Not my finest moment

I like making desserts, always have. So it was with huge embarrassment that I had a monumental disaster at Chef School today. At least my collapsing chocolate fondant provided entertainment for the class – I’ve never seen everyone laugh so much. One of my classmates even videoed the great collapse. Perhaps when I’m rich and famous, it can feature on a bloopers reel.

What could I do but join in, no amount of garnish was going to hide what was, without a doubt, the worst thing I’ve plated since starting the course. Had I been on Master Chef, my kitchen days would be over.

While I wasn’t the only one who encountered problems, mine was beyond redemption. Frustrating given how many times I’ve made fondant before. The upside is that there’s only one way to go from here.

Friends and neighbours, be prepared to be guinea pigs as I try to master the school recipe in preparation for our upcoming test.

On the subject of chocolate, we made a decadent chocolate mousse earlier in the week. It’s very similar to one of my mum’s favourite recipes, which I’m going to share now.

What you’ll need

4 eggs, at room temperature

250ml cream (useful to have extra on hand)

175g dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa solids)

1 Tbsp Cointreau (or other liqueur)

How to make it

Separate the eggs, ensuring you don’t get any yolk into the white. Set both bowls aside.

Beat the cream until lightly whipped, then set aside.

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Melt the chocolate. I do this by breaking it into small pieces and popping into a bowl over hot water. It is important that moisture doesn’t get into the chocolate or it will seize. (An easy way of ensuring this is for your bowl to fit snugly into the pan – but, you don’t want the water to touch the bottom of the bowl.)

While the chocolate is melting, beat the egg whites and a tiny pinch of salt till soft peak stage. Make sure your beaters and bowl are super clean.

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Remove melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the liqueur.

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Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, using a wooden spoon. Keep beating until the mixture is smooth and silky. (If the mixture does seize a little, you can beat in some runny cream to bring it back.)

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Fold in the egg whites, followed by the cream.

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Pour into individual ramekins for serving, or into a large bowl (as I did for the husband’s shared work meal). Garnish with cream and grated chocolate. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

For variation, use a chilli or orange chocolate.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can whip it up in a flash. I always keep a few blocks of chocolate at the back of the pantry (hidden from husband and child) for when someone pops in unexpectedly and I need a quick dessert. Mind you, that’s going to be used up perfecting that jolly chocolate fondant this weekend!

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