It's fig season and my all time favourite fruit couldn't be tastier (or cheaper) at the moment. I've read that back in the 9th century, the Greeks may have banned the trade of the best looking figs out of the country, and I think I can understand why. So to make the most of these sweet, soft and delicate fruit, I've combine them with couverture chocolate and turned them into a rich decadent tart. Start with a chocolate sweet paste for the base. Fill with a cocoa enriched frangipane mix and some diced figs and bake. While this would suffice for a lovely dessert, I wasn't convinced, and decided to add a rich and creamy chocolate mousse layer on top. While the mousse may not have set as smoothly as I would have liked, the flavour was there. Lastly to add another textural element, I sprinkled Callebaut Crispearls and flakes over the piped mousse and added a few fresh figs...This one was for the fig lovers out there.
We're still celebrating Christmas with a black forest mousse cake. This cake takes full advantage of two of my favourite ingredients, chocolate and a variety of summer berries like blackberries, cherries and red currents. Whatever berries you can find in your fruit shop you can use in this recipe. The addition of a chocolate mousse layer, makes this a modern take on the traditional layer upon layer cherry torte that originated in Germany. You still get cake, cream and cherries, just in a new form.
To make, first bake a chocolate cake to use as the base. Once cooled, layer cherries that have been soaked in your favourite liquor on top, like brandy or kirsch (if you want to keep your cake a little more traditional). To finish, prepare the chocolate mousse and place over the top. Once set, remove from the fridge and decorate with a sprinkling of cocoa powder and more fresh berries for a decadent chocolate dessert any sweet tooth will savour! If your not finished celebrating the festive season like us, see full recipe below.
Firstly, I must admit I have an obsession with cookbooks! In particular those that are related to baking anything sweet of course. So when I stumbled upon 'Patisserie: Mastering The Fundamentals of French Pastry' cookbook (in English) by Christophe Felder, I knew I had struck gold and quickly made my way to the cashier!
After many hours perusing the pages, looking at all the neatly set out step by step instructions, I finally decided on which recipe I would attempt first…a chocolate mousse tart!
While this book might not be for beginners, it's a fantastic resource for pastry makers as it provides a little more knowledge about the techniques used in pastry, chocolate and sugar art. I found the recipe for the chocolate mousse tart easy to follow and it turned out exactly as I had hoped. The only thing I added was some frozen raspberries to the mousse mix. Once baked, using an Eiffel Tower cookie cutter as a pattern, I dusted it in cocoa powder.
So if your looking to add to your own cookbook collection, this one might be worth having a look at.