Friday, February 24, 2017

Blueberry Mousse Cake

Here is my family's favorite cake. This is step-by-step recipe to create this airy, delicious mousse cake. I'm sure your folks will love it too.

Blog's Category: Dessert, Holidays, My Staple Food



In - A - Nutshell

- Comparing to other cakes, this recipe won't take too long to make. Just a little bit of an effort, which absolutely worthy.
- It's a great dessert , that won't make you feel heavy.
- Great make-ahead cake as it will keep nicely in your fridge for a few days.
- Crunchy, thin bottom, flavorful and nutty, easy to make.
- Airy, tender mousse layer, not too sweet, with a prominent blueberry taste;
- Bright, sweet-&-sour, thin, fruity, gelatinous top layer
- Sugar coated blueberries scattered on top - nice, artsy touch for your cake.
- Get your ingredients from a freezer or fridge 30 minutes before you start.
- You cake make your crust up to a few days before and keep it in a paper (not in a fridge).

Blueberry Mousse Cake




For 10" cake:

Crust:
  • 4 graham crackers (long ones, about 2"x7"), Original, Chocolate or Honey, finely crushed in a processor, or other choice - pretzels, for example.
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds, coarsely ground in a processor 
  • 2/3 cup of melted butter (1 stick of butter)
  • 1/4 c sugar

Mousse:
  • 1 (8oz) container of whipped cream cheese
  • 3/4 of 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tub of store-bought whipped cream (Miracle Whip), half-thawed
  • 1/2 of 12-oz package of frozen blueberries, half-thawed (or fresh)
  • 1 c milk (whole or 2%)
  • whole 1 pack (with 4 small envelopes) of unflavored gelatin 

Top jello layer:
  • 1 pack of strawberry, raspberry or cherry flavored gelatin (Jell-O)
  • half of water needed from pack's direction

Decoration:
  • 1 cracker, crushed
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Equipment:
  • 10-11" spring cake form
  • parchment paper (or aluminum foil, sprayed with oil or buttered)

- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare spring form by placing parchment paper on a bottom of form. Additionally, I prefer to coat it with a melted butter. Mix crust ingredients well and pour the mix into the form, pressing it pretty tightly into a 1/3" crust.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool completely, leave crust in a form.

- When crust is completely cooled, remove it from a form, separate from a parchment paper and then return crust onto the parchment paper and back into a spring form, lock the form. All these will make it easier to transfer cake to a serving plate later on. 

- Start on making mousse just after your crust is ready and cooled completely: in a medium bowl, heat milk in a microwave until hot, for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in whole pack (4 envelops) of unflavored gelatin into hot milk and set aside, occasionally stirring to make sure gelatin dissolves completely. Meanwhile, using electric mixer, mix cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and sugar until light and fluffy, for about 1-2 minutes. In a processor, process blueberries briefly. Add whipped cream and blueberries to a cream cheese mix and turn mixer on for 2-3 minutes. From this moment act quickly (no worry, everyone can do this :)) - add milk with gelatin to mousse mixture and, using spatula, mix it in, quickly, but thoroughly. Immediately pour mousse into a form with a crust. Quickly spread mousse evenly, try to make surface as even as possible.

- Make jello layer, following instructions on a box of your Jell-o, only using half of all amount of water needed, our jello layer has to be more stiff than regular Jello-o dessert. Pour jello on a top of mousse. Cover with a flat plate or plastic wrap and place in a fridge for a few hours or overnight.

- Make sugared blueberries for garnishing by, first, shaking them with a several drops of lemon juice, just enough to make them wet. Then transfer them onto a shallow pan and sprinkle generous amount of  sugar on top. Shake to coat blueberries nicely into sugar and leave them for at least one hour for drying. 

- Plate a cake, first running thin knife all around, along the sides of a form. Unlock the form and, first, turning sides left-right to break it free, slide form sides up. To transfer cake on a serving plate, carefully slide cake with paper onto flat board and then transfer cake from a paper onto serving plate. Large flat cake knife-spatula can help, but I like to use my own hands for better control ;)

- Use your imagination to garnish cake with crushed crackers and sugared blueberries. Note that if you are going to cover cake with blueberries and then cover cake with a plastic wrap to pop in a fridge, sugar will eventually melt. So, if you want frosted, not shiny,  blueberries, garnish cake right before serving.

- Enjoy!


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In Pictures


First, prepare your spring form, inserting parchment paper on a bottom like this. Parchment paper should prevent from sticking dough to a paper, but just in case oil the bottom with a melted/soft butter or cooking spray. Leave edges sticking on a sides - later, it will make handling of your cake easier.







Mix crust ingredients before adding melted butter.




Use your palms to press mix into cake form. For me, spoon made good job too. If you noticed, I didn't place parchment paper on a bottom this time.. regretted this later :)



If your blueberries are completely frozen, mousse will be light in color with a whole berries throughout. If you are after purple-blue color for your mousse, make sure your blueberries are at least half-thawed.

this time I was making two cakes. Here are crust right from an oven. I wanted cool it down fast, so placed them outside. You can also make crust day before.

It's important to start making mousse when your crust is cooled completely and staying near ready to take a mousse onto itself :) On a picture, I'm adding gelatin powder to hot milk, then stirring it nicely with a whisk.


Cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.

Looking from underneath, I noticed gelatin specs on a bottom, in a milk, so it took me a couple of stirs and 30-sec microwave time to get it dissolved completely.

I forgot to add sugar to cream cheese, so was adding it while mixing.

Whipped cream, then blueberries go to a mixture. Well, it is your choice to use store-bought whipped cream or whip cream by yourself. I did both ways and frankly, didn't notice a difference.

Using fresh blueberries will give you couple extra minutes before your mousse will set, because cold frozen blueberries will do exactly the opposite :)


I've got light-purple color, as my blueberries were somewhat frozen...

Adding gelatin with milk (it's frothy) into mousse mix.

Act fast as mousse becomes firm very quickly from now on.

Mousse is in forms.


Making jello top. My instructions called for 1 cup of hot and then 1 cup of cold water, which means I needed to use half-cup of hot water to dissolve jello powder, stir until sugar dissolves completely, and then added half-cup of cold water.


I used strawberry jello. Bright red, very bright.

Leave it without disturbing on a counter for about 20-30 minutes until it firms. Then cover with something flat (I used plastic cutting board) and place in a fridge.

Next day. Use thin knife to slide it along the sides.


Crushing crackers for garnishing..






Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Easy Roasted Zucchini

That's right, you know that zucchini is good for you. Now you have no excuse they are hanging, still packed, in your fridge. Here is no-effort recipe for zucchini that can be done in your toaster-oven in 10 minutes.

Blog's Category: Effortless, Finger Food, Healthy, Holidays, Hors D'oeuvre, My Own Fast and Easy, Vegetarian


Intro

No, no, no. Nothing too hard for cooking today. You could eat those zucchini raw. Or may be couple extra moves and you have them as steaming, flavorful and juicy side for your yesterday's chicken leftovers. Try this shamefully easy recipe. Even my not-zucchini-guy son liked it a lot!


In a Nutshell

- Minimal prep work - just slice your zucchini in half
- A few, just right, toppings - salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and grated parmesan
- Quick roasting makes zucchini juicy, flavorful, but still crisp-tender
- As a finger food, use baby-zucchini or cut zucchini half across into bite-size pieces.


Taste Description

Take a bite - it's very juicy. but still slightly crisp. Parmesan crust gives an additional flavor and pleasant crunch. On a top of natural subtle sweetness of zucchini, along with tender kick of black pepper and herb aroma, it will create complex taste you will love.


Easy Roasted Zucchini



  • 3 zucchini sliced in half 
  • 3 tbs finely grated parmesan
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • dry oregano (or other dry or fresh herb of your choice)
  • extra virgin olive oil

- Preheat oven to 400F. Or use toaster-oven as me. In this case there is no need to preheat it.
- Place zucchini cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle some salt, black pepper and parmesan.

- If using regular oven, roast for about 10 minutes or until top is beige-golden.

- If using toaster-oven, pop zucchini in and turn heat on. Roast for about 10 minutes as well.

- Remove from an oven. Sprinkle with dry oregano (or other herb), rubbing it in between palms.

- Enjoy!


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In Pictures