Thursday, October 30, 2014

Silky Smooth Chocolate (and/or) Pumpkin Mousse

While looking for a delicious dessert for a Fall Dinner, I ran across two mousse recipes that I thought would be wonderful "layered" in a 9-oz clear plastic drink cup.  After trying both, I've decided it was unfair to combine them, when each is stellar by itself.

Drink cups (by Solo) are a great substitute for cut glass when you are serving a crowd.  The 9-oz size lines up neatly on a baking sheet for storing in the refrigerator to chill.

Just a few random mini chocolate sprinkles top either mousse off nicely.

The texture of each recipe is smooth and silky.  I filled each cup about 2/3's full.

As you can see, the Pumpkin Mousse didn't make it to photography.  Sorry about that.  But you can still see the texture.

You can layer the two varieties by using a large pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip.  Easy to portion this way.

Other 'garnishes' could include gingersnap or Oreo crumbs, Pirouette Cookies, and whipped cream (dusted with cocoa or cinnamon).

Easy Chocolate Mousse

2 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 cups cold heavy cream
6-8 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

(I used my blender to make this even easier).  Place eggs and sugar in blender and combine on low speed until whipped.  Meanwhile, heat 1-1/4 cups of the cream in the microwave until hot, but not quite boiling (watch carefully, as the boiling point happens in a hurry).  Pour into blender jar gradually while on lowest speed.  

Some people feel the eggs should be cooked thoroughly, although the hot cream does a nice job of doing that.  If you wish, remove from blender to a heavy saucepan and stir over lowest heat possible until the mixture thickens (but do not boil).  At this point, add back to blender jar.

Add the chocolate chips, and blend on low speed until melted.  At this point, you may wish to add vanilla, mint, and/or almond extract for a little extra flavor (depending on your chocolate chips).

Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until cooled.  Don't wait too long, or it will be difficult to combine with the additional cream.

Just before removing chocolate mixture, whip remaining 1-1/4 cups cream in a large, deep bowl.  Fold the chocolate mixture in gently.

If you wish to pipe your mousse into individual servings, chill a few hours until partially set.  Then spoon into pastry bag fitted with large open star tip.  Pipe into about 8 portions.  Garnish as desired, cover, and chill overnight.

Fluffy Pumpkin Mousse

1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (*see note)
1 3-oz package cheesecake flavored instant pudding mix
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated)
8-12 oz container non-dairy whipped topping 

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth.  Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and pudding mix until completely mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat again until combined.  Scrape down sides to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Now add non-dairy whipped topping, gently folding in until barely combined.  Do not overmix.  

Allow mixture to remain in refrigerator until partially set (about 1-2 hours).  At this point, spoon into pastry bag fitted with large open star tip.  Pipe into 9-oz cups - should make about 11.  Garnish as desired, cover, and refrigerate until serving.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Scones

This recipe for "scones" is nothing like the US version of scones I grew up with.  Those were delicious little pieces of buttermilk yeast dough fried in hot oil until golden brown.  They were fabulous, but very time consuming - not to mention they were a major commitment.  I'll post the recipe for my mother's buttermilk scones someday.  But for now - these are wonderful to enjoy for breakfast or brunch.  

2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup cold butter (one stick)
1 cup fresh blueberries
zest of one lemon
1 cup heavy cream
dash of vanilla

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar (+ or -)
3-4 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Cut butter into thin slices and drop into dry ingredients.  Cut in with a pastry blender until crumbly - butter should be no larger than the size of a pea.  

Now toss in the lemon zest and combine well.  Gently add the blueberries - being careful not to smash them.  

Make a well in the center, and add cream all at once.  Toss gently with a spatula, folding in just until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the cream.  

At this point, you may press into a circle and cut out (taking care not to cut into a blueberry) into triangle shapes.  I didn't want to take a chance with the blueberries and a KNIFE, so I formed them into triangles by hand.  

Place on baking sheet, pressing down until they are no thicker than 1".  

Brush with additional heavy cream, then sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes, or until barely browned and blueberries are bursting.

Remove to wire racks and combine lemon glaze ingredients.  Drizzle over each scone when cooled. 

Makes approximately 10 scones.  

Recipe from:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Simple & Delicious Dill Dip

Every family has their favorite dip for chips & veggies.  Ours has always been the cop-out variety (Hidden Valley Ranch mix with a pint of sour cream).  I was looking for something a little more unique when I brought veggies & dip to share with friends I work with last week.

Everyone loved this dip.  The subtle dill flavor left everyone asking "what's IN this?".  A touch of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce gave it a little kick as well.  

And... (depending on what side of the "food additive fence" you sit on) MSG is an optional ingredient.  Personally, I don't have a problem with modest, occasional use - and unbeknownst to most of us - it's still hidden in a wide variety of foods (see this article for more information, and to decide where YOU stand on it)

Make this at least 3 hours before, and chill before serving.  Overnight is even better.  (And, yes - the photos are marginal - but the dip disappeared before I had a chance to do any better)

Simple & Delicious Dill Dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 to 1-1/2 tsp dill weed
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp seasoning salt (such as Lawry's)
1 tsp Accent seasoning (MSG - optional.  See note/link above)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce

Mix & chill.  Serve with crackers, veggies, etc...