Dessert| Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce … when God created mothers!

“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”
Erma Bombeck

Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceHAPPY MOTHERS DAY! Finally the day to celebrate the toughest job in the world, one that makes you wonder ‘Why?‘ over and over again. As always there are no right answers, but this wonderful piece by Erma Brombeck written way back in May 12, 1974 for her Mother’s Day column tries to explain!

Dear Mother,

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.
And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?

She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable;
Run on black coffee and leftovers;
Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.” … you must read the rest here When God Created Mothers

Mothers Day PABWoke up this morning to find a beautiful new ipod nano that the kids bought for me as a Mothers Day gift. The teen paid for it, and on last count she was still trying to wrangle the half the lad owed her! The way he’s trying to wriggle out of it is hysterical, both equally persistent! I am so touched with the gift … they downloaded all my favourite songs onto it {Tracy Chapman, Dire Straits, Enya, Scorpions, Eric Clapton, Gordon Lightfoot, Eagles … 1000s more, all there!}, my fave FM music channels, pictures etc, wrapped in pretty hot pink paper!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceI made these delicious little desserts for today. One the the high points of summer in North India is the advent of stone fruit, especially cherries and peaches. The first sight of luscious deep red cherries takes my breath away. Always priced high, the way to announce the seasons first, yet temptation wins over resolve and the heart sings a song again! This year the crops better, sweeter and even more tempting!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceCame home 2 days ago with a box that weighed just under 800gms and had many happy thoughts, the first being a lattice cherry pie, or maybe a cherry clafoutis. The teen had other ideas however, being a cherry lover, and soon most of the box was history. Yet it was my bake a dessert day as it had been a while since I made an indulgent dessert.Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce The Internet has magical powers and drags you into its web, pulling you deeper and deeper. I was quite happily lost in Canelle et Vanilles beautiful pictures, when I googled for a cherry gelee to replace a strawberry gelee. Of course I got distracted, landed up at Epicurious and got searching for cherries. Cherry Syrup? Mmmmm, yes please. That sounded good, but underneath was something that sounded even better, something that I had never heard of – chocolate marquise!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce

Chocolate marquise is a delicate chocolate dessert made of dark chocolate, heavy cream, egg yolks, butter and sugar. Though chocolate marquise is fairly simple in its ingredients, it makes for an elegant dessert as it can be molded in various shapes and served with fresh or chocolate dipped fruit and shaved chocolate pieces. Chocolate marquise requires no baking, but you will need at least three hours to allow it to chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceIt’s tough to leave a tempting title like a Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise without an in depth read. Expectedly, pretty soon I was lining molds and humming a sweet song! Yum Yum Yum is all I thought! One thing was definite, that my marquise would be individually plated, a form of serving dessert which I enjoy most. Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceBittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceOf course you can line a loaf pan, or rectangular mold and set the marquise. Chill and slice prior to serving. Else do what I did with some leftover – set in individual goblets. Outstanding and fun! I think if you are short on time, the goblets work best and offer visual delight. I layered in a big hurry as I wasn’t too sure of what to expect. From experience I can now say – expect the best!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceBittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceIf you like bitter chocolate, then use a nice dark couverture like a 65-70% one, else you can even go with a medium. In that case, maybe reduce the sugar a bit if you like. For an adult variation, maybe spike it with a liqueur and top it with a complimentary fruit pairing. Chocolate holds endless appeal and pairs well with a variety of fruit – cherries, strawberries, oranges, mangoes etc. If cherry season isn’t there yet, try a pairing with strawberries in balsamic syrup.

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“A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

You might have heard of my fascination and loyalty to Pinktober. My life is pretty overpowered with pink through October, including a pink cake for Mr PAB year after year. It’s PINKTOBER after all, the Breast Cancer Awareness month and it always feels nice to rope in some pink and continue to spread the message. It’s also wonderful to see the support and enthusiasm other bloggers share with the awareness, as Prerna says in her beautiful pink post here,  “I know how this six letter word can change the fate of a family“! Our  challenge  at MacTweets this month has gone pink too with PINKAROONS, so if you are inclined to find feet, with a little bit or a lot of pink, come join the happy feet dance here! We’ve already had a few entries, and you HAVE to check out Lora’s inspired post here!

The pink bug’s bitten me for the past few Octobers, and each time I do dessert in the  month, I try and think pink. I was gob smacked by this awesome Charlotte that Jamie made, and set off to make quark for it, a pink variant in mind. By the time I got organised, and the quark was well drained, I saw I had missed reading about the mascarpone etc. Sigh, that beautiful dessert would need to wait a bit as I had no time to make the mascarpone. I was then inspired by these fabulous Cheesecakes in Glasses that the Heavenly Housewife had filled with Greek yogurt in mind blowing combinations. Eventually it was this Effortless Raspberry Quark Mousse from BBC Good Food that led me home! It was rather effortless, and I spent far more time browsing the net and doing the dishes than putting this delightful mousse together.

The mousse was a joy to make {read no real work at all}, and I had the ‘honour’ of having the teen who lives with her head in the clouds stopping by to check what I was making. One lick of the spatula and she was my loyal slave to help out to the end almost the end! She patiently filled the glasses, making sure the sides and rims stayed clean, measured each one out uniformly, and then licked the big bowl clean. Left me to do the washing up, announcing later at night that the dessert was awesome good, and she had made it!

I used the roasted balsamic strawberries that I had frozen this past summer. We had bought many kilos back from our trip to Mahabaleshwar {near Pune}, and this recipe at Zoe Bakes helped me preserve some beautifully. They were absolutely fantastic defrosted {I took them out of the freezer, and left them in the fridge the night before}; I had to fight the kids off from spooning it into their greedy little mouths. That good!! Can hardly wait for the next strawberry season as this is high on my list to do again. A freshly roasted batch went into these sublime little Eggless Caramel Cream Refrigerator Cakes.

The mousse was indulgent in every way. When you hear the spoon desperately scraping the bottom of the glass, you know you have a winner! I have another batch of quark setting as I type this post as I was completely blown away by how good the dessert tasted.  The vanilla bean and the roasted balsamic strawberries made it sing out loud. I have new ideas in my mind – of brandied cherries or maybe preserved peaches {now you know what I did last summer}, and am thinking overtime of what to use. Inspirations from beautiful foodie blogs don’t make life simpler; then again, these are the small joys of a foodies existence!

Quark, a curd cheese, is a type of fresh cheese also known as tvorog, topfen, etc. I urge you to make quark cheese, I really do! It’s easier than you can imagine. I use this recipe I adapted from HogletK ages ago, and thank her in my mind each time I use it. I did toy with the idea of adding gelatin to the mousse, but eventually dumped the idea when I saw the texture of my well-drained home made quark. I just knew it was good enough to ‘hold its own‘, and it did! {For my readers in India, you get cultured buttermilk at Mother Dairy and Amul; the 2 brands I know of, and I use either / or.}

Quark Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries
Inspired by BBC Good Food
400gms quark cheese {Homemade recipe here}
200ml low fat cream {25% fat/Amul}
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup roasted balsamic strawberries {recipe follows} or frozen strawberries,raspberries etc {Reserve 1/8 cup for topping}
I drained my quark for 2 days in the fridge
Beat the quark cheese with powdered sugar and scraped vanilla bean until smooth.
Whip the cream to soft peaks, and fold into the whipped quark cheese. Reserve 1/3 of this in another bowl.
Add 2/3rd of the balsamic strawberries to this, and mix through. Spoon equally into 6 serving glasses/dessert bowls. {You can also make one large portion, but I like doing individual servings}
Add the remaining 1/3rd strawberries to the reserved 1/3rd whipped quark, and top the glasses. Finish each serving off with 1 tsp of balsamic strawberries.
Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Roasted Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar
Adapted from Zoe Bakes
450-500gms strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/8 cup aged balsamic vinegar
Place the strawberries in a glass baking dish.
Sprinkle over the vanilla sugar, followed by the aged balsamic vinegar. Mix gently.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
Drain strawberries. Put the liquid into a sauce pan, and reduce to a thick concentrate. It will thicken a bit as it cools. Chill before use.
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‘Eat sweet and speak sweet’
Turkish proverb

Another PINK for October, and this time it’s candy! When Ilva said she was making Turkish Delight last month, I jumped right in too. Another opportunity to use Indulge – 100 Perfect Desserts by Claire Clark which I reviewed for BloggerAid recently. This would mean 3 down , 97 to go, as I had done an Apple & Black Grape Bande Aux Fruit & a basic chocolate sponge from the book recently. Getting to a 100 desserts, page by page! Claire Clark is counted among one of the world’s best pastry chefs, and has been a celebrated chef at The French Laundry. She has an easy style of writing, & a personal touch which offers a little culinary connection with each recipe. Turkish Delight is part of the Petits Fours section of the book, and at first glance I thought, ‘Cool, will sail right through’. It was another thing that I was eating my words pretty soon. Delightful as this Turkish delicacy might be, it comes with it’s baggage of work. Ilva tried once, not quite right, and then went on to her second try, which she did beautifully. Turkish Delight ((Rahat) Loukoum) or Cyprus Delight (Loukoumi) is a confection made from starch and sugar. It is often flavored with rosewater, mastic or lemon; rosewater gives it a characteristic pale pink color. It has a soft, jelly-like and sometimes sticky consistency, and is often packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with icing sugar or copra to prevent clinging. Some types contain small nut pieces, usually pistachio, hazelnut or walnuts.
Well I managed something, something tasty, but not exactly how it should have been. Was a little sticky & gooey, and got labelled TD Slugs by none other than my good friend Jamie. Am waiting for her to have a go, but knowing her French expertise, she’ll have perfect ones, so I shall hold my breath! I hope I will get it looking better next time. It tasted very nice,; a tad too sweet for me though.
I used some rose extract to flavour them that Man Friday got for me from his nephew who works in a rose factory. Excellent stuff. It lent a mild flavour to the TD, and I also added some blanched & peeled pistachios and almonds. The Turkish Delight did taste good! By the way, I always thought rose extract was pink in colour? Well, discovered that it’s not!! it’s actually a very light creamish white, almost like whey!Offered candy to the kids when they came home, & both jumped on them. ‘Oooooh they’re like the ones in Narnia’, hollered the son & wolfed down a whole slug, almost choking. Then the daughter descended into the chaos. ‘PRETTY!‘, Madame declared, ‘very pretty!’ I was like ‘bow scrape’. She took one, savoured it, licked her chops, took another. ‘These are good you know. Mmmmmm, very addictive too!’ By piece number 5, I had grabbed the box & done away with it. Too late, I was already peeling sugar high kids off the ceiling by the evening!
from Indulge by Claire Clark
Makes about 40 pieces
450 g/ 1 lb caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
145 g/ 5 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp rose water
To finish:
250 g/ 9 oz icing
50 g/ 1,75 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
- Line a 15 cm/6 in square baking tin with cling film, then oil the film lightly. Make sure the sides of the pan are lined as well as the base.
- Place the caster sugar, lemon juice and 250 ml/9 fl oz water in a large, heavy-based pan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, the turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Put a sugar thermometer in the pan, reduce the heat and simmer without stirring until the sugar reaches soft-ball stage (118 C/ 245 F). Remove from the heat straight away.
- While the sugar is boiling, combine the corn starch and cream of tartar, then mix to a smooth liquid with 250 ml/9 fl oz water. Place in a heavy-based sauce pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whisking continuously (start to heat the corn starch mixture as soon as the sugar has reached the 118 C/ 245 F and is resting; this allows the sugar to sit just long enough to cool but not so long that it gets to thick to pour). Pour the hot sugar syrup into the corn starch mixture and continue to simmer over a low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent it sticking. It will change to a very light golden colour. As it reaches the last 15 minutes of cooking time, you will need to stir it continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. (This was the tough part for me to figure out. Should have given it more time)
- Stir the rosewater and add a few drops of red food colouring, if desired. (I added some blanched chopped pistachios & almonds). Pour into the lined tray and spread evenly. Leave to cool in the tin, uncovered, overnight.
- The next day, sift the icing sugar and corn starch for finishing on to a sheet of baking parchment on a tray. Cut the Turkish Delight into cubes and roll them in the mixture on the tray.
Claire’s Notes:
I like to leave my Turkish Delight for a day once it has been coated in the icing sugar, so it firm up on the outside a little. Leave in a cupboard, uncovered, on a tray.
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