Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Recipe 11: Le "Mont Blanc" en surprise

After dusting off some of my neglected cookbooks, I finally found something that appealed to me and hopefully it will appeal to your tastebuds at the moment. How does a frozen mousse with crushed nutty brittle sound to you? I thought we'd all enjoy this dessert to cool us off during this very warm summer. A pseudo, fancier, richer version of ice cream without needing an ice cream maker. Simone Beck, co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child, has her own cookbook called Simca's Cuisine that have some very classic but timeless recipes such as this one. I'm always a bit scared of playing with any recipe with "caramel" in it because I'm always scared of it crystalizing on me. But cream of tartar has really prevented crystalizing. So hopefully this little trick that I learned in a couple of my cooking classes will help you out in this dessert.

2 c. heavy cream
1/2 t. vanilla extract
3 1/2 T. confectioners' sugar
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
3/4 c. granulated sugar

Whip cream until almost firm. Beat in vanilla and confectioners' sugar and set aside.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff but not dry. Put the granulated sugar and 1/4 c. cold water into a sauce pan and boil to form a thick syrup. Pour immediately but gradually into the egg whites, beating on high until smooth. Set the bowl egg white mix into a bowl of ice cubes and continue beating until mixture is thick and cool. Lightly fold into the whipped cream.
Reserve 1/5-1/4 of mousse to fold in the nougatine and instant coffee later.
Spoon remaining mixture into a mold, bowl or individual ramekins.

Nougatine (crushed nut brittle):
1/2 c. walnuts, hazelnuts or any other kind of nuts you prefer
1/2 c. granulated sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar (to prevent crystallization of caramel)

1 - 1 1/2 t. powdered instant coffee

Put the nuts into a moderate oven to warm not brown. Put the sugar and 3 T. water into saucepan and boil to form a light caramel syrup. Immediately add the warmed nuts, stir over heat for a few seconds to coat the nuts. Pour caramel onto an oiled pan, spreading out into a layer with a spatula. Set aside to cool and harden. Chop up into 1/8 in pieces.
Fold nougatine and instant coffee into reserved mousse. Fill a pastry bag with the nougatine mousse. Insert the tube halfway into the middle of the molded mousse and squeeze gently. Stop squeezing and gently withdraw the piping tip from the mousse. Even out the surface of the mousse. Freeze until set, preferably overnight.

To serve:
Simca suggests to turn the Mont Blancs onto chilled plates topped with candied fruit or flowers.


Blogger Kate said...

I love the look of this. Again not something I would try normally but I think I may wait until our visitors have dissapeared which is Tuesday.

25 July, 2006 23:43  
Blogger Jer said...

Sounds delicious and hard. I love it. I never work with caramel so this will test me. I'm sure I will make a mess but am excited about trying! We're traveling for the next month for work and play so I'm not home in my own kitchen until the last weekend in August. Apologies in advance if I'm not able to post my attempt until then. Fun idea Elaine!

29 July, 2006 13:47  
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