We recently spent the weekend with friends at the Vaal. Such a tranquil spot and almost immediately after arriving one starts to feel relaxed (maybe it’s the sunset cruise with obligatory drink in hand). I was tasked with dessert (something transportable, easy to assemble, chocolate of course). I came across this chocolate mousse cake with figs – easy to adapt to gluten-free and looks rather impressive at the same time. I took the recipe from For the Love of Baking by Sarah Dall. Enter the gluten-free chocolate mousse cake. Apologies for the quick photo taken below.
- 50 grams crushed hazelnuts
- 200 grams dark chocolate digestive biscuits
- 45 ml butter
- 15 ml golden syrup
- 4 jumbo eggs
- 275 grams dark chocolate
- 75 ml cream
- 40 grams castor sugar
Lightly grease and line the base of a 25cm spring form cake pan.
Toast the crushed hazelnuts in a frying pan over medium heat, turning the nuts frequently and being careful not to burn them.
Crush the biscuits in a food processor. Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan over a low heat, then stir in the biscuits and nuts. Press the biscuit mixture over the base of the cake pan and refrigerate until needed.
Separate the eggs. Melt the chocolate and cream together in a glass bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir briefly to combine, and leave to cool slightly. Mix in the egg yolks.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until thick, then add the sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Using a metal spoon, fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Spoon this on top of the biscuit base and refrigerate overnight.
Decorate the cake with fresh figs (in season) and serve with whipped cream.
This dessert is rich and decadent and is not for the faint hearted. I am generally pretty hardcore when it comes to desserts, but even I thought wow could I eat another slice of this right now (yes ok maybe I would have!). But it is good, and a fellow uber chocolate lover made sure that there was nothing left which always makes me think job well done.
A few shots from the Vaal
And how beautiful it looks in Summer
There was a post on Facebook recently regarding scientist Hoon Sunwoo who has researched a supplement for coeliac disease, which could be a gluten-free magic pill . This supplement “sticks to the problematic components of gluten that stir inappropriate reactions in the guts of coeliacs thus reducing the damage that would normally ensure”. The pill would be taken 5 minutes before eating. This is not to be viewed as a treatment or cure for coeliac disease but rather to just make life a little easier sometimes. Next is an efficiency trial so if this actually works it would be available in a few years (overseas I hasten to add). Read the full article here.
But this has really caused me some food for thought. If I could take this pill and eat a meal of my choice what would it be? I have (more when I was younger I admit) tried a nibble here and there of most things. But there is so much that I have never tasted – I have never tried a bagel or churros (churros always looks good being dipped into chocolate sauce), a prego roll, a profiterole, a deep fried something something, baguette, pasta… the list goes on.
I have narrowed it down to two options:
1. To really experience what it tastes like to eat bread, and with that I find myself at a grilled cheese sandwich. A recent post on Eat Out about “The Grilled Cheese Club” (a service in Cape Town that delivers grilled cheese sandwiches) made me realise that I would have to go to Bacon on Bree (a Baconporium, say no more) and order “The Harvey Specter” (ciabatta, bacon, brie, tomato and pesto). This sandwich indeed sounds worthy. Check out the menu here . Alternatively I have often sat at brunch with my bacon and eggs and stared rather longingly at my friends’ Croque Monsieur. Originating in France, this is a toasted cheese and ham sandwich originally topped with béchamel and traditionally made with Gruyere cheese. This sounds as good as it looks. And yes I could try and make my own versions of these, but the point is I want real bread and I want to be able to sit down, order and have someone else make it for me.
2. Pasta. I think pasta is a wonderful invention, and I can buy gluten-free pasta and cook it at home with a sauce I have made, but it’s not quite the same thing as having fresh pasta in an authentic Italian restaurant. And to do this I will need to fly to Italy and have a little Pesto Alla Genovese. The pesto world championships are held in Genoa and this dish originates there, so I will begin in this port city in Northern Italy, and then make my way to Rome for some Fettucine Alfredo and Spaghetti Alla Carbonara.
So if this ever became a reality, I think ultimately budget would dictate which option will triumph!