So, Christmas happened. We had invited about twice the number of people our table could comfortably hold and were scrambling to finish all the cooking and rearranging of seating. Both Tuesday night and Wednesday slipped by in a whirl without me posting. Apologies for that. Being that this was the epicenter of the Holidays for so many of us, I didn’t think anyone would mind much, as I imagine most who might read my weekly musings would probably be just as busy as we were. Anyway, there is a Swedish saying that goes something like “if there is heart room, there is butt room”. (Om det finns hjärterum så finns det stjärterum.) This Christmas operated on that principle. Our Christmas was crowded but fun and wonderful – which was fun for a change. So often, it’s just us, so this was a nice change.
We wanted to try something new this year, and push ourselves a little. We decided to channel our inner, dormant pastry chefs, and picked a chocolate raspberry cake out of the Cordon Bleu book on Complete Cooking Techniques. Luckily this particular book tells you everything you need to know, and it was admittedly fun to learn something new.
Things we learned from this:
- The sponge was a bit dry, despite being drenched with simple syrup, mashed raspberries and Chambord. Wonder why…?
- Good tools are essential and can make any attempt easier. An offset spatula goes on the wish list for next year.
- There is chocolate, and then there is CHOCOLATE. Know exactly what you’re buying. I bought a good brand, but it was WAY too pure and dark for our application. In my holiday rush, I didn’t think much of what it was going to be used for – I just grabbed the last one off the shelf, without much thought. We had to add vanilla sugar to make the mousse palatable. Turned out well in the end, but added an extra step and some scrambling to adjust the bitter taste.
Still, we were happy with our accomplishment. And now, I want to bake other pretty, delectable things, because it was really fun to do. This could become a dangerous new distraction…
Hope you are all enjoying the various treats of the Season. Happy Holidays!