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Maple syrup infused with star anise creates a flavor that is clearly more than the sum of its parts. This mousse has a light, creamy, buttery, licorice-like flavor that barely registers maple as its principal sweetener. Serve it in glasses with some crushed pecans or walnuts as a terrific dessert, or use it as a filling for a torte or carrot cake.
6 egg yolks Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup 4 whole star anise 2 cups heavy cream
Special Tools and Pans Stand mixer
Medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan with at least 4-inch sides Digital candy thermometer (optional)
4 cups, serves 6
Begin the mousse.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg yolks and salt on medium speed. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of cold water and let this mixture sit while you reduce the maple syrup.
Reduce the maple syrup.
Combine the maple syrup and star anise in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and boil until the syrup registers 240iF on a candy thermometer. If you do not have a thermometer, test the syrup after it has boiled, foamed, andreduced somewhat. Drop a fork tong of syrup on the counter-if it dries in a mound, scrapes off the counter cleanly with your fingernail, and is somewhat pliable and gummy between two fingers, it is ready.
Add the maple syrup to the egg yolks.
Remove the star anise with a fork and discard. With the mixer on medium-high speed, slowly pour the hot maple syrup down the side of the bowl into the yolks. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the gelatin into the empty pan in which you cooked the maple syrup, and let it melt into a syrupy liquid. Pour the gelatin into the egg yolk mixture and whisk at medium-high speed until it triples in volume and cools to room temperature.
Finish the mousse.
Remove the bowl with the mousse base from the mixer. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it has soft peaks. Scrape the whipped cream on top of the mousse base. Fold the two together with a spatula or bowl scraper: place your spatula in the center of the bowl, scrape the bottom, and bring the bottom over the top. Rotate the bowl 45 degrees and continue folding until all the whipped cream is incorporated. If you want to serve the mousse in a casual manner, let it chill and gel in a large bowl or plastic container for at least 2 hours before dolloping it out onto individual plates. Alternatively, for a more finished look, pour the mousse into 6 to 8 small serving dishes and let it set in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours before serving.
Serve this mousse with a crunchy cookie or some chopped hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts.
This mousse keeps, refrigerated, for 3 days.
Goat Cheese and Purple Basil Soufflé
This is a grown-up dessert: barely sweet, herbaceous, and complex. The tanginess of the goat cheese complements the refreshing clarity of the basil, making this a truly sophisticated ending for a summer dinner party.
Purple basil is a strain of the species that features the spicy flavor and aroma we expect from ordinary basil, but its stunningly colored purple leaves make for an exciting and exotic presentation. That said, if your local market doesn't stock purple basil, the green variety will produce the same flavors in this soufflé.
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter 1/3 cup plus 7 tablespoons sugar 3/4 cup whole milk 7 eggs 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons flour 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature 2 tablespoons finely chopped purple basil Pinch of cream of tartar
Special Tools and Pans
Twelve 4-ounce or seven 5-ounce ramekins Stand mixer Candy thermometer See Soufflé Guidelines (page 112).
Twelve 4-ounce soufflés or seven 5-ounce soufflés
Prepare the soufflé molds.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and generously grease your soufflé ramekins. Refrigerate the buttered ramekins and then butter them again. Dust the insides of the ramekins with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and return them to the refrigerator. Keep the remaining butter at room temperature.
Make the pastry cream.
Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Meanwhile, separate the eggs, reserving the whites in the bowl of your stand mixer. Place 4 of the yolks in a medium bowl, 2 in a small bowl to be used later, and either discard the remaining yolk or use it for something else. Whisk the 4 yolks with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the salt. Briskly whisk in the flour, making sure that the mixture is smooth with no lumps or streaks of white. While continually whisking, add about half the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture to warm it, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the remaining milk in the pan. Bring the custard to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking continuously and making sure to scrape the bottom of the entire pan. Once the mixture boils (20 seconds) and thickens, remove it from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons butter. Transfer the custard to a clean stainless-steel bowl and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the goat cheese, basil, and remaining 2 egg yolks. Cover the goat cheese cream with plastic wrap while you make the meringue.
Make the meringue.
See BEYOND THE BASICS: Acid in egg white foams, page 123.
Combine 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium heat and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Simultaneously place the 7 egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium-high speed. Once the egg whites begin to foam up, add the cream of tartar.
When the egg whites are completely foamy and begin to hold the lines of a whisk, turn the heat under the pan of sugar syrup to high. Once the sugar syrup has come to a rolling boil and reaches 225ºF to 230ºF, gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, to the egg whites. As you add the sugar, the whites should become shiny and gain volume. If you see the whites beading (small lumps of egg whites forming on the side of the bowl), you have whipped them too dry; slow the machine down and add the remaining sugar. Once the sugar syrup on the stove reaches 248ºF quickly, in a slow continuous stream, pour the hot syrup into the egg whites with the mixer set on a medium-high speed. The whites should still gain more volume and take on a satiny white color. Continue to whip the meringue on medium-high speed until it stiffens and cools, 3 to 5 minutes.
This dessert is a timeless classic. This recipe is almost identical to the one my mom made every summer with the rhubarb from our garden in Queens, with one exception: I now make rhubarb soup out of the strained juice and use the strained pulp rather than raw rhubarb in the crisp, which significantly reduces the water content of the baked fruit and the need to use flour as a thickener, thus intensifying the flavor of the fruit gel beneath the crisp topping.
1 1/4 cups flour 1/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup packed, moist dark brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) butter, chilled
2 pints (1 1/2 pounds) strawberries Rhubarb pulp from the Rhubarb Consommé with Summer Berries recipe (page 167) 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt
Special Tools and Pans
Pastry knife (optional) 12 x 8 x 1 3/4-inch baking pan
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Make the streusel topping.
In a bowl, toss together the flour, sugars, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using two knives or a pastry blender, chop and toss the butter simultaneously until the butter is pea-sized and coated with flour. Do not let the dough come together in a ball. Set the streusel aside at room temperature, uncovered.
Prepare the fruit.
Wash, dry, and quarter the strawberries. In a bowl toss together the strawberries, rhubarb pulp, flour, sugar, and salt. Pack the fruit mixture evenly on the bottom of the baking dish and top with the streusel. Do not pack the topping down.
Bake the crisp.
Bake until the crumb topping has browned and the fruit is bubbling beneath, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow the crisp to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Serve this crisp warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraîche. I also recommend the Basil Ice Cream (page 142), Coconut Cream Cheese Ice Cream (page 135), or Vanilla Bean and Lemon Verbena Parfait (page 158).
This crisp is best eaten the day it is made but will keep, refrigerated, for 4 days.
Hazelnut Streusel Topping: Omit 2 tablespoons of the flour and substitute 1/4 cup (1 ounce) ground hazelnuts in the dry ingredients.
Cinnamon or Cardamom Streusel Topping: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ground cardamom to the dry ingredients.
Oatmeal Streusel Topping: Omit 1/4 cup of the flour and substitute 1/2 cup raw oats in the dry ingredients.
Excerpted from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman Copyright © 2006 by Kate Zuckerman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted April 24, 2010
This book was referred to at a cooking class I attended. It doesn't disappoint. First off, it is beautifully designed. The photography is gorgeous. Best of all, the recipes are easy to follow and well written. Thank you for a keeper!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 27, 2009
This cookbook not only offers fabulous dessert recipes but also provides an array of insightful explanations of the science behind baking. For instance, Zukerman elucidates the reasoning behind room temperature butter and eggs, explaining why temperature is so important. Follow her easy directions and you will be amazed at your results.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.