No, the Food Bloggers Network isn't a place to spam others. What began this time last year with an idea (this idea, in fact) has blossomed into a group of 244 members (you can read member blogs here). FBN is a place to ask questions of our food blogging peers and a place to share our knowledge. I've seen bloggers become subject matter experts (like my friend Carla who writes a fantastic photography series on her blog Chocolate Moosey). It's a place where over the last year I have seen friendships develop (such as Jen and Kim who are running a special heart healthy series today) as bloggers advance their skill sets or come together to bring to life a special post.
So today let's do what we food bloggers do best - let's enjoy a decadent treat and celebrate one year of being together.
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 2 by Julia Child & Simone Beck
This "cake" is no more than the combination of two recipes - each using Italian meringue. One is cooked to a crispy disc and the other is folded into chantilly cream and melted chocolate to make chocolate mousse. Sandwiched together and topped with raspberries they form a crunchy and creamy contrast fit for a celebration.
If you watch old episodes of The French Chef and look closely at the illustrations in Mastering the Art of French Cooking you'll notice there wasn't that concern with picture-perfect end results the internet is so obsessed with today. Rather the focus was on methodology and taste. I found it rather freeing to not pipe out my meringue and mousse but rather to just use a spoon to make each layer. Topped with fresh raspberries I have no doubt I'll enjoy the end result just as much. In fact, without going to too much trouble I was able to make this on a weeknight after work (and not hate my life whilst doing so).
Note: the following is a half recipe which would easily serve 4. Please reference Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the original 8-10 person measurements.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons d'Arbo raspberry syrup (optional - not in original recipe)
3 egg whites
small pinch salt
large pinch cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
A stand mixer is extremely helpful for this recipe. A hand mixer will do but my old favorite - a plain whisk - will require shoulders of steel or multiple kitchen helpers to take turns. Do yourself an enormous favor and use a stand mixer if at all possible.
Preheat oven to 200º F.
Combine the water, raspberry syrup, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and swirl to combine. Let slowly come to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
Beat the egg whites on medium speed until peaks begin to form. Add salt and cream of tartar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and reduce speed.
Check on your sugar syrup. Increase heat and boil until mixture reaches 238º-240º F or the soft ball stage. As soon as it does remove from the heat and ever so slowly let mixture trickle into the egg whites in a thin stream, keeping the mixer running the entire time. Once all the sugar syrup is incorporated keep whipping egg whites until very stiff peaks form and mixture has cooled (about 10 minutes).
Pipe, spoon, or otherwise ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of mixture (reserving remainder for chocolate mousse) onto a parchment or silpat covered cookie sheet in rounds (either large ones for a single "cake" or smaller ones for individual cakes). Bake for an hour and 15 minutes at 200º F. Turn off the oven and let cool inside the closed oven for about 30 minutes. Take out and let cool completely.
1 cup heavy cream
7 ounces good quality dark chocolate (the better the chocolate the better the result)
Melt the chocolate over the stove in a bain-marie. Julia and Simone add rum to their chocolate but I left mine unadulterated. You could also add Cointreau or framboise for flavor. Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks (do not add sugar - once you combine with the meringue and chocolate it will be more than sweet enough). Fold the melted chocolate with the remaining meringue then fold in the whipped cream. Voilá! Chocolate mousse!
Once the Italian meringue is cooked and cooled layer the meringue with the mousse and top with fresh raspberries. Serve immediately.
Check back later this week as we continue the celebrations with Jen from Jen's Favorite Cookies and Stacy from Food Lust People Love!
Read more from The Butcher, The Baker, The Blogger series:
The Butcher, The Baker, The Blogger
The Butcher, The Baker, The Blogger ~ Networking 101
The Butcher, The Baker, The Blogger ~ Copyright & You