same thing (though they’re edible containers could be filled with whatever they wanted!).
I like how much freedom this challenge gave me. All I really needed was the maple mousse, and everything else was up to me.
I decided to keep things simple though, for fear that something else would come up and I wouldn’t be able to finish the challenge, so I made edible cupcake patties, with salted pecan dulce de leche and maple mousse. Easy!
1 cup pure maple syrup (this was so expensive! $10 for just 1 cup! I could have died!)
4 large egg yolks
3 tsp agar agar (the recipe actually called for 1 packet of gelatine, but as a veggie-eater, I don’t use gelatine in my cooking)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream (35% fat content)
1. Bring maple syrup to a boil, and add agar agar. Stir in, making sure that all of it dissolves.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking. Do not pour in the lot, otherwise you’ll cook your yolks and have a great big mess on your hands.
3. Slowly add the rest in a steady stream, continuing to whisk.
4. Whisk ¼ of the whipping cream into the mixture and set aside for about an hour, whisking occasionally.
5. Whip the rest of the cream, and fold into the mixture.
6. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Salted Pecan Dulce de Leche
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
I tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
½ cup sugar
1. Place the condensed milk in a large pot filled with water, making sure it is fully immersed. Boil for an hour or two. The milk can be boiled longer and will develop a darker colour and stronger flavour. The less time boiling, the paler and less caramelly it will be.
2. Once the dulce de leche is done, wait for it to cool, before opening the can and poring the contents into a bowl.
3. In a sauce pan, dissolve the sugar with enough water just to moisten it all, and allow to caramelise.
4. Once the mixture starts to darken, add salt and pecans.
5. Once the mixture is fully caramelised, pour into the dulce de leche and, working quickly, mix it in until fully incorporated.
250 g chocolate
1. Melt chocolate in a bain-maire.
2. Remove from heat and, using a tsp, dollop a small amount into a cupcake patty.
3. With a pastry brush, brush chocolate up the sides.
4. Do the same for each patty, then refrigerate for twenty minutes.
5. Remove from fridge and coat with chocolate again, as above. The chocolate may need to be melted again, then refrigerate.
6. Follow the same process one more time. It is important that the chocolate is not thinly spread, so if you feel you haven’t made it thick enough in places, go over it again.
7. When the chocolate it set, peel the paper away.
1. Spoon dulce de leche into chocolate patties.
2. Spoon mousse into a piping bag with a wide tip and pipe into the patties.
Not too bad, huh?
Now, this is a VERY sweet dessert. Too sweet for me, though my boyfriend, best friend and housemate (plus their other halves) all loved it. Even though the agar agar hadn’t completely dissolved and there were small particles of it in the mousse....
All in all, it was a fun challenge, with a pretty good outcome.
I left some in the fridge for our other housemate (on his shelf), but unfortunately I didn’t have time to see him before I left for uni to tell that they were for him. I ended up getting a text half way through the day saying ‘Hey Jen...I’m really sorry I accidentally ate one of those cupcake things in the fridge...It was really good! I’m sorry if you wanted it for something else though.’ To which I could only laugh.
Just as a bit of a warning to everyone, because of my health issues (which I have succeeded in ignoring for quite some time) I’m going to have to get serious about the food I eat. Otherwise, I’m going to have some pretty big problems later down the track. This means that you should expect a lot more healthy recipes, and a few less unhealthy (albeit delicious) ones. I’ll still occasionally make something awful for me, but (hopefully) it’ll happen a lot less!