Friday, July 29, 2011

Magic [Chocolate Mousse from Water and Chocolate]

Magic. The art of using illusions to make the impossible a reality. I thought that I would do my own magic trick in the kitchen with only chocolate and water to create mousse. What? Trust me; it works.

When I first heard about this technique, I was skeptical. I had the impression that mixing water and chocolate would ruin the $10 bar of chocolate. It turns out that mixing melted chocolate and water and then whisking vigorously will cause something to happen to the water molecules, which in effect stabilizes the chocolate and creates the mousse-like texture.

This was a fun experiment. It's mind boggling to see the liquid mixture suddenly thicken and resemble a creamy mousse. Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, it has the exact texture of mousse. However, if you let it sit for more than 30 minutes, it will firm up and take on the texture of ganache. The flavor is of pure intense chocolate. Because the mousse texture doesn't last long, it's best if made prior to serving.

A cake layered with this as the filling will certainly taste wonderful. You can also pipe this mixture out as decoration or fill cupcakes and cream puffs. So many's time for another experiment in the kitchen!

Chocolate Mousse made from Water and Chocolate
Recipe from Beyond Baked Beans
Video of Heston Blumenthal making it with an explanation

Ingredients (Original)
230mL Water
270g Chocolate, 70%

Ingredients (Adjusted to Serve 6)
100mL Water
117g Chocolate, 70%

Note: (1) It is very rich so less is more. (2) Be observant while whisking. It will quickly go from creamy to ganache-like, which is no good. (3) The best part: if you make an error, simply melt the mixture and whisk again. 


  1. In a pot, add water and chocolate. Have heat on low and stir occasionally until melted.
  2. Gather two bowls. Fill one bowl with ice and water. Place another bowl on top and pour the chocolate mixture into the top bowl.
  3. Begin whisking quickly. In approximately 2 to 3 minutes, the mixture will thicken up. Once it thickens up, decrease speed of whisking and stop when the chocolate becomes creamy and leaves a slight trail. If you over whip, it will stiffen and have a grainy ganache-like texture. To restart, melt it in a double boiler. Then begin whisking in an ice bath again.
  4. Serve mousse in a small cup topped with fruits.
  5. For best results, I recommend making the mousse prior to serving to retain the creamy texture. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dessert for Two #1 - [Pavlova and Lemon Curd]

Sometimes you only want to make enough dessert for two, but changing the ratios of recipes can be a headache. To help you out, this recipe was created specifically to feed enough for two individuals. (If you want a larger yield, you're S.O.L.) I present to you the "Dessert for Two" series.

I have always wanted to make pavlova, but didn't like that most recipes made huge pavlovas or many mini ones. Then I thought, why can't I just use 1 egg white and make a pavlova out of it? I took that route. The pavlova came out crisp on the outside and soft and pillow-ey on the inside. I paired the pavlova with lemon curd to cut the sweetness. Great Combo I must say! Topping it with blueberries was a winner.

Note: (1) Please excuse the awkward measurements of ingredients. (2) I used the left over yolk and half an egg for french toast!

adapted from Donna Hay

1 egg white
3 TBSP caster sugar
1/2 TBSP corn starch, sifted
1/2 tsp white vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Whip egg white to stiff peaks. Gradually add in sugar until shiny and glossy.
  3. Mix in corn starch and vinegar until combined. Put mixture on parchment paper and make a slight indentation in the middle.
  4. Reduce heat to 250°F and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. When you touch the pavlova, it should be firm to the the touch. Turn off heat and let it cool in the oven.

Lemon Curd

Note: To measure out half an egg, whisk the egg in a bowl so that the yolk and whites are combined. Option #1: You can either eyeball it with a spoon. Half an egg for me was approximately 2.5 - 3 TBSP. Option #2: If you have the time, take a scale and measure the egg. Split the egg into 2 equal portions. 

half an egg
2 TBSP sugar
juice of 1 small lemon, strained to rid of pulp/seeds
1 tsp of butter


  1. Whisk egg, sugar, and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl set above simmering water in a pot (or a double-boiler). Stir occasionally so the mixture doesn't curdle. Stop when it has thicken, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add butter and stir. Strain the mixture.
  3. Put saran wrap right on the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming.

To assemble
Smooth lemon curd on top of the pavlova. Top with fresh berries. In my case, I used blueberries.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A rough weekend = A trip to the Farmer's Market [Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp]

I was having a rough weekend so I decided to head out to the farmer's market at 9 a.m. to calm my mind. Navigating through the narrow pathways between the stalls, I craned my neck around passerbays to see the fresh produce. I noticed the usual summer fare: strawberries, spring greens, tomatoes, and cherries. As I was about to head out after purchasing 2 pounds of strawberries, I noticed rhubarb hiding at a small booth and my fate was sealed. I would be would be making rhubarb and strawberry crisp in a few hours.

I have never tried or touched rhubarb before, but I was surprised by how closely it resembled celery in shape and texture. The color is gorgeous as well.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp
adapted from Joy of Baking's Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts and Apple Crisp


1 lb rhubarb, cut into 1 inches pieces
1 lb strawberries, cut into 1 inches pieces
1/2 cup (or less depending how sweet your strawberries are) sugar
1 TBSP (10g) cornstarch

70g flour
50g white sugar
55g brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
6 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into pieces
55g old-fashioned rolled oats


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Mix rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar in a large bowl and let it macerate for 30 minutes. Add flour and mix thoroughly.
  3. In the meantime, combine flour, white and brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, butter, and oats in a bowl. With clean hands, pinch the mixture together until crumbly in texture. 
  4. In a 8x8 dish, pour the filling in and evenly spread the topping all over the surface. 
  5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Allow 30 minutes for the crisp to cool down before serving. I actually prefer the crisp the next day after it has been refrigerated. 


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