Two weeks ago my challenge from Daring Cooks was to make an edible savoury container, this week the challenge turned to sweet containers, with a local twist. 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!
My recent escapade with Florentine cookies reminded me of a childhood treat: brandy snaps. For those unfamiliar with these very English treats, they’re a bit like toffee cookies shaped into a cigar and filled with shipped cream. I’ve never been a fan of the cream, but I love the snaps and thought that brandy-snap shaped bowls would be a delicious way to serve up almost any sweet treat.
For the brandy snap baskets I used a recipe from allrecipes.com. The recipe called for Golden Syrup, which I didn’t have in my pantry and have yet to find an organic or fair trade brand available in Canada; so I made my own. (I flatly refuse to substitute corn syrup for golden syrup.) It was ridiculously simple really.
A google search turned up a recipe for Golden Syrup which I scaled to down to 250 g fair trade raw cane sugar, 150 ml water and 3 lemon slices. Everything was brought to a boil on the stove and then left to simmer at a low boil for about 30 minutes until the viscosity when cooled reminded me of golden syrup. That was it. I transferred the syrup to a jar and let it cool on the counter. (Sorry I forgot to take photos.)
Once it was cool, I made the brandy snaps. To shape them, I did the same thing that I had done for the papadums: I bent them over small bowls while they were still warm. I also shaped them a bit with my fingers. I experimented with a couple of sizes of bowls. Each gave a slightly different effect with the finished product.
To satisfy different tastes, I made a few different fillings for the bowls which made their appearance at a family dinner over the weekend. Because I didn’t have an organic gelatin, I made the vegan version of Evelyne’s maple mousse (although I omitted the agar-agar since I didn’t have that either). I also made a vegan chocolate pudding filling that is sweetened with maple syrup and has been a long-time favourite among friends and family; a tiramisu-like filling made with mascarpone, cocoa and coffee; and one filled with ice cream. All were topped with fruit and whipped cream.
For the vegan maple mousse, it’s really important to use a good quality, flavourful maple syrup, otherwise the mousse will just taste like sweet soy. If you can, go with a syrup from a small producer or look for the amber grade, which has more flavour. I used syrup from Les Erables du Petit Lac in Coaticook, which is run by the family of a friend. I may be biased, but I have to say that their clear syrup has more maple flavour than any maple syrup I’ve ever tasted.
Overall my family was completely delighted with the bowls. For a dinner party, they were really flexible because it allowed me to adjust the fillings for various food preferences and special dietary needs. I even found a recipe for gluten-free brandy snaps that I could use in the future.
So thank-you Evelyne, my friend and fellow Montreal food-blogger for hosting this challenge. It was truly delicious! (And now I also know how to make golden syrup too. Sweet!)