Saturday, February 12, 2011
I think I am a pretty easy going valentine. I like red roses and a nice dinner out with Chris, my husband. Chris is pretty easy going too. He never asks for anything so I usually make him a dessert with an explosion of chocolate, his flavor of choice for sweet things.
I've been out of school now for a year and haven't gotten much of a chance to make many of the French desserts and pastries I learned there. So I decided for Valentine's day I would do something classically French---a Charlotte Russe. All chocolate of course. One of the chef's at school said it was made by a French chef for their Russian employer and was made to echo the shape of a classic Russian hat called a Ushanka.
I made chocolate lady fingers which are made by whipping the whites and yolks separately then folding them together with flour and cocoa powder. You assemble the cake in a cake ring, so I piped the batter for the lady fingers to the height of the ring. I also piped a 6 inch round with the batter to form the base of the cake. Once they cooled, I picked up the lady fingers in one long strip and pressed them inside of the cake ring to form the wall that would hold the chocolate mousse filling.
I made the mousse from a recipe in Nick Maglieri's book, Perfect Cakes. I liked this recipe mainly because it did not involve any gelatin. I HATE GELATIN and I hate what it does to the texture of a mousse. The mousses we made in school all had gelatin and it drove me nuts. At work, chef served a mousse that consisted of fruit puree, whipped cream and lime curd. It was delicious and thick enough to hold its shape without any help from my arch-nemesis, gelatin. This chocolate mousse had butter, chocolate, egg yolks, sugar and whipped cream. PERFECT.
After I poured the mousse into the center of my lady fingers, I let it set, them covered it in a chocolate glaze containing equal parts heavy cream and dark chocolate and a little bit of corn syrup.
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!