And the caramel net? I'm a big fan of Bridget Jones's Diary and laughed my heart out when Bridge tried to make something or the other in sugar cages for her birthday. I had never tried to make sugar cages and just wanted to tackle it.
The results? The sugar turned out quite caramelized which gave it a nice dark sheen. And the mousse... my oh my... I have a new vice...
Did it beautify my blog? Well.... My food photography skills are not very refined yet. But I had fun. And a new and oh so simple vegan dessert to show off with.
The Caramel Net
There are fancy ways to do this, with a candy thermometer and all sorts of things I don't have. I just melted 1 cup regular sugar over medium heat until it was all liquidy and caramelized, then jacked up the heat to high and let it bubble for a minute or two. Then I put a bowl into the sink (lest it would break and spill its contents all over my kitchen) and poured the hot hot hot caramel into it to prevent it from burning in the hot pot. This had the added advantage that I could just pop it into the microwave for a few seconds everytime it got too cool to work with.
I let the sugar cool for a few minutes, testing every once in a while if it would already form strings. Then I dipped the prongs of a fork into the sugar and let it drip in long thin strands onto some parchment paper to form a grid. Then I just let it cool and went shopping for vegan cream and chocolate.
The Chocolate Mousse
1 cup dark chocolate, melted
1 cup vegan whipping cream (I used Soyatoo)
1 tblsp cornstarch
1 teaspoon confectioner's sugar
I had never had vegan mousse nor tried to make any. The recipes I googled all used tofu, something I cannot come by easily. So I decided to give Soyatoo, an amazing vegan "whipping cream" a try.
The chocolate I used is an equally amazing organic fair-trade chocolate. Its only ingredients are cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and raw cane sugar. 85% of it is cocoa, that means it only contains 15% sugar. No added fats, no added nothing. Amazingly chocolate-y.
I melted the chocolate in a bowl in a pot with hot water, making sure the chocolate didn't get too hot, then let it cool to room temperature. I whipped the Soaytoo with the starch and the sugar until it was whipped-creamy, then added the chocolate, whipped it some more, transferred it to a nice bowl and trusted it to my fridge.
Onto the plate
I had envisioned my mousse on a glass plate, garnished with mint leaves and raspberrries. Unfortunately, my supermarket was out of mint plants but on my way home I found some edible, non-stingy red deadnettles. They normally blossom in spring and summer but this winter so far has been more like spring anyway so they were already out and blooming. Beautiful.
I placed the caramel grid on a glass dish. Then I used two spoons to form little oval "nockerl" and lovingly arranged them on their caramel bed. I had some raspberries join them and some red nettles to keep them company. And then I highjacked the whole plate to take pictures of it.
After the photo session I sat down with a nice cup of rooibos tea and enjoyed my piece of art. My verdict? As Saint-Exupery put it: "What is essential is invisible to the eyes." It was delicious :-)