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.