cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Birthday Mousse à la Crème de Marrons

Coucou Kaitles, Joyeux Anniversaire
Do you have a baby sister? Not just a little sister, but one who for a while you but near acted as a second mother of? One who drives you nearly crazy but yet you want to do everything you can to help, protect, and make as happy as possible for some god-unknown reason? Well I do, and her name is Kaitles, and today is her 18th birthday, so, s'il vous plaît, I ask you my dear readers to wish alongside me a joyeux anniversaire to the baby blonde, my smart cookie and soon to be high school graduate on her way to her first year at the University of New England--bravo! Now have some birthday mousse.

Why mousse? I can hear her ask aloud as she reads this thinking "malerd is crazy." But why mousse indeed. Last year I made her a tiramisu trifle with a gluten free sponge, so this year I knew it had to be something quite different, and not a cake, for I was sure my mum had made a very premium 7-layer already. Something very Frenchie, she has always loved Frenchie (elle prends la langue française au lycée aussi, c'est vrai!) Donc écoutez moi: the day prior, as i filtered through the refrigerator looking for a snack for little Flo after school, I came across pudding cup style mousse à la crème de marrons. Huh, I muse as I swipe a little taste, not bad...I wonder if I can make this. The answer: why yes I can. What is more French than a mousse and a marron glacé? Exactly, and it is the perfect sophisticated taste for the birthday of a new adult. On y va.

Perhaps some of you are thinking crème de marrons, qu'est ce que c'est? And Nutella springs to the mind. Beeep. Wrong. Nutella is hazelnut, and while yes quite the coveted flavor to the French found in nearly every variety of sweets, crème de marrons is made from candied marrons glacés, or candied chestnuts. Chestnuts, what a fact. Not to be confused with the horse-chestnut (buck eye) that falls from the Paris skies like rain every Autumn, the chestnut is the one roasting on that open fire, or rather the one roasting on that grocery cart turned oven peddled around outside the Galeries Lafayette, or for that matter on the sidewalks of nearly every major western European city from the debut of autumn until the first days of spring. Call me a snob...but they always looked so dirty.

The marron glacé: besides a flavor of ice cream at Mora (where Kaitles, as well as I, no longer work) is a cooked chesnut in a syrupy sugar glaze which gives it a chewy gummy texture. The first chestnut--note you this--was first recorded in French gastronomique lore in 1690 in Lyon. The first production of the little sweety in a factory setting for purchasing was in 1882 at Clément Faugier, the same Clément Faugier that has remained on super market shelves to this very present day in time. The factory opened solely on the production of the candied chestnut, but after 3 years a crème made from the purée of the broken candied nuts, molassus, and vanilla was tested on the market as a culinary aide and spread.

The result: a new way to eat toast. Crème de Marrons de l'Ardèche "revolutionized" French breakfast and snack time, a sort of prehistoric grandfather to the Nutella. The crème remains available in the same large tin can with the same lable made famous in the 1920's. The dopey little mascot, "Marono" first appeared alongside the mark in 1938. Now aside from the garganctuan aluminum can, one can find the Crème de Marrons in small plastic bottles, squeeze tubes that look like oil paints, and even snack pouches for the after school sugar slurp. What can you do with crème de marrons? The possibilities are a few short of 50. Tarts, puddings, cakes, frostings, toast spread, fruit spread, sounds good on a waffle, and of course, mousse.

Mousse à la crème de Marrons
~~250g crème de marrons ~ 250g mascarpone cheese ~ 2 eggs ~ 1 packet vanilla sugar ~ 1/2 bar dark chocolate~
method: 1) In a bowl mix the egg yolks, mascarpone cheese, and vanilla sugar. 2) Whisk until creamy, then add the crème de marrons and whisk until smooth. 3) add half of the shaved chocolate and mix. 4) in another bowl beat the eggs whites until stiff, gently fold into cream mixter. 5) divide into mousse cups, ramekins, a bowl, whatever you will be serving it in and refrigerate for 3 hours. 6) before serving cover tops with the remaining shaved chocolate, and whatever else you feel will make a supreme garnish.

En Française pour mes amis:
~~ 250g crème de marrons ~ 250g fromage de mascarpone ~ 2 oeufs ~ 1 sachet sucre vanillinée ~ 1/2 bar chocolat noir râpé ~~
méthode: 1) Mélangez les jaunes, le mascarpone, et le sucre. 2) Fouettez jusqu'au crémeuse, et ajoutez le crème de marrons, fouettez bien. 3) ajoutez un demi du chocolat noir râpé, et mélangez. 4) Fouettez les blancs en neige, et ajoutez doucement dans le crème. 5) Diviser parmi les verres, et mettez dans le frigo pour 3 heures. 6) avant le présentation, garnez au dessus de chaque avec le reste de chocolat râpé.

And because I am a dork, in Portuguese:
~~ 250g crème de marrons ~ 250g queijo mascarpone ~ 2 ovos ~ 1 pacote de açùcar de baunilha ~ 1/2 barra de chocolate escuro ralado ~~

método: 1) combinar amarelo ovo, mascarpone, e de açùcar. 2) Bata até cremosa, e adicione de crème de marrons, bata bem. 3) adicione metade de um chocolate. 4) Bata as claras em neve e gentilmente acrescente o creme. 5) clivagem entre os pratos e colocar no frigorifico durante 3 horas. 6) dar o topo com o resto do chocolate.

leave my poor verbes alone! me try! I jest--but please do not hesitate to correct my mistakes, perhaps a letter learned poulet im speaking to you.

*recipe note: i am not sure if crème de marrons is available in the US, I have not looked. If it is not, tell me and i will bring back a can for you, for you MUST taste this. I'm not bringing back 30, but the first 3 requests win! *second note: to tante pufflette--tu m'as possé la question du sucre vanillinée, bah voila c'est ceci, les petits sachets, je vais acheter qqs pour toi.

Mousse for Kaitles, tu l'aimes? She is sweet, slightly sneaky, a little bitter, mysterious, and fluffy of course with a little raspberry on top. Voila, she is mousse à la crème de marrons. And the pink expensive chouette birthday spoon--bought just for you at my favorite spoon store. She may be in Seattle, and I in Paris, but she still gets a birthday treat. Who consumed it? Worry not they did not go to the dogs, but rather were taken as desert to dinner at Tartar and Maximes, toasted and savored in your honor. Happy birthday little Kaitles, 9 months sans parler, but know that you, and all of my sisters (oh yeah and the boy) are always tip top of the list at the Salty Cod, toujours dans mes pensées, as headaches and as sourirs. It's been a while, but I love you all the same; long-distance love is underrated. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! For you, many mousse are meese.

à bientôt


Moira said...

Dear Mallory,
Your portuguese is almost fine, we can understand all the recipe. Congratulations!
When you say:
4) Bata a neve branca (chicote ovos brancos?) e gentilmente acrescentar o creme.
You should say:
4) Bata as claras em neve e gentilmente acrescente o creme.
ovos brancos is claras de ovo
amarelo ovo is gema de ovo

Mallory Elise said...

muito obrigada Moira!

Anonymous said...

Too sweet! K loved your dedication. You gotta make this when you get home. Gem says, "I thought I was the baby sister"!


Moira said...

Dear Mallory, there is something I'd like you to see here:
It's my other blog and there is a note for you at the end.

Anonymous said...

Hi, we don't have packets of Vanilla Sugar in New Zealand, how many grams is a packet? How much chocolate do you use - a small bar/large bar?

Mallory Elise said...

holy cow old post!

hmmm 1 packet of vanilla sugar is 7.5 grams, but honestly---if you dont have vanilla sugar (i live in the states now and we dont have it either, so i make my own: sugar + vanilla beans + jar + a couple weeks = oh lala) you could just use some type of vanilla extract.

and half a bar of chocolate is ~ 3 oz...which doesnt help you, but trust me it doesnt really matter how much you use--the more you use, the more chocolatey. the less--less! hehe. so really its up to you.