When I first knew that we were going to be doing a dual Daring Cooks/Bakers Challenge, I came up with several ideas for what I wanted to do for the Bakers side while I was preparing the Cook's challenge. However, when I saw what the given recipe was for the Bakers Challenge, I was so intrigued I just had to throw my other ideas out. Bacon bowls ( I just did those for the challenge, and they were fun, plus it was a good way to keep the challenges tied together) but filled with maple mousse?! And topped with a meringue?! This sounded utterly crazy to me, and so of course I had to do it!
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/!
Anyway, back to the bacon...It got a little crisper than I wanted, and it was rather difficult to pull the toothpicks out (again, crispy bacon), but they mostly held their shape. The maple mousse was delicious, on the other hand, and I could have eaten giant spoon-fuls of it. Ok, fine, I did. But there was extra, and I couldn't let it go to waste! I am also quite pleased with my little meringue pillows! Although 18 times bigger than I thought they were going to be, they were utterly perfect! Yay me! Overall, I am quite pleased with how this dessert turned out, but I think its a little ridiculous for me to be making it on a regular basis. Fun, for sure, but ridiculous! :)
Bacon cups: preparation 15 minutes, bake 25-40 minutes depending on cup size, cooling 1 hour.
Nut Crust: preparation 30 minutes, baking about 15 minutes, cooling 1 hour.
Maple mousse: preparation 15 minutes, cooling 1 hour, refrigeration 1 hour.
Vegan maple mousse: preparation 10 minutes, refrigeration 1hour.
Meringue Time preparation 15 minutes, baking 45 minutes, cooling 2-3 hours.
• 24 thin slices good quality bacon
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
2. Take a muffin pan or 6 small ½ cup capacity heat-proof bowls, turn upside down and carefully form aluminum foil covers on the back of 6 muffin cups or the bowls.
3. Taking 2 strips of bacon at a time crisscross the strips over the backs of the muffin cups and cut to size a tad longer then the bottom part of the cup. Now use 1 to 2 more strips to cover the sides of the muffin cups in a weaving fashion. You want a full tight weave because bacon shrinks a lot. For smaller cups I used a shot glass with a square of bacon for the bottom and I wrapped 1 strip around the side.
4. Tuck the ends of the bacon strips inside otherwise they will curl while cooking. A good idea is to insert 4 toothpicks where the crisscrossed bacon meets in the weave.
5. Place muffin pan in a cookie tray to catch drippings. Bake in oven for about 25 to 40 minutes, or until the bacon is golden and crisp but not burned.
6. Cool completely, a good hour, before removing your cups delicately from the foil.
• 1 1/2 cups crushed nuts of your choice such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
• 1 egg, beaten, at room temperature
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces
1. Use a food processor or a zip-lock back with a rolling pin to crush your nuts if whole, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups crushed. You want it somewhat coarse.
2. In a bowl mix the nuts with the beaten egg and the sugar.
3. Take 6 small ½ cup capacity Pyrex cups or a similar container and line the inside with aluminum foil. Spread ¼ cup of the mixture in the bowl, all the way up to the sides making sure you have a thin and even clean layer all around.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. until the nuts are golden and fragrant (about 15 minutes). Let cool completely before unmolding.
5. Melt chocolate (either in the microwave or over a double boiler). Dip the rims of the cooled nut bowls in the chocolate. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened and is set.
• 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
• 1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)
1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.
5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.
• 3 large egg whites at room temperature
• ¾ cup (165 g./5.5 oz) sugar