Chocolate Mousse Tart with Browned Butter Oat Crust | Raaka Baking Chocolate

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One of my very favorite chocolate makers in NYC, Raaka Chocolate, is launching a new line of baking chocolate today! They are starting with two delicious varieties,  Oat Milk 58% cacao that I used in this chocolate mousse tart and Maple Dark 75% cacao. They will launch two more varieties in the coming weeks, and they have cacao powder and cacao nibs too! I got a sneak peek of all four varieties and I have enjoyed baking with (and just plain eating) these little chocolate discs so much. 

This decadent Chocolate Mousse Tart with Browned Butter Oat Crust is definitely fit for a special occasion, but isn’t too tricky to put together. The crust is the easy-peasy pat in the pan variety and the mousse is just as good on its own as it is in this buttery, crisp, toasty crust. You could even just make the chocolate mousse and skip the crust all together, but don’t skip the billowy whipped cream! 

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 Raaka Chocolate is unroasted which highlights all of the natural fruitiness of cacao so it’s flavor profile might be a little different than your everyday chocolate, and it is so, so tasty. They are also a company that values the community of growers, producers, and makers whose livelihoods depend on cacao and chocolate and are very transparent about their sourcing practices. You can read all about it on their website. Let me know if you try it!

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 This post was sponsored by Raaka Chocolate.


Oat Milk Chocolate Mousse Tart with Browned Butter Oat Crust

Makes one 9-inch tart

This decadent chocolate tart is more than the sum of its parts. The toasty-oaty crust provides a perfect base for rich and decadent chocolate mousse made with Raaka’s sublimely delicious Oat Milk chocolate. The mousse is delicious on its own for gluten free folks too. 

Browned Butter Oat Crust

1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter

2/3 cup (60g) rolled oats

1 cup (130g) all purpose flour

1/3 cup (35g) confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Water, as needed

Oat Milk Chocolate Mousse

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons strong coffee or coffee liqueur

3 large egg yolks

Pinch salt

4 ounces Raaka Oat Milk Chocolate finely chopped, plus a little more to garnish

1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided

Heat your oven to 375ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan.

Brown the butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Make sure to use a pan with a light colored interior so you can see the milk solids change color. Continue to cook the butter, stirring occasionally, scraping the milk solids off of the bottom and sides of the pan as necessary. After a few minutes the milk solids should turn golden brown and smell toasty. Transfer the toasty browned butter to a heat safe container and let it cool slightly.

Add the oats to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until the oats are broken up a bit. Add the flour, confectioners sugar, and salt and pulse about 10 times or until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Drizzle the butter into the mixture and pulse until combined. The mixture should hold together easily when you squeeze it in your hands. If it seems very dry, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until it holds together.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tart pan and press it evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to make the crust smooth and even. Bake the crust until it is golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Set it on a rack to cool completely.

When the shell is cool, make the mousse. 

Whisk 3/4 cup of the heavy cream to soft peaks and store in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the mousse.

Set a heatsafe bowl over a pan of simmering water to make a double boiler. Add the sugar, coffee, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt to the bowl and whisk the mixture until it is very hot to the touch (about 160ºF), pale yellow and doubled in volume. 

Add the chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. Off of the heat, add a heaping spoonful of the whipped cream and whisk it into the chocolate mixture to lighten it a bit. Add the rest of the whipped cream and gently fold to combine. Pour the mousse into the cooled shell, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm, about one hour. Just before serving whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream to soft peaks dollop it over the mousse. Grate a bit more chocolate over the top and serve.

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The Classic Birthday Cake

It’s birthday season in Apartment 2 …

King Arthur Classic Birthday Cake | apt 2b baking co King Arthur Classic Birthday Cake | apt 2b baking co

It’s birthday season in Apartment 2 (we lost the B in our move, years ago) and you all know I love a big ol birthday cake. I have to admit that I have been a chocolate cake/vanilla frosting devotee for many years but after trying this yellow cake recipe my preference just may be flipping upside down. It is straight from King Arthur so you can head on over to their site to check it out.

The method for mixing the cake is a little unusual, but it gives this cake a really nice crumb and moist texture. I find yellow/white cakes can be kind of bland and dry, but not this one! Make sure to use high quality cocoa powder in the frosting, it makes a huge difference.

Buttermint Patties

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Anyone else LOVE buttermints? You know, those old fashioned kinda hard, kinda chalky, but also creamy little candies that come with the check at some restaurants? I find them totally irresistible and these little confections have all the creamy, minty deliciousness of a buttermint with the texture, and chocolate coating of a peppermint patty. They are a perfect treat to make for holiday gifts, not too hard, but very special and VERY tasty.

I covered these with (slightly imperfect) tempered chocolate, which gives the candies a crisp and shiny chocolate coating at room temperature, but tempering can be kind of tricky business. I find the seeding method to be the most straightforward. But the great news is, even if your chocolate isn’t perfectly tempered you can just store your mints in the fridge - which honestly I’d recommend anyway because I think these are best served chilled. Here’s another great article by David Lebovitz about tempering.


Buttermint Patties

slightly adapted from Amanda Fredrickson’s Peppermint Patties

makes about 4 dozen, depending on size

You can coat these with any type of chocolate you like. I did some with semisweet and some milk, and some with a little of both. Just make sure to use high quality feves or chocolate bars - do not use chocolate chips which contain stabilizers that you don’t want for a coating like this. You can also top them with a little bit of crushed peppermint candy or cacao nibs. Also, feel free to divide the dough and make half with nibs and half without, which is what I did for the photos in this post.

Filling

5 cups (550g) confectioner’s sugar

3 tablespoons corn syrup

3 tablespoons (45g) cultured butter, softened

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons peppermint extrat

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)

Topping

18 ounces high quality chocolate (bittersweet, semisweet or milk), chopped

flaky salt (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all of the filling ingredients except for the cacao nibs. Mix on low until all of the ingredients are moistened, add the cacao nibs (if using) then turn the mixer up to medium and mix until the mixture is the consistency of play dough.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough out until it is about 1/4’’ thick. Remove the top parchment and use a 1 1/2 or 2-inch circle cutter (or any other shape you like) to cut as many rounds as possible. Pull the excess dough away from the rounds (the rounds may be soft and tricky to move). Slide the parchment paper with the rounds onto a baking sheet and refrigerate. Gather up the dough scraps, re roll and cut more rounds. Again, transfer the parchment paper with the rounds onto a baking sheet and refrigerate. Repeat until all of the dough is used.

While the rounds are chilling, temper the chocolate. Use a fork to dip the chilled rounds in the chocolate and shake off the excess. Transfer them to a clean piece of parchment paper to dry. Sprinkle with flaky salt or use the fork to drizzle with more chocolate for decoration. Let them harden then store, with layers of parchment in between the layers in an airtight container.

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Fancy Jello Mold

Photo: Joe Lingeman for NYMAG

I don’t know about you guys, but I think jelly molds are ready for a comeback. Or are they already back? …

Photo:  Joe Lingeman  for  NYMAG

Photo: Joe Lingeman for NYMAG

I don’t know about you guys, but I think jelly molds are ready for a comeback. Or are they already back? I’ve seen them popping up here and there, and I have made a surprising number of them for photoshoots this year. I have totally fallen in love with their kitchy vibe and stunning colors. They can be totally delicious too! NYMag agrees and they asked me to create a gift worthy jelly mold for their annual gift guide which is on newsstands today. 

Impress your guests this holiday or bring one to a potluck and totally blow your friends minds. All you need is a fun shaped vessel – I like decorative cake pans (Nordicware makes great ones) but you could totally just use a regular glass or stainless mixing bowl, gelatin, juice, and some time. Have fun! Happy Holidays! 


Fancy Jelly Mold

I used Nordicware’s Charlotte Pan for this jelly, which is super cute and the little divots on top are the perfect shape to hold a cranberry or a raspberry. If you’d like to make a larger jelly mold you can double or triple this recipe. This jelly has some Framboise in it, but to make it more family friendly you can substitute cranberry juice for the Framboise. Pomegranate juice will also make a very tasty jelly, but it will be a bit more opaque and tart than the cranberry.

To suspend fruit in a larger mold, let the cranberry jelly mixture set until it is the texture of egg whites. At this point you can fold the fruit into the jelly and spoon it into the mold. The pictured mold uses cranberry juice, but you can also use pomegranate juice. The jelly will be slightly less clear and you will need to add 2 more tablespoons of sugar if using pomegranate juice.

For a clear jelly - Use white cranberry juice (or prosecco!) - every 3 cups of juice will need 2 envelopes of gelatin to set. You can also add a bit of clear liquor to the mix, like elderflower. Yum! If you’d like to add edible flowers, let the jelly set until it is the consistency of egg whites, pour it into the mold and place the flowers in the jelly one at a time. Make sure to arrange them to the prettiest side of the flowers is facing out because we all know this is about looks.

24 fresh cranberries

3 (1/4 ounce) envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin

3 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail or pomegranate juice

2 tablespoons sugar 

4 tablespoons Framboise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 

Food coloring (if desired)


Place 1 cranberry in each divot of the pan and set in the fridge to chill. 

Bloom the gelatin. In a small bowl stir the gelatin into 1 cup of the cranberry juice. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the gelatin is moistened.

Heat 1 cup cranberry juice and the sugar until simmering. Remove it from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved, warm it gently over low heat if necessary to dissolve the gelatin, but do not boil. Add the remaining cranberry juice, lemon juice, and Framboise, and stir to combine.

Divide the mixture between 2 containers (a measuring cup with a spout works great) and stir the condensed milk into 1/2 of the gelatin mixture. Keep the gelatin at room temperature as you build the layers.

Pour a thin layer of the clear cranberry gelatin over the top of the chilled cranberries in the mold, just to cover the cranberries and the bottom of the mold. Chill until completely firm, about 30 minutes. After it has chilled, gently pour 1/2 of the condensed milk gelatin mixture over the top and refrigerate until completely firm, about 30 minutes. 

At this point, if you’d like the finished mold to be more colorful you can add food coloring to the remaining batches of gelatin. I tinted the bottom layer of the pictured mold with a tiny bit of orange.

Pour a layer of the cranberry gelatin over the chilled condensed milk gelatin and refrigerate until firm. Finish with the last layer of condensed milk gelatin and chill until completely firm, 4 hours or overnight. If the remaining gelatin hardens in between these steps you can very gently warm it over low heat. Do not boil it or it will not set.

To unmold, dip the gelatin mold in warm water for about 10 seconds. Place a serving platter over the top and invert. The gelatin should gently fall onto the plate. If it doesn’t quickly dip it in warm water again. Slice and serve!

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie

I posted a photo of this sunshiney pumpkin pie a few days ago on Instagram and lots of you nice folks asked for the recipe, so here it is! Its the pumpkin pie recipe from my book a…

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I posted a photo of this sunshiney pumpkin pie a few days ago on Instagram and lots of you nice folks asked for the recipe, so here it is! Its the pumpkin pie recipe from my book and it includes a few of my very favorite things - maple syrup, creme fraiche, and roasted squash puree. You can definitely use canned pumpkin puree too, but roasted butternut squash is nice if you have it. The crust in this photo was a little experiment that I am working on, but I have linked to my favorite crust below. Feel free to use what you like if you have another one though. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Winter Luxury Pumpkin Pie

from Sweeter off the Vine

Makes one 9-inch pie

 A couple of years ago, after attending the Common Ground Fair in Maine, I fell in love with the winter luxury pumpkin. Winter luxuries are an heirloom variety of pumpkin prized for their caramel infused flavor and smooth texture. They are admittedly hard to find, even in NYC, but if you can locate one where you live I highly suggest picking it up. They are about the size of a sugar pumpkin and they have beautiful netting on their skin, almost like a cantaloupe. Winter luxuries (that name!) have thinner skins than most hard winter squash so they can’t be stored as long as other varieties, which is part of the reason they have fallen out of favor with farmers. Substitute roasted butternut squash or canned pumpkin purée if winter luxury pumpkins aren’t available where you live. If you are concerned about over filling the pie shell, bake any extra filling alongside the pie in buttered ramekins until it puffs slightly in the center.

1 disc of your favorite pie crust - This is mine  

 2 cups (450g) roasted butternut squash purée (canned pumpkin works too!)

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup (112g) crème fraîche

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 425ºF.

 To blind bake the crust:

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a roughly 12-inch circle about 1/8- inch thick. Place it into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate fold the edges under and crimp. Dock the crust with a fork. Chill the formed crust in the freezer for 15 minutes or until very firm. Line the chilled crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Slide the crust into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden and crisp. Carefully remove the parchment paper and weights then bake the crust for 10-15 more minutes or until light golden all over. If the crust puffs up at all while baking gently press it back into the pan with an offset spatula or fork. Let the crust cool slightly while you prepare the filling.

Turn the oven down to 350ºF. 

Whisk all of the filling ingredients together until well combined. Then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve for maximum smoothness.

 Put the baked pie shell on a baking sheet, then pour the filling mixture into the shell. Slide the pan into the oven and bake until the filling is slightly puffed and the center wiggles just slightly when you shake the pan, about 30 minutes. Cool the pie completely before serving with a dollop of whipped cream.