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Friday, October 27, 2006

Petits Fours, Mignardises or Friandises? You decide! - SHF #24

Well, they’re not exactly ‘petits fours’ in the classical sense. As they never came near a hot ‘four’, spending most of their time in the chilly ‘frigo’.



Maybe they fit more in the ‘magnardises’ arena. Although I might not go directly to ‘delicate’ in describing these tasty adult treats. Well, mousse can be described as delicate, I suppose, until you add all the alcohol.

Certainly ‘friandises’ would apply. Albeit in the spirit of the ‘La Toussaint’ holiday, which is just a few days away on November 1st.



What with Halloween, not to mention All Saints Day, close on our heels, and everything turning orange anyways (fall foliage and raging brush fires here in SoCal), I guess I got carried away in the spirit of the season.



Don’t the kids get enough attention, not to mention sugar overdose, this time of year? While you’re sitting home, protecting your property from pint-sized pumpkin smashing and toilet-paper tossing vandals, wouldn’t it be nice to be munching on a whisky-laced bite of heaven made just for you? Letting the little ones squirm at the door for a moment while you savor another bite of your amaretto-laden chocolate bliss. Popping another limoncello and vodka infused eye-ball to help numb the cascade of shrill tiny voices chanting “Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!” for the one millionth time?



Well, even if you not the complete Scrooge or Grinch depicted above, these ‘friandises’ are pretty damn tasty! And a fun way for those handing out the treats to enjoy a tasty holiday as well!



So I made some:

- Whisky Roasted Pumpkin Mouse in Dark Chocolate Cups with Whisky Caramel Pumpkin Seeds

- Amaretto Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Chocolate Jack-O-Lanterns

- Limoncello and Vodka Eye-Ball Jello Shots

for Sugar High Friday #24, sponsored by Jeanne, of Cook Sister!.



That’s my contribution to this month’s Sugar High Friday #24 – ‘Petits Fours, Mignardises or Friandises’ Edition.


Whisky Roasted Pumpkin Mouse in Dark Chocolate Cups with Whisky Caramel Pumpkin Seeds
Recipe by surfindaave
Makes 8 to 10 desserts

Ingredients:
1 sugar pumpkin, about three pounds, cut into sections, seeds removed, peeled, and flesh cut into 1 inch pieces, reserving the pumpkin seeds
Olive oil
¾ cup whisky
1 packet gelatin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tap ground ginger
4 eggs
2/3 cup agava nectar or sugar
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces fine quality dark (70%) chocolate, chopped very fine into pieces no larger than ¼ inch.
8 small foil muffin molds
½ cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitos)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp agava nectar or sugar
2 tbsp whisky

In a small ceramic bowl, melt the chocolate in a microwave by heating for 30 seconds, and then stirring well. Repeat cycle 2 or three times, until chocolate can be stirred smooth. (At this point, you can temper your chocolate if desired).

Working with one foil muffin mold at a time, holding it on its side, spoon the melted chocolate onto the sides of the foil, turning the foil to completely cover the sides evenly. Pour any excess chocolate back onto the bowl. Set the foil down on a baking tray (the chocolate from the sides will run back down and cover any holes in the bottom, so concentrate on making the sides as even as possible). Repeat this for the remaining foils. Set the finished foils on the baking tray in the refrigerator for several hours to set.

Pre-heat the oven to 450ºF.

While the chocolate cups are setting, toss the pumpkin pieces with some olive oil, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until they are well browned all over, but not burned. Remove from oven, let cool, and reserve.

When the pumpkin pieces are cooled, puree them in a food processor, scraping down the sides as necessary.

In a small bowl, mix the whisky and gelatin, and let soften for 5 minutes. Heat the mixture in a microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval, until the gelatin is dissolved. Alternatively, heat the mixture in a small pot until dissolved. Let cool.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the agava nectar (or sugar) for 5 minutes, until the eggs are pale yellow. Mix in 1 ½ cups of the pumpkin puree, the whisky mixture, and the spices. Combine well.

With cleaned chilled beaters, beat the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold about ¼ of the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture thoroughly. Gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Place in refrigerator to begin to set for one hour.

Carefully peal off the foil from the chocolate cups (they break very easily!). Set the cups back down on the cold baking tray as they are peeled. Scoop some of the pumpkin mousse into the chocolate cups, heaping it slightly above the rim of the cup. Place the filled cups back on the baking tray, and the tray back into the refrigerator for several hours to set completely.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and add the butter, agava nectar (or sugar) and heat without stirring until it caramelizes. Carefully add the whisky, and heat until it melts again. Add the pumpkin seeds, and cook for a few minutes. Turn out onto a plate lined with parchment paper. Let cool, and separate seeds.

TO serve, arrange several whisky pumpkin seeds on top of each chocolate pumpkin mousse cup. Serve. Enjoy!


Amaretto Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Chocolate Jack-O-Lanterns
Recipe by surfindaave
Makes 8 to 12 Jack-o-Lanterns, depending on size

Ingredients:
12 ounces dark (70%) chocolate, chopped into pieces no larger than ¼ inch
2/3 cup heavy cream
¼ cup Amaretto
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small pieces no larger than ¼ inch
Orange food dye
Green food dye
Wooden skewers

In a small pan, bring the cream just to a boil. Put the dark chocolate shavings in a heat-proof bowl, and pour the cream over the dark chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add Amaretto, and stir until well combined. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour, until firm, but not hard.

With a tablespoon, scoop out balls of ganache, and roll them gently in your hands to a ball shape. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper. Chill for one hour. Roll in your hands again, smoothing them gently into the final ball shape. Chill until firm.

In a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, heat the white chocolate, stirring, until it melts. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Add orange food coloring (red and yellow) to create desired pumpkin color. Holding the dark chocolate balls one at a time in a spoon over the white chocolate bowl, spoon the white chocolate over the balls, covering them completely. Tap the spoon on the rim of the bowl to help the excess white chocolate run off and to get a smooth coating. Place the coated balls back on the parchment-lined pan. Repeat for the remaining balls. Place the finished balls back in the refrigerator until firm.

Reheat the white chocolate and repeat the coating procedure as above, giving each ball two complete coats of orange colored white chocolate. Return the balls to the lined pan and refrigerate until firm.

With a very sharp small knife, carve away the outer orange layer of white chocolate to form the desired ‘carved pumpkin’ image – scary, funny, it’s only limited by your imagination and patience! Carefully remove all of the carved away orange areas and any resulting debris. Place the carved balls back in the refrigerator until firm. Touch up any carving ‘irregularities’, and clean up the finished carved ball as necessary.

Cut the wooden skewers into 1 ½ inch lengths. Color with the green food coloring. Heat the cut skewer pieces in the microwave for a few seconds till warm, and carefully push them into the tops of the balls to form the stems of the pumpkin.

Make a somewhat darker shade of orange than the color of the balls, and with a toothpick, draw lines to look like the segments of a pumpkin. Chill the final result until very firm. Enjoy!


Eye-ball Jello Shot Recipe to follow shortly!

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11 Comments:

Anonymous faith said...

Oooh. Yes, yes, recipes please!

5:59 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

i love, love, LOVE your totally seasonal take on this event. Briliantly creative.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:50 PM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Thanks! Should have the recipes up by tommorow!

11:05 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Oh wow! These are just too adorable. I love the eyeballs LOL... You must have a *lot* of patience, by the look of these :P

Thanks for a really creative interpretation of the theme!

1:50 PM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Jeanne - Thanks! The eye balls were not so hard. The pumpkins however were pretty time consuming and exacting. Good thing I had plently of extra jello during the 'carving'!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Bron said...

Spooky! Very very cool!
Great take on the theme, well done!

5:25 PM  
Blogger Brilynn said...

These are amazing! I like how the pumpkins are carved differently, and the addition of alcohol can't be a bad thing either...

5:58 AM  
Blogger thepassionatecook said...

what a fantastic idea! i wish i was half as talented... carving a pumpkin is already pushing me to my very limits, but fiddling around with cake icing? you are so clever!

6:27 AM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Bron, Brilynn and Passionatecook - thanks! It certainly helped that all the pieces that broke and didn't make the pictures had some alcohol in them! Not to mention the fact that somehow a lot more whisky was gone after I finished than I remember adding to the desserts themselves (evaporation? hmm)!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

When are you going to have the eyeball shot recipe up?

They look awesome!!

7:16 PM  

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