Friday, November 02, 2007

White chocolate pain-in-the-ass

Today my group finally finished what we dubbed "white chocolate pain-in-the-ass."
It's actually a teardrop shaped dark and white chocolate mousse, with raspberry and chocolate sauces, whipped cream and a chocolate lattice. And all but the white chocolate mousse was pretty fun to make. We screwed up the first batch of mousse by overheating the white chocolate. It melts at such a low temperature (since it is cocoa butter with no cocoa solids) that you can't melt it over a double boiler, not even one on super low heat. It'll seize up and become crumbly and nasty if you don't melt it over hot tap water. And it takes forever--I think I built some new musculature in my forearm from stirring the stuff over the warm water bath for so long.

It ended up looking ok, though Brian pointed out what we all were thinking--the teardrop ended up looking kind of like a whistle...

It tasted pretty good, though I'd have preferred all dark chocolate mousse. I'm not much of a fan of white chocolate--too damn sweet for me--which is too bad because the other dessert we made today also featured white chocolate:
That's three almond tuilles with white chocolate whipped cream, fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce. It tasted pretty good and since the white chocolate was melted with some cream it wasn't such a pain in the ass to make. Personally, I would have preferred a higher fresh raspberry to the rest-of-the-sweet-stuff ratio. So I made a little one for myself:
I molded the tuille on an upside down mini muffin tin to make the cup, then put a rosette of the white chocolate whipped cream inside, loaded on the raspberries and topped it with some purloined candied almonds that another group made for a cake.

In case you think I am living in La La Pastry Land, I also present to you a dose of reality:
These are the cupcakes the kids and I made for Ian's class Halloween Party. I made vanilla cupcakes and French buttercream that got tinted lurid shades of green, yellow, purple and pink to match the Laffy Taffy tentacles. Yes, you read that right--I paired French buttercream with sour apple, banana, grape and strawberry Laffy Taffy. I'm sure that is considered a crime in some places. My cupcakes turned out messier than the great ones I saw on Flickr--I had a hell of a time getting the marshmallows to stick to the M and Ms for the eyeballs. Of course, some of the kids in the class ate the Laffy Taffy and the M and Ms and then threw away the vanilla cake and French butter cream. But Ian actually ate the whole thing, which may not sound impressive (cake and candy, geez kid) but for him, the picky eater extraordinaire, is quite an achievement.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Halloween is coming and Fiona is being fickle. She has refused to wear the "legacy" costume--far from being a hand me down, this one is more like an inheritance. Her Aunty Anna was a cockroach, I was a cockroach, her brother was a cockroach (twice), but will Fiona be a cockroach? Nope. My parents made this costume for us when we lived in Houston and were plagued by, you guessed it, cockroaches. It has a brown shell with a tight fitting hood, electrical wire for antennae and looks pretty creepy. Maybe I can lobby for her to wear it next year.

So with the cockroach rejected I went on to my back up-the hand-me down alligator costume. But she has been adamant that she wants to be a dragon. So it was time for that alligator to undergo metamorphosis.

Here we have the raw materials--alligator costume, wire coat hangers, purple satin fabric, some red and yellow scraps. Not pictured: the essential sticking stuff--duct tape and glue gun.
First I took a couple of wire coat hangers and formed kinda crappy wing frame:
The shape of the top part of the frame was all I really cared about because the bottom would be defined by the shape of the fabric:
I sewed the top seam on the sewing machine and then used the glue gun to attach the fabric to the frame and to seal the bottom, spiky-part of the wing shut.

I attached a figure eight of elastic to the center of the wings--one loop goes around each arm over the top of the fuzzy alligator suit.
I also added the forked tongue.
Now I just have to figure out how to attach the purple feet with yellow toenails (made of cardboard with fabric glued on) to her sneakers.