Monday, October 12, 2009

Inspired by Tartelette...

which is not quite the same as copying! However, I did follow her recipe fairly closely, so I'm not going to write it out here. If you go want to check it out, visit Tartelette and look for her Vanilla Salted Butter Caramel and Chocolate Mousse recipe. All I did was exchange pumpkin puree for the chocolate and use this maple caramel recipe (half the amount) instead of the plain caramel. I omitted the pecans and made sure not to cook the caramel too long, as I wanted something that would fold into the mousse base.

As I'm taking this to work, and as it really requires individual presentation, and as all my clear ramekins are at my parents', I used cheapo plastic cups to layer the deserts. I suppose I could have used my white ramekins, but the layers are what makes this so pretty! I did, however, make just one for my super fancy Mikasa Palatial Gold Champagne Flute. (Yes, it requires Capital Letters.) Just so that the photo would look better than the real thing!

Adventures along the way:

The first layer was going to be plain vanilla custard, but wouldn't you know it: I cooked the yolks for the first batch of custard. The following process then occured:
Brain: oh no! Custard should be smooth! This has the texture of pumpkin puree! (frantically whisking and sieving)
Other brain (I carry an extra for emergencies like this one): Pumpkin...well, why don't you just make this the pumpkin layer then!
Brain: Ok, in it goes!
Other brain: Wait! Don't you need to add spices?
Brain (sheepishly): Oh yeah. (In go random amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.)
Other brain: And do you really think people will appreciate the taste of raw pumpkin? Shouldn't you have cooked that up together with the custard?
Brain (even more sheepishly): Oh yeah. (Dumps pumpkin in saucepan.) Maybe if I heat it through it will take the edge off?
Nose (sniffing): well, it smells ok so far...

And that was just the first layer!

Making the caramel, I realized that I need (yes, that's need, not want) a digital candy thermometre. Mine might as well say 'hottish' and 'kinda getting close to boiling' and 'oops, that was too much heat for too long'. The caramel, which needs to be soft enough to fold into the mousse (i.e. more liquid than solid) was, although delicious and mapley, definitely not in the mood to be folded into anything. I couldn't remake it because I have a limited supply of whipping cream on hand and it's Thanksgiving; nothing's open. So I heated it a little to soften it, and then did my best to whip some of it into the mousse. The leftovers make really yummy candies, though!

I made the mousse recipe 3 times to make the 3 layers in greater quantities. This meant increasing the amounts of pumpkin and caramel as well. I also made 1.5 times the original amount each time. Now, my math skills aren't exactly what you would call stellar, but I am aware that this probably throws the proportions all out of whack. I'm just hoping that doesn't matter too much for mousse.

The last time I made the mousse was the best yet...I think. I really wanted to make sure this one wouldn't cook up at all, so I left it fairly thin. I was also about 1/2 cup short for whipping cream. I'm hoping a night in the fridge will solve that.

Of course, after separating 16 eggs for the yolks, I now have ridiculous amounts of egg white lying around...some of them will go into a White Spice Pound Cake (see above post).

After all that chatter, here's the final product. If you want to, you can click on the picture to see a close-up, but then the smears on the wall behind the glass become painfully clear...

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