Recovering chocoholics are advised to look away now...this post contains A LOT of chocolate, really really tasty chocolate.
A big thank you to Merna and Pierre from Homemade Fine Foods in Tempe who invited me (and a plus one) down to their factory in Tempe to participate in Merna's Master the Mousse class. I was a bit worried that my lack of cooking skills (especially in the dessert department) would reek havoc in the factory, but lucky for me the class isn't overly hands on -- we all get a chance to pitch in however and also to pick Merna and Pierre's brain on all things dessert...and dairy.
The class begins with a little something to drink (Moscata for the grown-ups and the kids are offered a flute of Country Valley Milk - priceless). The morning tea is a a great idea - lining our stomachs with something savoury before we pass through the doors into the factory proper and start gorging on chocolate. There is a HUGE pad of Pierre's salted Pepe Saya butter on hand, and I urge Niecy Poo to make the most of the opportunity to indulge to her hearts content (which we both do of course). The Small Cow Farm cheese is out of this world - well definitely be hunting this down at the local farmers market.
The sight of enormous bowls filled with chocolate buttons greets us when we enter the factory. It's too much for most of us to bare and a taste of each type of chocolate we'll be working with is handed out - a white chocolate, compound chocolate 17%, and a darker 70% couverture - too bitter for my immature tastes buds but the "grown ups" in the room loved it.
So let's get down to business some mousse people!
Step 1: Melt the chocolate over a water bath, drool at the delicious smell of aforementioned melting chocolate. Sneak a spool full of melted chocolate when Merna and Pierre aren't watching.
Step 2: crack open a pile of eggs (free range of course) separating the yolks from the whites. Look longingly back at bowl of melted chocolate.
Step 3: The egg yolks are added into the mix. The heat of the chocolate in effect pasteurizes the eggs making sure they are good to go and don't contain any nasties - very important when you're making food for commercial sale and consumption! Bat your eyelids at chocolate hoping for another taste.
Step 4: Egg whites go into a mixer bigger than my car and are whipped up into lush French Meringue!
Step 5: The meringue gets mixed in with the chocolate/egg mixture. Miss Piggy starts drooling again! Surely a taste test is coming up soon.
Step 6: Add in a pile of Country Valley cream - taste test of cream allowed!
Step 7: Mousse making is really tough business, we take some time out to try some of Merna's other creations. The Sticky Date Pudding is amazing, so rich and indulgent.
Step 8: Merna shows us how to decorate the inside of our take-home containers with some tempered chocolate. She makes it look really easy, but I (of course) make a total mess of it and end up with a blob of chocolate smeared up the size of my container.
Step 9: Fill your container to maximum capacity to take home and enjoy! I've frozen our white and compound chocolate mousse - we were told it lasts really well like this. You eat it frozen, a bit like a mousse ice-cream (and it's bloody good)!
Homemade Fine Foods and Pepe Saya are at Unit 4, 3 Wood Street, Tempe. Phone them on (02) 9519 2793.