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Maple Crème Brûlée

15 Jan

A few months ago, in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Milk Calendar, The Dairy Farmers of Canada sent me a beautiful basket filled with baked goods and an advanced copy of the 2012 Milk Calendar. I have been a huge fan of the Milk Calendar for many years (who doesn’t love it?) and I have lost count on the number of great recipes I have tried out.

I was looking for a dessert to bring to a family gathering and I knew that it had to suit East Indian palates and be “comforting” as it was freezing cold outside! I hopped online and visited one of my favourite websites, http://www.MyMilkCalendar.ca and there it was, Maple Crème Brûlée from the 2002 edition of the Milk Calendar. The creamy, milky, delicious goodness of that rich custard would be perfect! The best part? I had all of the ingredients readily available at home, including a bottle of maple syrup that had been begging to be used for more than just pancakes!

The Maple Crème Brûlée was fairly easy to make and it wasn’t too sweet at all. Another hit from the Milk Calendar!

Maple Crème Brûlée, from the 2002 Milk Calendar

(This recipe can be found here at http://www.dairygoodness.ca/recipes/maple-creme-brulee)

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups (310 mL) milk

3/4 cup (180 mL) real whipping cream

3 tbsp (45 mL) sugar

1/3 cup (80 mL) pure maple syrup

3 eggs

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

1/3 cup (80 mL) packed brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 °F (150 °C). In heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat milk, real whipping cream and sugar until steaming. In bowl, whisk together maple syrup and eggs until frothy; gradually whisk in steaming cream mixture in slow steady stream. Whisk in vanilla extract.

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into six 4-oz (125 mL) ramekins or custard cups. Place ramekins in large pan; fill pan with enough hot water to come three-quarters up sides of ramekins. Bake for about 40 min or until tops are firm and centre is still slightly jiggly. Let cool on rack.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours, until chilled or for up to 2 days. Just before serving, blot top of custards with paper towel do dry. Sprinkle thin layer of brown sugar through sieve over each custard. Place under hot broiler; broil for about 3 min or until sugar is bubbling and caramelized. Let cool to harden.

To see all of the past Milk Calendar recipes dating back to 1974, visit http://www.MyMilkCalendar.ca – you won’t be disappointed in this amazing collection of recipes.

What are your favourite recipes from the Milk Calendar?

Chocolate Mousse

25 Oct

A few days ago I received an email asking if I wanted to be a part of a recipe challenge and try a few of Jacques Pepin’s recipes from his latest cookbook, Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food. I was provided with recipes for an appetizer, main dish and a dessert and guess where my eyes went first….to the dessert recipe! As soon as I saw that it was for a chocolate mousse, I knew I had to make it. It didn’t hurt that I already had all of the ingredients at home (any excuse to have chocolate!). I was pretty pleased with this recipe and I enjoyed the rich taste and texture of the mousse. This is a heavy mousse, so a small serving is definitely enough (not that you can’t go back for seconds!).

Chocolate Mousse

(Original recipe, excerpted from Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pepin)

Serves 6

Made with a warm emulsion of egg yolks and sugar, and finished with cream, this is the most classic of chocolate mousses. Cognac works well with chocolate, but it can be replaced by dark rum or Grand Marnier for a different flavour.

1/3 cup sugar

4 large egg yolks

10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted (See “How to melt chocolate” below)

2 cups heavy cream (a.k.a Whipping Cream)

2 teaspoons cognac

My notes on the ingredients:

-For the chocolate, I used a mix of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate

-Instead of cognac, I used dark rum

Directions:

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and combine the rest of the sugar with the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl in a skillet of hot tap water (or use a double boiler), and whisk the mixture for 3 minutes, or until it is fluffy, smooth, and at least doubled in volume.

Beat the reserved sugar with the cream in a large chilled bowl for a few minutes, or until soft peaks form; do not overwhip. Transfer about 3/4 cup of the whipped cream to another bowl to use as a decoration, and refrigerate.

Using a rubber spatula, combine the melted chocolate with the yolk mixture and the cognac. If the mixture starts to seize or break down, immediately stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream to smooth out the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until incorporated. Transfer the mousse to a decorative bowl, cover, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

At serving time, whip the reserved 3/4 cup whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate the top of the mousse with the cream, or spoon dollops of the cream onto the top of the mousse. Serve.

My notes on the directions:

-Be careful when you’re adding the alcohol to the yolk and melted chocolate mixture, as it may start to seize or breakdown, as mine did! Thankfully, I followed the direction to immediately stir some of the whipped cream into the mixture and it smoothed it out like a charm!

-I ended up with small morsels of solid chocolate in my mousse, likely due to the fact that it had seized, however I actually enjoyed the interesting texture it created

-I don’t think I will add any alcohol to the recipe next time as I’m not sure if it added much to the mousse

How to melt chocolate

Chocolate should be cut into small pieces of about equal size; the smaller the pieces, the faster they will melt.

To melt chocolate in a microwave oven, cover it and microwave it for 1-minute segments, leaving 3- to 4-minute intervals between the microwaving segments, so it does not scorch.

To melt chocolate conventionally, put the chocolate pieces in a stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of hot water and stir occasionally until the chocolate melts.

 What’s your favourite chocolate dessert? 

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