Lavender & Callebaut Mousse with Biscotti Crumble

Yeah – I make mousse too.

Let me tell you though, this was one hell of an experiment.

If you’re new here, what you need to know is that I am not a chef. I do however, cook for my restaurant. Apparently you need that qualification to call your self a chef.

So, I, Cenéa the Not-Chef, spend my spare time scouring the internet for recipes to test, learn and improve. I take my knowledge of the functions and behaviours of ingredients, and use that to make my own core recipes.

Then, once mastered, I add a little Cenéa. A little lavender here. A little rose there. A sprinkle of pistachio to the left.

You get me.

Let’s get into it.

This is going to look like no other mousse recipe – with the gentle folding, and slow incorporation. This is the brutal way of making dense, thick, turn-your-bowl-upside-down mousse.

GET IT
125g high quality milk chocolate
50ml butter, salted
375ml fresh cream, cold
3 egg yolks
6 egg whites
80g castor sugar, sifted
10ml vanilla essence
3 drops lavender essence
2.5g fine salt, sifted

WHISK IT
1. Add the castor sugar and salt to the egg yolks, gradually, and whisk until stiff peaks forms. Keep aside.
2. Whisk the cream until very whipped and very stiff peaks form.
If you add the eggs to this, nothing will stiffen.
3. Whisk the egg yolks lightly – just until mixed, and then fold into the whipped cream.
Recipes will tell you to fold x amount of times and yada yada, yes, maybe this works, but we’re making mousse of the Gods. Mix properly.
4. Melt the butter and chocolate in the oven in short bursts, until it has the texture and look of ganache. Keep aside to cool slightly. If you put it into the mixture too warm, it’ll cook the eggs.
5. Add the lavender and vanilla essence to the egg yolk + cream mixture, and fold.
6. Fold the cooled melted chocolate + butter mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
7. Add a fat spatula full of the whipped egg white to the chocolate mixture, and fold.
8. Now, you’re going to add all the chocolate eggy cream mixture thing to the egg whites, and fold.
9. Now, contrary to popular belief, you can whip the living heck out of this mixture, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.
10. Beat the existence out of the entire mixture with a hand blender until it starts to thicken. Trust me. It’ll take ages, but do it. If it isn’t getting any thicker after 15-20 minutes, fold in more whipped cream and a little more egg white + sugar mix, and then abuse it some more.
11. Once you are happy with the thickness – which is going to be thick enough to stick to the spoon but lob right off because it’s so heavy – fold gentle to remove bubbles.
12. Spoon (or pipe) into jars of ramekins, or whichever cute little fancy container you want, and let set overnight.
This is going to be dense and rich and beautiful. And. And.

And enjoy!

Oh, then I top it with crumbled chocolate biscotti, chocolate shavings, and ground coconut biscuits.

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Pistachio, Rose & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Hi. Bust out the crumpets.

Just expect more complicated cheesecakes – we need to make the base, sauce and then batter.

SAUCE
So, the secret to adding flavour to cheesecakes is in the sauce. The general rule is 115g of sauce per 450g cream cheese. Thankfully, here, we make the sauce for the flavour and the sauce for the décor in the same way, bar one step.

3 drops pistachio essence
1 drop rose essence
100g white chocolate
200ml fresh cream
2 tablespoons salted butter

BASE
1 1⁄2 packs plain tennis biscuits, crumbed
125g brown sugar, granulated and sieved
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, sieved
30g pistachios, finely chopped
85g melted butter, or as required
Pink food colouring
Aluminium foil

1. Combine drops of food colouring to initially, about 70ml melted butter. You are aiming of a gentle pink colour.
2. Mix the finely chopped pistachios, sugar, salt and the tennis biscuit crumbs well.
3. Combine the melted butter with the crumbed mixture, until wet-sand in texture.
4. Press this pink biscuit mixture into the base of a springform baking pan and set aside.
I like a balance of pizazz and rustic, so the only flashy decorative thing about the cheesecake will be the base – pink to accentuate the rose element. The cheesecake mixture will still be the signature yellowy cheesecake we’re used to. You don’t want to use too much food colouring, particularly due to the taste and risk of it turning brown if it becomes red or is overcooked.
5. Wrap the base of the cheesecake in aluminium foil.
Ensure that there are no cracks, and that this is waterproof. This will be for your water-bath, to ensure the base doesn’t burn.


BATTER
Check out the recipe for the baked Cheesecake, for your standard, add-flavour-to-me, batter.

LET’S MAKE THIS BABY
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Slowly whisk no more than 230ml of the sauce into cheesecake batter.
Do this gently slowly, so as to not cause bubbling – these cause cracks.
3. Pour the cheesecake batter onto your prepped base, and smooth the surface with a spatula.
4. Place in the centre of the oven, on a flat tray with water in it.
Yes. In the water. If your springform pan has been properly waterproofed, we’re sorted. We’re gonna be okay.
5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges are cooked, but the middle of the cheesecake is still jiggly.
The consistency of panna cotta for about of the mixture (centre-outward) is perfectly okay. The cheesecake will still cook with the existing heat, and then firm in the fridge.
6. Let the cheesecake cool until room temperature, out of the oven.
7. Let the cheesecake then set in the fridge until well cold.

DRESS HER UP
So, I like to dust the cheesecake with very finely crumbed remnants of the ground base mix just sort of diagonally (artistically). I mean, look at the name of this cheesecake – give a little love; diagonal love.
I add a drop of food colouring to a bit of extra sauce (I always make extra) and drizzle over top, or just use melted white chocolate.
Then I finish each slice with an edible flower, because why not?
Or, do whatever on earth you like!

Enjoy!

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Lavender, Honey & White Chocolate Sauce

A necessary ingredient for the Mini White Chocolate & Lavender Cheesecake, this sauce is also great for pouring over just about anything you want to.

Drizzle a crumpet, go on.

WHITE CHOCOLATE SAUCE

250g white chocolate
125ml cream
2 teaspoons butter
6-10 lavender flowers
2 drops lavender essence
1 tablespoon honey

Together, now:
1. Bring cream to boil with lavender.
2. Remove from heat, and remove lavender.
You don’t need to remove the lavender. I didn’t. I liked the colour.
3. Fold in chocolate, honey, essence and butter until melted.
Do this slowly. The cream will still thicken even off the heat and while stirring slowly. Stirring too fast will release heat – the heat will thicken the sauce though evaporation.
4. Whisk gently until smooth.
5. Store in a jar or something similar.
6. Let cool.

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