Crème Caramel and Mousse au Chocolat
I used to be rather fond of those boxed brownie or cake mixes. Betty Crocker brownies were so very convincing that I’d sell them at my high school’s bake sale to little pudgy gluttons. Creme caramel mixes weren’t too bad either. They had a strange gelatinous, yet creamy texture and a very un-caramely taste which suited me just fine since I’m not keen on caramel (or toffee, nougat, raisins, dates, figs and marmite).
Boiling sugar is some tricky business. It takes ages to boil over a medium heat and the moment you turn your away it burns. It’s definitely one of the most boring things I’ve had to make in a while. Fortunately I wasn’t the most incompetent when it came to creme caramel making. D-bag was back in the classroom, joining forces with slow-mo in a cataclysmic team. They managed to overspill two pots of milk and burn three pots of caramel, resulting in no creme and no caramel. Back with a bang I say.
My Crème Caramel turned out to be a beauty. It didn’t break (the chef’s did though – Hah!), it had a nice smooth top and bottom, and the caramel was a nice colour. However, I hope I’m not being too blasphemous here by saying I prefer my boxed creme caramel mixes. This one, even though it had that wiggly texture and creamy consistency, it just tasted and smelt eggy which is never a great thing.
My heart sank and my upper arms whinged when I read that the mousse au chocolat packed in three yolks and four whites. It was going to entail some painful whisking again and it screamed “EGGY”! However, I was pleasantly surprised by how I couldn’t taste or smell the eggs, and had the chocolate been of better quality I would’ve been licking it out of the bowl straight. Too bad they looked like man turds when I tried to plate with cannelles.
What scored zero in both, taste and aesthetics, was the Ile Flottante. DISGUSTING. We piped out little idiotic meringue balls and poached them in the microwave. I don’t think microwaves should be used for anything but re-heating take-aways or making popcorn, and here we were micro-zapping meringues. It made the meringue soggy and absolutely unappetising. This has got to be the worst dessert I’ve ever come across. Poached, microwaved meringues, with creme anglais sauce. Yukh.
Mousse au Chocolat
250g chocolate (the finest you can find)
1. Chop the chocolate and butter into pieces and melt over a bain marie.
2. Whip whites till you can see the traces of the whisk. Add in sugar and gradually whisk to a stiff peak (or skip all this manual nonsense and dump it in a mixer).
3. Break the yolks up and pour into the chocolate. Fold gently but well.
4. Pour meringue into the chocolate and fold with whisk (be careful not to beat or over-fold). Pour into ramekins and chill.
5. Serve as cannelles or in ramekins.
1. Mix sugar and water together in a small saucepan. Heat over a medium heat, mixing constantly. Skim off the froth.
2. When syrup reaches 140C, check the colour and consistency. It should be a dark caramel colour at around 160C.
3. Pour caramel into the bottom of ramekins.
3 whole eggs
1 vanilla pod
1. Slit the vanilla pod and place in milk. Bring to a boil.
2. Whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Pour boiling milk into egg and sugar mixture and whisk.
3. Use a strainer to pour the mix into the ramekins over the caramel.
4. Place moulds/ramekins in an oven-proof bain marie with hot water and bake at 160C for 45 minutes.
5. When cooked pass the tip of a paring knife around the edges to free the top from the mould. Place a plate over the top and flip over the mould to loosen the creme caramel onto the serving plate.