In my previous post, I mentioned how Lynn's request made me decide to make Quinoa Stuffed Peppers for the dinner we had with friends prior to watching the World Cup Quarterfinals. The ever discerning Ms Kong Piang yawned in her royal manner and declared that she was tired of purchasing substandard desserts and wanted something that would "hit the right spots." She waxed lyrical about something fruity then pondered upon something chocolatey before she dismissed everything and just 'demanded' something that would satisfy her. Kind of like Jean-Luc Picard saying "Make it so". (For those of you not from the same generation or wavelength, Picard is the Captain of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek, The Next Generation)
Anyway, I'm quite frightened of Ms Kong Piang . She has such discerning taste and is a fabulous cook in her own right that I would have to think of something that would match her expectations. Same goes for TLW as well as Lynn!
Having 3 gorgoeus women expecting satisfaction from one man may not be such a dream after all... Women with discerning palates are not to be trifled with. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
TLW kept asking me what I was going to make but I knew it would be better if I surprised her. I decided on a dessert with pears, chocolate mousse and a nutty base. My usual mousse uses egg whites to make it light and fluffy but I needed the egg whites for the meringue and didn't want to have leftover egg yolks. I decided to modify my Baked Chocolate Mousse. This is what I came up with, another original recipe:
3 Egg Whites
150g Caster Sugar
160g Ground Hazelnuts
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp Sugar
200g good quality Dark Chocolate
1 large can pears
Start off by straining the pears. Discard the juices. Cut the pears into quarters and set aside.
Whip egg whites till at soft peak stage. Add in the sugar and continue beating till thick, stiff and glossy. Quickly fold in the nuts till well incorporated. Spread into a 10" Springform lined with parchment paper. Bake at 180C for 30-40 mins till meringue is nicely cooked. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, remove the parchment paper from the meringue and place the meringue back into the springorm pan, being careful not to break the meringue.
Meanwhile, Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. While chocolate is melting, whisk together the egg yolks, 1 egg and sugar together till light and creamy. Add the egg mixture into the melted chocolate, stirring quickly. Should the chocolate seize or get lumpy, dont worry. Beat with an electric mixer for a short while and chocolate will become thick and silky. Set aside.
Whip the cream till it forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold into the chocolate mixture incorporating well to get a lovely chocolate mousse.
Place a thin layer of mousse over the meringue and then arrange pear quarters over the layer of mousse. Cover the pears with remaining mousse and smoothen the top of the mousse. Bake at 190C for 25 mins. Remove from oven and let cool before allowing to chill for at least 6 hours. Decorate with sliced pears.
I was in a bit of a rush when I made this cake that I didn't remove the parchment paper from the meringue before covering it with mousse. So when I wanted to unmould the cake, I caused a bit of cracking. I've written the recipe above to make sure I dont repeat that mistake!
When I brought the cake out to be served, everyone asked what it was and it was then that I realised that I didn't have a name for it. We decided to eat it first before deciding if it was worthy to be named.
The dessert was a huge hit! Everyone enjoyed it with Ms Kong Piang saying that it was the nicest dessert she had partaken of in a while. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the mousse complemented the pears while the hazelnut meringue was much nuttier and tastier than my usual almond meringue base. Michael enjoyed it so much that he had two pieces at one sitting while the rest of us definitely had more than one serve each!
Lynn and I reckoned that we had to give the cake a Geman name to commemorate Germany's destruction of Argentina in the 2010 World Cup Quarterfinals. Since its a Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pears, I thought of calling it Schokoladenmousse Birnenkuchen - a direct translation.
Maybe Festmal Kuchen is a better and simple name for this cake as I reckon it is the perfect finale to any Feast!