Category Archives: Recipes – Entrement: Mousse, slices, tarts

Chocolate hazelnut mousse entremet


What’s more delicious than a pot of velvety chocolate mousse?” I asked J, my 5 year old daughter. She looked puzzled, not that she didn’t understand me, but that it was already quite up there on her ‘best food moments’ list I think.

One decorated with all sorts of chocolatey bites and pearls, perhaps?” I offered and her eyes lit up like the time she got Movenpick ice cream at a buffet and realised she could go back for more.

Yes!!!!” She said, grabbing onto my arm and shaking it excitedly, “we could put those little pearls and even gummies!

Next, we were both in the pantry looking for all sorts of things to use to decorate our little pots of black gold…

I gave J creative freedom to do what she wanted to the pots while trying to explain the concept of ‘less is more’ – I think I failed. I must be kidding myself to think I could persuade a 5 year old to put less chocolate on!

(After thought – for adult versions, do exercise control over how much more chocolate you add. As the mousse is already quite sweet, adding too many more sweet elements to it may just tip the balance!)

Biscuit base
250g nice biscuits, blitzed into crumbs
125g unsalted butter, melted

Hazelnut spread layer
Leoine or Nutella hazelnut spread

Chocolate Mousse
180g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
170g unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee (optional)
4 large eggs, separated
4 + 1 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) (or use Cointreau for orange-flavoured mousse)

Textural component / Decoration (optional)

  • Valrhona chocolate pearls (for crunch)
  • Dark or milk chocolate squares – for artistic/structural representation
  • Chocolate spheres – I used ones with blueberry pieces in it
  • Candy gems – for texture and children  (or the young at heart)
  • Edible soil – cocoa powder or blitzed chocolate biscuits
  • Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder – for colour and taste contrast

1. Mix the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs. Divide into serving bowls or pots and push with finger tips to form a firm base. Place in fridge to firm up.

2. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate  and Frangelico (also add coffee now if you are using), stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Add the cubed butter in and mix gently. Remove from heat.

20140316-220614.jpg

3. Beat the yolks of the eggs with 4 tablespoons of sugar for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick.

20140316-220841.jpg

4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. Let it cool.

20140317-155241.jpg

5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff.

6. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites until just incorporated.

7. Remove your serving bowls from the fridge. Spread hazelnut chocolate (I used Leoine, you can use Nutella if you wish) onto the surface of the crumb layer.

20140317-155344.jpg

8. Pour the mousse into the serving bowls, layering alternately with a biscuit crumb layer and more mousse.

9. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

10. Add your textural components before serving – I’ve chosen chocolate squares, pearls, biscuit crumbs, blueberry-in-chocolate balls and freeze dried raspberry powder for added taste and textural comparison. The sharpness of the raspberry powder cuts through the sweetness of the mousse which is my 5% magic for this mouth watering dessert. (Why oh why am I giving this away?!?!?!)

11. These are served in tiny pots here, you can equally plate them in larger vessels. Trust me, no one will complain!

Oreos no bake cheesecake


Time for another cheesecake. J and I flipped through cookbooks for cheesecake ideas and she spotted some pictures of cookies and cream cheesecakes. She begged for it but I wasn’t quite happy with the recipe as it called for a few more ingredients that I didn’t have and I thought there was way too much cream in the recipe.

What do you do when that happens? Create your own recipe!

I’ve used the base for my mango cheesecake, noted the need to add gelatine to help firm up the no-bake cheesecake, used thickened cream instead of whipped cream and threw in blitzed Oreos crumbs to create that cookies-and-cream effect.

These are not too sweet at all and you can consider adding 200g melted dark chocolate into the cream cheese mixture, if you would like a richer chocolate taste to it.

What I’ve also done, as I’m sure was what caught your eye in the first place, is that as well as assembling normally in a springform cake tin (which the recipe below shows), I’ve also gone creative and assembled them in little mini glasses. Aren’t they gorgeous?

The recipe was enough for me to make an 8″ cheesecake plus 6 mini desserts. J loved these, especially the little tiny crunchy balls of chocolate!

Ingredients

250g nice biscuits
100g melted butter

2 blocks (16 oz total) cream cheese
1 can caramel or condensed milk
600ml thickened cream (fat content >36%)
1 cup crushed Oreos
Extra Oreos for decoration
4 tsp gelatine dissolved in 150ml hot water

Optional:
Extra blitzed Oreos for decoration – these are my ‘edible dirt’
crunchy Valrhona pearls

Instructions

1. Smash biscuits into fine crumbs. Mix with melted butter and press onto the base of a lined springform tin. Chill in the fridge.

2. Beat the cream cheese and caramel/ condensed milk until smooth.

3. Add the gelatine to a bowl of hot water, mix vigorously. Add to the cream cheese mixture.

4. Add heavy cream and crushed Oreos to the mixture.

5. Pour into the crumb-lined tin.

6. Push Oreos randomly onto the surface and chill for at least 5 hours.

Lemon Slice


DSC_2212

I’ve been challenging myself to do different things in the kitchen. I’ve never really been into slices and I thought I should start with some basic and simple recipes. Since I have cans of condensed milk and lemons at home, I thought to give this recipe a try. It turned out quite nicely and this is definitely a welcomed change from the long hours spent in the kitchen for my macaron production.

Ingredients

Base
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
150 g unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk, 400g
3 eggs
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup icing sugar, for dusting

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 18cm x 28cm slice tray or lamington pan.

2. Combine ingredients for base, mix well. Press mixture into pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Place Sweetened Condensed Milk and eggs in a bowl, beat well. Add lemon zest and juice, extra flour and baking powder, beat until combined. Pour over base. Return to oven, bake a further 25-30 minutes until topping is set.

4. Allow to cool in pan, refrigerate. Cut into squares and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

DSC_2222

Maltesers slice


Finally, a recipe that ticks all (almost) the boxes for J to do by herself. With the exception of handling the hot melting ingredients, she did these by herself. I’m so proud!

DSC_2323

Ingredients

  • 100 grams butter
  • 400 grams dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 250 grams digestive biscuits (finely crushed)
  • 250 grams maltesers (enough to dot over the surface of your pan or tin)

Method

  1. Place biscuits in a zip lock bag, and bash them into smithereens. J did this in mere minutes.
  2. While that is happening, melt together the butter, chocolate and condensed milk in a heavy-based saucepan, then add the crushed biscuits.
  3. Mix together quickly then pour into a lined swiss roll tin.
  4. Strategically place whole maltesers on the surface of the mixture.
  5. Chill, and cut into squares for serving.

DSC_2325

It was so easy and quick, delicious too!
DSC_2324

Super easy, child-friendly (but not quite healthy) chocolate mousse


DSC_2302

This chocolate mousse recipe was adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Instant Chocolate Mousse. I’ve found that I need a higher cream to chocolate ratio for a more pourable mixture, resulting in a silky smooth mousse. This is really quite indulgent and melt-in-your-mouth.

What I like about this recipe is there is not much waiting time and is fairly easy to do. It also doesn’t involve raw eggs, hence I wrote ‘child-friendly’ in the title. It is certainly NOT quite healthy as there are large quantities of cream and chocolate involved, so I suggest you make your portions really small. With vessel availability and fridge space in mind, I divided this recipe up into 10 serves. I even went halfs with my daughter! Remember, the better quality chocolate you use, the better the experience!

DSC_2303

Ingredients
150 g mini marshmallows
60 g butter
250 g dark chocolate, I use Whittakers, Valrhona or Callebaut callets
60 ml hot water
330 ml fresh cream
1/2 teaspoon Equagold vanilla paste

Method
1. Put the mini marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
2. Put the saucepan over gentle heat to melt the contents, stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the pan (the chocolate can stick very quickly). Remove from the heat to cool. You can put the pan in a larger vessel containing cold water to speed up the cooling process.
3. Meanwhile, beat the cream with the vanilla paste until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.
4. Pour into 10 small glasses or ramekins, and chill until set (takes only about 20 minutes for it to set).

DSC_2308

This one is styled by J:
DSC_2309