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THANK GOD I FINALLY SUCCEEDED
Unlike my other recipes and experimentations that come from baking for someone else, this one came in the form of fashion. Summer sales means 50% discounts at Zara and I ended up getting my future (hong kong) winter jacket- this beautiful, soft camel color blazer. Camel is the color palette for this fall- tinged with creams and deeper shades of coffee brown. What better recipe to try than something with caramel- the color most similar to camel since camel probably isn’t available in the grocery store (hmm).
I decided to give baking a break and opted for a mousse instead- something I’ve never done before. I’ve worked with gelatin once to make a green apple mousse cake which semi-failed. Let me say right now, I was completely humbled by this experience. Mousse is the foundation to the simplest Hong Kong western cake recipe (usually consists of fruit+cream or mousse) and I thought it would be the easiest thing to recreate. Not so. Anyway, here we go:
from this gorgeous blog, Tartelette.
Dip the spoon into the dark chocolate surface dusted with cocoa which gently gives way to a burst of warmth in deep sea salt caramel and finally softens with the round robustness of vanilla bean at its foundation. 70% dark chocolate, caramel tinged with pink Himalayan sea salt and a sprinkling of half a vanilla bean pod.
I’m not a huge fan of caramel and chocolate together because it renders quite a sickly sweet combination but I CAN do sea salt which balances out the sharpness of the caramel while the bitterness and nuttiness of the chocolate softens the medley whilst melting on the tongue. No store-bought artifice can match the real taste of artisanal burned sugar, rich chocolate and genuine vanilla bean extraction.
What I learned from this experience was that… skills and talent do not necessarily make you a good baker. It’s whether or not you can read a recipe correctly and follow the steps exactly. I obviously lack skills in this area and all hell broke loose after I messed up at the final part. But I managed to save it with my elementary ‘chemistry’ skills.
As you can see I’m starting to make a few changes to this blog and hopefully in a month’s time you’ll see a whole revamp. I thought I should take advantage of my Parsons skills and UHS Fine Arts talents and multiply effectively to create a stronger image. These are all just tests and prototypes while I work on finalizing design. I sort of accidentally designed a working logo when I was least expecting it. It really just fell into place while I was working on something else. I like squares and triangles.
Success is sweet to the soul.
Bah humbug. I’ve been failing a lot these days.
Okay it wasn’t a failure, it was just that for one, I’m not really into pudding based desserts and second, the graham crust kind of collapsed (but that’s what happens when you make a crust out of graham in the form of a tart).
Pardon the melancholy, but at times I wonder why I bake. Do I bake because I’m lonely- to fill up times of confusion and anxiety? Baking allows me to pour all my thoughts into a singular focus and action. With the control and ability to predict the relationship between butter and sugar when whipped, can I say that I love baking because of its expected outcome?
People say it’s good to have hobbies that don’t exist/rely on people yet I wonder if my tendency to bake is a reaction to social isolation. I’m not looking for pity, I know making friends takes time so I’m saying this as matter of factual be it the one who is reading is a family member, a friend or a complete stranger.
Anyhow, no more contemplation.
Happy birthday, Chris! It’s my brother’s birthday today. We used to call him the ‘Chocolate Monster’ for obvious reasons. I think I now surpass him in the consumption of cacao. I guess this post will go in honor of his twenty year reign of terror- I mean ‘love’- in our household.
If watched the movie, Julie and Julia (yes it’s pretty much all I talk about these days having seen it a total of five times. I feel like it’s the story of my life minus the imaginary friend, the absence of NYC, the husband and the huge fan base. I take it back, it’s nothing at all like my life), there’s one part where she tells her husband,
“Chocolate cream pie! You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.”
That it is. May I just add that you have to add corn starch into the mix to make it thick. I guess the screenwriter thought corn starch wouldn’t sound too romantic in a script so they omitted it. =P I was perusing through the Epicurious Valentine’s Day recommended recipes and came across a recipe for chocolate cream pie. A vivid image of Amy Adams spooning dollops of chocolate pudding into a crust in a glass bowl (I should have kept it in its shell), instantly flashed up and I knew this was my next recipe of the week. And the ingredients are pretty basic so all I had to get were the eggs and the milk.
Can I just say that after finding out Brit-owned Cadbury was bought by Kraft (rah rah Americans!), I’ve been on a rampage to buy the last few bars of the real English stuff before Kraft starts substituting the one and a half glasses of cream for powdered milk. Anyhow, I bought a bar of ‘Old Gold’ which is essentially 70% intense dark chocolate by Cadbury with the intentions of making the molten lava cake with it again. However I decided to use it for the cream pie and when I melted it, it melted away into a gastronomic poetry. That didn’t make sense but what I mean was that it went from bar to liquid so beautifully: there weren’t any lumps in the pot and the chocolate had a thick glossy, mirror finish.
The only part I really messed up on was that I should have just left the tart shell in the mold rather than taking it out. I decided to substitute the chocolate wafers for digestive biscuits to balance out all the chocolate filling. The shell is too fragile for it to stand alone particularly when the pudding and whipped cream go on top and start pushing the sides over.
I was already rather annoyed that one part split as soon as I placed it on the cutting board and then it continued to crumble as I poured the filling in. I only continued to get more annoyed as I tried to take a shortcut to sprinkling the cocoa on top which as you can see, turned into a big cloud on top rather than light and powdery. Sigh. As my aunt says, it should be 50/50. She just tried and said it was really good and suggested that I make it into a cookie pudding instead or mini tarts because this one crumbles too easily with the graham crust. If anyone likes chocolate cream pies, I’ll try a different formation, but since I don’t know anyone who does I will archive this recipe for the future.
If you’re a fan of chocolate pudding, this is for you. I remember as a kid I used to love those chocolate pudding cups for snack. Now I prefer mousse which tends to be less thick and ‘gooey’. This was my first time tasting chocolate cream pie and I must say, the filling is absolutely divine with a rich DARK chocolate (using milk chocolate will be too sweet). However I am uncertain of how this is a ‘beautiful pie’ according to the writers of the recipe- it resembles a glob on top of a curved cookie. I’m also not a big fan of puddings (I prefer a dense wedge of cake) so after having a slice, I felt quite full.
It’s an easy recipe so you have my blessing, try it, but make sure to keep the crust in its bowl/shell/mold. Here’s the link to the recipe I used: Epicurious Chocolate Cream Pie
** Edit: actually after letting it sit for a few hours in the fridge, the moisture of the pudding locks into the crust so it fuses into one dessert rendering it easier to cut and of a better presentation than when I first tried it.