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 struggled for ideas, and after seeing some of the mind-blowing creations posted by the other Daring Bakers, I’m feeling a little shy about posting my efforts.
We’d been rather busy, so I knew I didn’t have much time to bake a creative container. It needed to be relatively fast, and use minimal ingredients. So I made caramel baskets. You’ll find heaps of info on the net for how to make these things, and the usual advice is to make them on the back of an oiled ladle. But I tried it this way about six times and could not remove the caramel from the back of the spoon, it kept breaking. Highly frustrating!
This way leads to madness
Luckily, I found a great piece of advice in The Cake Bible. Over an upturned mould (a heatproof bowl or cup), gently smooth some aluminium foil, making sure to get it under the mould. Try not to let too many wrinkles or folds develop as this can catch the sugar making it hard to remove. Then oil the foil liberally, and drip the caramel onto it.
When set, carefully unfold the foil, and peel it away from the caramel strands. I found bunching the foil towards the centre was the best way to go. Also, using a mould with a smaller base than a mouth worked best.
But we all know how temperamental caramel can be, add the teeniest bit of liquid and it starts to melt all over itself. So I needed a protective layer between the mousse and the caramel. Simplest solution I could think of? A chocolate cone. To make this, make a baking paper cone, and balance it in a cup in the fridge to chill. I stapled the paper to hold it together, make sure the staple is high enough away so it doesn’t get coated in chocolate. Melt some chocolate (temper it if you will, I didn’t because I intended to store the cone in the fridge anyway), then pour it into the cold cone and swirl it around. Return to fridge to set. Peel off paper when ready to use.
After I finished, I felt like I needed to do more. So I melted more sugar and stirred in some toasted hazelnuts to make praline. I then blitzed the praline to a powder, put teaspoonfuls of the powder into a circular shape on some baking paper, and baked it at about 180˚C until the praline melted and melded together. Then I removed the circles and put in muffin cups to cool, like making tuiles.
Which is how this next basket came about. The dried fruit garnish is from a failed attempt to dry them into a container shape.
Realised I didn't take a photo of the praline tuile-cups, you can just sort of make it out in there.
By this stage, my tongue was crying out for relief from all the sweetness. So I made more caramel. Go figure. Actually, there was a method to my madness, I added ground coffee beans and sesame seeds to this lot, so the caramel had a bitter edge. Voila, another container was born.
This one with a lid too.
The lid actually had a teeny bit of foil stuck inside, oops.
But the base was definitely edible, and I ate it all up :) You can see coffee bean flecks in the caramel, and some mousse remnants at the bottom of the container.
Then I was done.
And before I go, please do remember to check out what the other Daring Bakers have made. You can find the recipe for the maple mousse at The Daring Kitchen, or on Evelyne's blog (both linked at start of post).