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The easiest no-cook, egg-free chocolate mousse.

cake tops

Having an egg allergy is very common, and many nation-wide avoid simple pleasures like custard, and aioli, and even fried rice due to this aversion (The horror!).  Another common culprit is the creme entieremousse.  The whipped-up, airy, light-so-you-don’t-feel-like-you’re-actually-stuffing-your-face-with-half-a-candy-bar’s-worth-of-chocolate dessert… basically, it’s very good.

The majority of recipes for mousse have either mounted egg whites and/or whole eggs in them to provide the fluffy texture and creamy consistency, respectively.  You really only need two ingredients, however: cream and chocolate.  (It’s magic, I tell ya!)

Below I’ll provide the recipe for a basic Egg-less Chocolate Mousse*, and due to popular demand, a recipe for a mounted cake involving said mousse and a nut-free Macaron cake with a layer of vanilla jelly as well.  Oh, the joy!

mousse soloEgg-Free Dark Chocolate Mousse

20 cl heavy cream (the kind you can whip into whipped cream)
85 g good dark chocolate (over 65% cacao content advised)

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1. Make sure your cream is measured and chilled in the fridge.  You want it very cold.
2. Melt the chocolate gently over a bain marie (a metal bowl with the chocolate in it over simmering water will do just fine) until just melted.  Remove from heat, and whisk a few times to make temperature homogenous.
3. Remove cream from fridge, and vigorously whisk in 1/3 of the cream into the chocolate.  Once homogenous, add another 1/3, and repeat one more time with the rest of the cream.  You want to have something that is uniform in color, and stop whisking immediately once this is obtained.
4. Put back into fridge, and let reach a cool temperature, about 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).
5. Remove from fridge, and using a clean whisk, whisk until it forms a mousse, about 1 minute.  Once you see it starting to hold up, go a little slowly, as it can cross over into “split butter land” pretty quickly.  So, if it looks like mousse, stop whisking, your job is done, and it tastes like a little portion of chocolate heaven.

–Grab a spoon and dig it!!–

yumcake<–Or, perhaps you want to know how to make this cake?

I’m sure you do!  And it’s gonna involve that mousse.

Mounted Nut-Free Macaron Cake with Dark Chocolate Mousse and Vanilla Jelly Filling

Components:

1. Macaron Cake (for egg-free use the White Bean White Cake recipe in the Bubble Child cookbook or the Maple Banana Oat recipe here)

2. Dark Chocolate Mousse (see recipe above)

3. Vanilla Jelly (vegetarian, as we use no gelatine, but agar-agar instead!)

::: You’ll have to make that chocolate plus, as well as…:::

macaron cakeNut-Free Macaron Cake

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup rice flour

4 egg whites

1/3 cup sugar

+a pinch ground cardamom, powdered vanilla, and/or cinnamon if you’re feel like some fun flavors (optional)

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Bake time: ~12-15 minutes

Yields one baking sheet flat cake for mounting

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In medium bowl, combine flour, powdered sugar, and (optional) ground spices.  In a large metal bowl (or using an electric mixer) mount your egg whites to stiff.  Add regular sugar, and finish them off to a stiff stip.

3. Add dry ingredients to egg whites, and using a spatula gently fold them until homogenous.  Keep folding until they just start to lose volume (which is the French term “macaroner”, which is where the word “macaron” comes from!)

4. Using spatula, spread out batter onto baking sheet with parchment paper gently, trying not to flatten too much.  Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until bottom of cake is slightly colored and cake is cooked through.  Remove from oven, remove paper with cake on it, and place on wire rack or somewhere other than a heated surface to cool down.

vanilla jelly and mousse comboVanilla Jelly

1 1/2 cups milk of choice

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean split lengthwise)

a pinch salt

2 tbs. honey

4 g agar agar (a vegetarian version of gelatine derived from seaweed)

3 tbs. cold/room temperature water

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 3 minutes

Yields about 2 cups jelly

1. Mix agar agar in the 3 tbs. water to dissolve in small bowl.  Set aside.

2. Heat milk with vanilla, honey, and salt until just about to boil.  Whisk, remove from heat, let infuse for 3 minutes.

3.  Whisk in agar agar into milk mixture and put back over heat.  Bring to a boil for 15 seconds, whisking the whole time.  Remove from heat, and pour into a large shallow bowl, cover the mixture with plastic wrap directly touching the jelly, and put in the fridge.

:::Now…:::

mounted cake-Mount your cake!-

1. Cut cake in two “hamburger style” (so you have two large rectangles instead of two long strips).

2. Before vanilla jelly has set firmly in the fridge (take it out of fridge and whisk if it starts to look too hard to work with already), spread it on top of one layer of the cake evenly and to desired thickness.  But this layer in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to firm up.

3. Remove layer from freezer, and add layer of chocolate mousse on top to desired level of thickness.  Repeat again in freezer to firm up for no more than 10 minutes, no less than 5.

4. Top with second layer of cake, and top with mousse.  decorate the top however you’d like, and cut into desired shape (like an oval shown here) or simply trim the edges to make into a beautiful square.

-Tip!- it’s easier to cut this cake when it is frozen, so if you want to put the whole thing in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to get set a bit more then cut then store in the fridge, it looks prettier without over-chilling it.

*(Mousse recipe adapted from Cordon Bleu’s Heavenly Chocolate Cake recipe)

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Buckwheat Herb Focaccia Loaf

focaccia top viewHaving an hour commute each way to my day of cooking in Paris has been enlightening in many ways: I have a daily moving catalogue of a variety of fashion blogs, a memorization of how to beg for you and your dog as a Parisian gypsy (same people, same trains, it’s amazing), and the opportunity to catch up on some reading.  Favorite finds have included “Just Kids” by Patti rosecrans baldwinSmith, “Amour A En Perdre la Raison” by Maryse Vaillant, and this little number by New Yorkais Rosecrans Baldwin “Paris I Love You, but You’re Bringing Me Down”.

Now that LCD Soundsystem is probably stuck in your head (my apologies), and the reason this brings me to bread is that the gluten-free loafs here simply do not compare to the marvels that are created daily back in the States.  (Happy Campers in Portland Oregon, Mariposa Baking Company in San Francisco, Risotteria NYC, New Cascadia Portland, and even Food For Life in plastic bags nationwide, to name a few.)  Paris, I do love you, but when it comes to GF bread, you really do bring me down.

buckwheat herb loafFortunately the flour in the bread in France is naturally lower in gluten, so if you just have a sensitivity, you can “push your luck” sometimes and end up with a four-leaf clover.  However, for those who have overdosed on that luck pushing, or just want a really tasty loaf of bread, this experiment proved so fruitful it would be a shame to keep in my tiny studio kitchen alone.

Buckwheat Herb Loaf

Gluten- and nut-free.  Vegan.

1 cup + 3 tbs. (140 g) buckwheat flour + a few tablespoons more for dusting pan
1/3 cup (25 g) arrowroot flour
3 tbs. (15 g) sweet rice flour (mochiko)
1 packet (9 g) dry active yeast
1 tsp. (4 g) sugar
1 cup (200 ml) warm water (not boiling, or it will kill the yeast, but not cold, or it will not provoke the yeast)
2 tsp. honey or agave nectar (vegan)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. sage
1/8 tsp. rosemary (chopped)
1/2 tbs. high heat oil (grapeseed recommended)
1 tsp. dried oregano
a few pinches flaked sea salt (optional but recommended)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Proofing time: 2 hours
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Yields one large loaf

1. In large bowl, mix flours, yeast, and sugar with a whisk.  Add water, and stir with a spoon or paddle attachment of electronic mixer on low speed for 2 minutes.  Add honey, salt, thyme, sage, and rosemary.  Mix for another 8 minutes, until dough starts to hold.  Set aside as you gently oil and dust a deep 8”x8” bread pan, or any other size loaf you want.  Fill no more than half way full, as this dough will rise.
mixing2. Spatula the dough into the prepared mold, cover the pan with a damp cloth not touching the dough, and let rise 1 1/2 hours room temperature.
3. Pre-heat oven to 410 degrees Fahrenheit (210 Celcius).  Very gently brush the bread with oil, and sprinkle with oregano and sea salt.  Cover again, and set the bread to rise next to a hot surface for 20-30 minutes.
4. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate, and bake for another 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celcius) and bake another 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 C) to finish bread, cooking for another 10 minutes or so, until inserted pairing let it riseknife or wooden skewer comes out basically clean (some moist crumbs, but nothing sticky).
5. Remove, let cool 2 minutes before running a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the bread.  Remove the base by sticking a spatula under the loaf, let sit a few minutes before serving.

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Pizza!! Looks like dinner comes before dessert.

10 minute pizza breadFirst and foremost, I have to excuse myself for the week’s tardiness of this post.  I took a rather impromptu trip to Biarritz in the South of France after discovering that I had a very rare two-day break in my schedule, and baked away my days along the Basque coast.

Biarritz<–this took away my time from tallying up pizza vs. cake votes and then documenting a recipe.  I think you can understand.

my ideal house<–and this.

on the beach<–Je t’aime, summer.

Alas, to my surprise, more people wanted a quick pizza than a chocolate whiskey vanilla cake!  Hooray, you!  Dessert will have to be next week…

But for now: let’s get to crackin’ on that 10-Minute Garlic Tomato Pizza Bread.  No sautéing, no sauces, nothing canned, just you, whatever form of oven you’ve got, and some simple, pure ingredients.  Oh, and a knife.  Ninjaaa

Since it takes 10 minutes, we’ve got no seconds to waste.  Here we go:

10-Minute Garlic Tomato Pizza Bread

garlic tomatoes1 large tomato on the vine

2 cloves garlic, coarsely minced

1/2 tbs. herbes de provence, or a mix of dried herbs consisting of thyme/oregano/marjoram/basil/parsley/tarragon/and/or/chives

1-2 tbs. high heat oil, depending on the size of your tomato

1/2 tsp. sea salt + more if you really like salt

ground black pepper to taste (optional)

1 large slice either gluten-free bread, a large gluten-free crisp, a teff flour wrap, or homemade Polly Want a Sorghum Crackers? from the Bubble Child cookbook

1/4 cup grated aged sheep’s milk or goat’s milk cheese for those with lactose intolerances, or 1/4 cup grated asiago or emmenthal cheese for those who can and want to handle cow’s milk

Preparation time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves 1

1. Pre-heat your oven to the broil setting… go!

2. Slice up tomatoes into less than 1/3 cm slices.  Spread with no overlap in some baking slicing tomatovessel/sheet.  Top with oil, herbs, and salt.  Flip each piece of tomato over once, then back onto itself so that the seasoning and oil is on both sides.  Top with garlic and move it around enough so that it is coated in both oil and tomato juice so it doesn’t burn.  Pop in the oven for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.  (Black means burnt.)

3.  In the meantime, prepare your bread or crackers or crisps on a baking sheet.  You can either do tiny baby crackers with one tomato slice on each or one large crisp for something more of a light meal.  Make sure your cheese is ready.

4.  Once the tomatoes have cooked to where they are crispy on top and just starting to “wrinkle” a little, pull them out of the oven, put them on top of the cracker, top with cheese, and put back in the oven for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

That’s it.  So so good when served with a side salad and a glasses of wine.

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You’ve got it: GLUTEN-FREE ECLAIRS

éclairsRight before I moved to Paris, I remember speaking with a friend about how excited I was to learn real French pastry: “You know, like, éclairs and millefeuilles and those puff pastry bits… but I really want to know how to make éclairs.”  I now do.  And have perfected those little what makes an éclairbuggers into gluten-free form for you, yours, and all those who are either not able to eat gluten or fly to France for pastry.  (Take it to you, take it to you!)

Eclairs are made of:

1. “choux” pastry – which is made of liquid, either water or milk, wheat flour, egg, and butter

2. pastry cream – which is traditionally composed of milk, egg, wheat flour, cornstarch, and whatever flavoring it receives and

3. some sort of “fondant” glaze topping – generally made of glucose which is almost always derived from wheat for cost purposes

That being said, if you have an aversion to wheat, forget about éclairs no matter what country you live in.  What’s more, for those with lactose sensitivities, the cream filling ain’t exactly the easiest thing to hold down because of the high percentage of lactose that has not been cultured.

Do you have a stove?  Do you have an oven?  (Even if it is a tiny European toaster one like yours truly.)  You’re good to go to bring that éclair to you.  Gluten-free.

pretty eclairsHomemade Gluten-Free Eclairs

with a vanilla rice milk pastry cream filling

and caramel topping

Choux Pastry:
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbs. (100 g) butter, cut into 1” cubes
1 tsp. (4 g) salt
1 tsp. (4 g) sugar
1 cup (130 g) rice flour
1/3 cup (40 g) arrowroot starch
4 eggs

Pastry Cream*:
2 cups (500 ml) rice milk
1 tsp. (a large pinch) vanilla
4 egg yolks (raw)
1 1/4 cup (125 g) sugar, divided
1/4 cup (30 g) arrowroot starch

Caramel topping:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Cooling time: 30 minutes-1 hour
Makes many many tiny éclairs (would feed about 8 if all you were having is éclairs)

à la nappe1. Prepare pastry cream: Whisk together egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk right away and quickly so that you do not accidentally cook your eggs with the sugar.  Whisk in starch until “blanched”, aka lighter in color and homogenous.  Bring milk, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of the sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan and remove from heat.  Immediately pour 1/4 of the mixture into the egg yolk mixture whisking as you go.  Then add the entirety of the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan (whisking) and put back over heat.  Cook over medium-high heat until boiling and keep whisking the whole time.  To check for doneness, the pastry cream should stick to the back of a metal spoon and should leave a line if you run your finger over it.  (“à la nappe”)
2. Cover pastry cream in a large metal bowl with plastic film touching the cream and pop in the fridge immediately to cool down.  (Putting the plastic film in direct contact with it will eliminate insulation and help it cool down more quickly.)
choux3. Prepare your choux pastry: Measure out all of your ingredients before you start cooking, and mix together rice flour, sugar, salt, and arrowroot starch in a medium bowl.  Heat water and butter together in a large enough saucepan until butter is melted and the concoction has boiled for about 15 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Quickly stir in the flour mixture, mixing well until homogenous.  Put the mixture back over medium heat and keep stirring it to dry it out for about 30-45 seconds.  You don’t want it to be sticky anymore.
4. Remove from heat and put in a large mixing bowl.  Add your eggs and stir in until homogenous one at a time.  Mixture should be like a very thick cake batter.  Spoon into a pastry sack with a 3/4” wide tip (or put in a plastic bag and cut out a tip that size).  Pipe out your éclairs into desired length (for minis do about 3”, for normal sized ones do about 5”) onto a baking eclairs are ready to fillsheet lined with parchment paper, not waxed paper.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until top is golden, it has poofed up, and the inside is cooked through (not egg-y anymore).  You might just have to test one by eating it when you are very sure they are done.  It just might have to be done.  Just saying.
5. Remove choux pastry from oven and let cool to the touch before filling with your pastry cream.  During this time, you can spoon the pastry cream (or other filling) into a pastry bag with a small metal tip and set up the ingredients to make your caramel!  If you do not have a pastry bag with a tip you might just want to cut the eclairs in half and spoon in the filling, because this requires a tip to do the filling method where you hardly see it.
pipe6. Eclairs are cool to touch? Now you want to prepare them: cut a small hole in the end of the eclair on both sides.  Pipe in your filling until the side starts to inflate and get full with pastry cream.  Repeat with the other side.  Turn it over.  It’s filled.  Repeat with all of the éclairs.
7. Make the caramel: Pour water then sugar into a saucepan and put over medium-high heat.  Stir once right when you add the sugar then do not touch it or you will mess up your caramel.  Let boil until you see the edges start to turn, you guessed it, caramel.  About 5 minutes, but stay close as this is easy to mess up.  Watch it change color and right when it all starts to look caramel-like remove from heat.  Leave it in the saucepan to stay warm, because if it cools it watch out!will harden.  Spoon the caramel on top of the éclairs in a thin line to make it look really pretty, let cool, and you’ve got something real special.

*If you don’t want to take the time to make pastry cream, you can fill it up with a dairy-free pre-made pudding, whipped cream (there are vegan options available out there), or your favorite allergy-safe ice cream.  Simply cut the éclair in half and fill it up!

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What to do with your leftover Olive Oil Rice?

Have extra Olive Oil Rice?  Combine inspirations and make this:

fig rice pizza bowl saladTurn a few leaves and you’ll find rice and avocado and smoked ham.  Oh my!

Take it back here for the recipe (I simply substituted seasonal veggies and ham for chicken in this case)–> Rice Chicken Pizza Top Salad

Bon app!!

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