The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
I really wish I had something better to show for this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge – not least because it was hosted by fellow Montrealer and friend Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Several months ago, as we were freezing our asses off with other food bloggers in front of Le Boucan, Evelyne hinted that her challenge idea was pretty unusual, and that I probably wouldn’t guess it. Indeed, she was right: maple mousse in a bacon cup was not something that crossed my mind!
Actually, the official challenge was to make edible containers for the mousse. But how could I resist the bacon option? Incorporating bacon into sweet desserts (particularly chocolate ones) has been a trend for a long time now, so long that it’s probably not technically a trend anymore. And as any brunch lover knows, maple and bacon are a match made in heaven.
Strangely enough for a resident of Quebec, I rarely use maple syrup. The bottle I keep in the fridge has been there for a long time. And yet, as I began to heat the syrup (from a new can I purchased for the occasion) for the mousse, I was seriously puzzled at my neglect of this spring staple: it smelled so divine, I literally swooned!
So, if anything, this challenge will have reconnected me with maple syrup. However, as I stated at the beginning of this post, I am not quite happy with my results. And unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try again, because I was very last-minute – not because I was busy, but just lazy and disorganized.
For starters, I chose to work with ingredients which are not especially cooperative, but in different ways: bacon and chocolate.
Chocolate is a notorious prima donna. Controlling its temperature is tricky when using small quantities, which leads to all kinds of drama. Fortunately, it didn’t go too badly this time. I wanted to make chocolate cups, following instructions I found on The Global Gourmet. It’s really quite simple: you melt the chocolate, spread it across a cupcake liner, chill, and peel the paper off. I was worried about not having found foil-lined cupcake cups, which probably would have facilitated the peeling. But it worked anyway.
Bacon, in my book, is difficult to work with for a different reason: it shrinks like hell, making it a less than ideal material for sculpting or moulding. I had actually tried making bacon cups for the last Daring Cooks’ challenge (also on edible containers), but I had ended up with bacon saucers instead. This time, I used more bacon per cup, allowing for shrinkage. I obtained an approximate cup shape, but still ended up with holes in my container. Which wouldn’t have been too big a deal… if my mousse had come out right.
I’m not sure what happened with the mousse. It was a pretty straightforward recipe, but I guess the stars weren’t aligned. The preparation simply refused to solidify, and so I ended up with something that was closer to a maple crème anglaise. Which, of course, leaked through the holes in my bacon cup. But it still tasted great, and we ate it up without any complaints.
I had other ideas for this challenge, of course: tuile cups, crepe bowls, cannoli (which, however, would also have required a solid mousse)… I’m still glad I went for the bacon, though. It’s official: bacon really does make everything (and I mean everything) better!
You can look at the challenge recipes here, and don’t forget to look at the blog roll to see all the awesome sweet containers (and mousses worthy of that name) the other Daring Bakers have made. Also, there’s going to be a contest for the best creation, so don’t forget to vote!