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!
I’ve been so busy—what with moving from Oregon to Colorado, getting special needs services established for my son, helping my dad prepare for two vegetable gardens, and getting a small business off the ground—that I almost didn’t have time to make this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge. But seeing as how I had to bow out of March’s challenge, I put in the extra effort to squeeze in the time last night and this morning.
The challenge suggested two varieties of edible cups, made of either ground nuts or woven slices of bacon, and I chose the former because my mother has made the choice to stop eating pork. But I can imagine all sorts of edible cup options here: the one that immediately sprang to mind for me was prosciutto, but you could also go with the classic shaped tuile or florentine, a lacy chocolate cup, miniature tart pan with a standard crust or shortbread dough, or even a bread cup like the ones I just used to hold blueberry betty.
I used almonds because I knew where to find them in my mother’s pantry, ground in the food processor with a handful of banana chips just for fun. I found that one egg was not quite enough binder for this amount of nuts, but a teaspoon or so of water helped bring everything together in a sticky mass. I was then able to use the back of a spoon to press the nuts first into the sides, then the bottoms of 6 small foil-lined bowls and bake them off in the oven until they had set. The next morning, thoroughly cooled, I dipped them into a bowl of melted chocolate chips tempered with a bit of coconut oil.
The mousse itself seemed like an odd recipe. I kept thinking that I should be stirring the gelatin into the warm maple syrup and not the cold cream, but I followed the directions as closely as possible. I did make a slight adjustment because I didn’t have as much cream or as much maple as I needed for a full batch. The other problem turned out to be that my little guy was just about ready for bed when the gelatin mixture was ready to be folded into the whipped cream; he didn’t want me to put him down, so I ended up streaming the gelatin mixture into the cream one-handed with the stand mixer running. It didn’t end up as fluffy as intended this way, more like a Bavarian cream than a mousse to my palate. But it was time to call it a night, so I just tossed the bowl in the fridge and came back to it while Nolan was in preschool the next morning.
The mousse set firmly enough overnight that I could scoop it with a disher and then arrange the scoops artfully with my fingers. Something tells me that I used too much gelatin—this is one dessert my husband will not mind having missed out on. My parents enjoyed it, however, and I thought it wasn’t bad.
I had a bit of leftover chocolate after drizzling it over the filled cups, so I decided to try one more variation: S’mores! The mousse reminded me so much of marshmallows that I couldn’t resist smearing chocolate onto some graham crackers and filling them with wedges of mousse. Does this count as an edible container? I’m not so sure, but it was dead easy and just as tasty as the nut cups! I even stuck some pieces of crisp bacon in the middle, as a nod to the bacon cups. This version was a favorite with Nolan: Although he carefully removed most of the mousse from his first piece, he ate every bit of his second helping.
I am a member of the Theta Class of the Daring Bakers, induced in July of 2007. For more information and a list of my previous challenges, click here.