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Friday, December 31, 2010

vanilla mousse, coffee caramel and cocoa brownie entremet.

And so, I embarked on another journey to unmold a mousse perfectly. I'd like to say I did.
The base is Alice Medrich's cocoa brownies, with a vanilla mousse from Tartelette and a coffee caramel centre using the same recipe I'd used for my macarons. I adored the caramel decoration... until it melted away into a puddle due to the humidity here. 

For easier unmolding, I found that first, the mousse must be frozen. After taking it out of the freezer, let it sit for 5 minutes before dipping it into hot water briefly. Run your knife around the sides, and it should slip out like a dream. I'm just an amateur, so professionals would probably consider this common knowledge already. 
This is something like ice cream on a brownie, upscaled. I absolutely adored the brownies. Many people have this misconception that cocoa couldn't possibly make a better brownie than melted chocolate. Alice Medrich has proven that cocoa brownies are every bit as good as brownie recipes that call for unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and chocolate chips..., if not better. When chilled, these brownies have a dense, fudgy texture. I added white chocolate chips because I've always liked the contrast between the two different kinds of chocolate. They have won over Dorie's Quintuple Chocolate Brownies, what I considered first place until I met their cocoa cousins. Try and you won't regret it.

The vanilla mousse from Tartelette was a little weak in vanilla flavour, probably because it was overshadowed by the all-too-awesome brownies. I would increase the amount of vanilla if I were to make it again.

The coffee caramel sauce was a great contrast to the whole entremet. The brownie was dense, the mousse creamy. Both components are rather firm. The sauce, on the other hand, was flowy. Think molten lava cake but a coffee version. Because the sauce is denser than the mousse, when filling up the molds, fill them halfway and freeze them for a while for the mousse to firm up so that it can better support the caramel. Otherwise, the caramel would sink to the bottom.
Best Cocoa Brownies
by Alice Medrich

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)*I added white chocolate chips

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. [Note, many people who have tried this recipe have found that this step works just fine in the microwave. Couldn't test this because we don't have one, but it sounds like it would work.]

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack. 

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Vanilla Mousse
recipe taken from Tartelette

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 gr) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 Tb (7gr) powdered gelatin, sprinkled over 3 Tb water
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla bean (split open and scraped over the milk) to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon (as if making creme anglaise). Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.
Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base.

For the coffee caramel sauce recipe, click here.

The next entremet I'm going to make will be chocolate-free. I think.

1 comment :

  1. This is beautiful! I recently discovered these entremets all over pinterest and my god I'm obsessed!
    Erica xo