The very first "fancy" dessert that I ever made was a three layer chocolate mousse cake, the recipe for which I got, ironically, from a King Arthur Flour Cookbook. I say ironic because the original recipe didn't have any flour in it, strange coming from a company that distributes flour. The bottom was a dark chocolate flourless cake, the middle layer a milk chocolate mousse, and the top was a white chocolate-raspberry mousse. It is one of the few recipes I have made several times because it has always pleased the crowd.
I was all set to make and fill my Biscuit Joconde but had no idea what sort of design I was going to attempt to implement. After a lot of consideration I went with random squiggles, which didn't quite turn out as clearly as I had hoped, but since I didn't end up with a burnt or cracking mess I figured for a first attempt it went well. Continuing on, I assembled my milk chocolate mousse and poured it into the pan with the jaconde molded around the edge. Uh oh! My estimates were way off since the mousse only came to about a third of the way up the side. I was going to need to come up with another layer.
After some searching through various saved recipes I decided on adapting one for a caramel mousse. Throughout the entire process it was this step that gave me the most trouble. I needed to make a caramel sauce from scratch since I wasn't about to to go out in our very strange lightning blizzard and that was the trouble. I have attempted caramel once before and while it was edible, it was grainy and a bit bitter/burnt and unfortunately the first batch I made for the mousse came out the same way. I was not going to ruin a beautiful dessert by using the subpar caramel I had just produced, so I did some quick research and decided to try again.
One of the suggestions for keeping the caramel from burning was to submerge the bottom of the pan into cold water to stop the cooking process. This sounded plausible and so I did so only to be quite dismayed when my beautiful caramelized sugar seized in the bottom of the pan and turned into rock hard candy. Not knowing how else to remove the sugary mass from the bottom of my pan, I decided to try and melt it off over a low heat. Eventually, the mess began to melt back into beautiful caramel and although it was a time consuming process I was able to use it for the middle layer, a delicious caramel mousse.
It wasn't until after I made the caramel mousse that it occurred to me that the caramel mousse and the white chocolate mousse were going to have a similar flavor profile. Proceeding on with the white chocolate mousse would probably have been fine, but I decided to alter it and turn it into white chocolate-mocha. Judging from the bits I tasted that were leftover in the bowl, I believe it was an excellent decision.
(see that clump? that is the caramel mess starting to melt again)
The mousse is currently setting in my fridge. There are as of yet no interior pictures since we will be eating it this weekend as we celebrate two family birthdays. I still wanted to post today since it is reveal day, and since I already had so much to blabber about I will save the interior pictures to post with the recipe later this weekend or early next week. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and must thank Astheroshe for introducing a new dessert presentation to me. Be sure to visit some of the other incredible desserts that other Daring Bakers have produced this month. If you wish to try the recipe for the Joconde, you will find the one we used here on the Daring Kitchen website.