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!
1. I’m a vegetarian who dreams about fried chicken. On occasion.
2. I eat string cheese almost every day. Yep. I’m 23 going on 4.
3. I have never made mousse. Never ever ever.
Number 3 is why I do Daring Bakers Challenges…so I can make things I’ve never made before! If I were left totally to my own devices, I would only bake cinnamon rolls and peanut butter and jelly bars.
For the challenge, we also had to make some sort of edible container for our maple mousse. One of the suggestions given was to make bacon cups…but alas, I don’t eat bacon. I do however love that flavor combination. I may or may not enjoy dipping my Morningstar Farms fake bacon in maple syrup. So instead, I made miniature almond cups, using some hickory smoked almonds. Thennnn because I also adore the combination of maple and peanut butter, I made some peanut butter crumbles to sprinkle on top of the mousse.
I was a little nervous about all the flavors would meld together, but I’m super happy with the results. I mixed regular almonds and smoked almonds for the cups, so there was just enough smoky flavor without it being overwhelming. And I love the texture contrasts between the crunchy cups, the fluffy mousse, and the moist crumbles. While my mousse wasn’t as totally smooth as I would have liked it to be, I’ll chalk this up to being a mousse virgin before today. The flavor is phenomenal, and it’s still fluffy and kind of addictive. I defs won’t shy away from making mousse anymore, so thank you Daring Bakers!
Maple Mousse in Smoked Almond Cups
Makes 16 mini cups, with about 1/2 cup extra mousse
For almond cups
1 cup raw almonds, finely ground (easiest in a food processor)
1/2 cup hickory smoked almonds (I used Blue Diamond Smokehouse), finely ground
2 TBS granulated sugar
2 large egg whites (save yolks for the mousse)
2 TBS melted butter
For maple mousse
1 cup grade A maple syrup
4 large egg yolks
1 package (about 1 TBS) unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1. For almond cups – Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position. Line a miniature muffin cup pan with foil mini muffin liners (you can also just put them on a baking sheet, they hold their shape).
2. In a small bowl, stir together all the ground almonds and the sugar. Add the egg whites and melted butter and stir to completely combine. Scoop about 1/2 TBS into each muffin cup and use the measuring spoon to press the nut mixture into the muffin cup and up the sides so that when you remove the liner, the crust will hold the shape of the cup. Bake cups for about 11-13 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Let cool completely before removing cups from the foil liners.
3. For mousse – In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat maple syrup over high heat until just boiling. Whisk a little of the maple syrup into the egg yolks to temper them, then gradually whisk in the rest of the syrup.
4. Pour 1/4 cup of whipping cream into a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle gelatin over the whipping cream. Stir it in and let it rest for 5 minutes. Heat whipping cream mixture in the microwave for 40 seconds in 10 second intervals, stirring between intervals to make sure the gelatin is totally dissolved in the whipping cream.
5. Whisk the whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture. Let stand for about an hour, whisking occasionally, until the mixture has the consistency of a raw egg white.
6. In a medium bowl, whip the remaining cream on high speed with an electric mixture. Whip the cream to soft peaks.
Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple mixture to lighten it. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the maple mixture with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Fill cooled nut cups as desired (I piped the mousse in).
Mousse recipe adapted from Jaime Oliver is not my boyfriend
Peanut Butter Crumble
Makes about 1 cup, more than enough for mousse cups
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 TBS unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg white (from mousse)
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF with a rack in the middle position. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until crumbly. Spread evenly on foil lined baking sheet and bake for about 7-9 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet. Sprinkle crumbles over mousse cups and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe adapted from Koko Cooks
What do you think about my edible container decision? If mine is chosen as a finalist…and you like it, head over to the Daring Kitchen until May 27th to vote for it! Happy baking!