This month's Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Evelyne who asked us to make a maple mousse. Evelyne is from Quebec where spring typically begins with a pilgrimage to a sugar shack ("Cabane a Sucre"). The party continues with a feast of eggs, ham, peas, pork rinds, beans, pancakes, bacon and pies - all served with maple syrup.
The maple mousse recipe she gave us makes a mousse that is silky smooth with a pure maple flavor. There's really no substitute for the flavor of real maple. I had a couple different bottles of maple syrup in my pantry, but since this challenge was about the sugar shack tradition I used the syrup from Canada.
She also asked us to make an "edible container" to fill with our maple mousse. Her suggestion was to make a bacon cup, but she gave us the freedom to make any vessel for the mousse as long as it was edible. And even though the Daring Kitchen was having a contest for the most creative container, I was feeling very uncreative. I ultimately made tart shells from desiccated coconut and maple syrup.
I really liked the flavor of the maple mousse with the coconut tart shell. The shell had a toasted nutty flavor that complemented the maple mousse. The coconut shell was very much a like a crispier version of a coconut macaroon. The only problem I encountered was trying to get the shells out of my muffin tin without breaking.
Since both the maple syrup mousse and coconut shells were on the very sweet side, I decided to add some chocolate to half of my tarts. I had some bittersweet chocolate ganache leftover from another baking project so I added a layer of ganache to the coconut shells before layering on the maple mousse. It's a strange idea to add chocolate to cut the overall sweetness of the tart, but it really did tame it since the chocolate was on the dark side (85% cacao). I liked the addition of chocolate, but felt that it overpowered the maple mousse. I think Evelyne was right to suggest bacon as an accompaniment. The savory bacon would have went nicely with and cut the sweetness of the mousse without hiding the maple flavor.
Thanks to Evelyne for a fun challenge. That's another notch on my Daring Bakers' belt. This is the 43rd challenge I've participated in since joining the group in February 2007! Check out the other DB creations at the Daring Kitchen and be sure to vote for your favorite edible container.
Blog-checking lines: 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 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz) pure maple syrup (do not use maple-flavored syrup)
4 large egg yolks
1 package (7 g/1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin (like Knox brand)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35-40% fat content)
1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatin. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatin has completely dissolved.
5. Whisk the gelatin/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
8. Remove from the refrigerator and divide equally among your edible containers.
9. Store your maple mousse filled edible containers in the refrigerator.
Coconut Tart Shells
(makes 12 shells)
200 grams (7 ounces / about 2 cups) unsweetened desiccated coconut (I used medium flakes)
1 large egg white
1/3 cup maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a bowl mix the coconut, egg white and maple syrup well. Divide the mixture evenly among 12 wells of a standard sized muffin tin. (Be sure to spray the wells with baking spray or butter them generously. My baked shells stuck and did not want to come out of the pan without a fight.)
3. Using your hands press the coconut to create a base and sides. (To keep the coconut from sticking to your hands, dip your hands in water.)
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the shells begin to lightly brown. Remove pan from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes. Gently remove the shells from the muffin pan and let them cool completely before filling.