May 14, 2011

Brithdays and best friends!

I’m sorry I have been irregular over the past few weeks guys. For the few “loyal” readers I have, my apologies…for the rest, you better start making reading my blog a habit from now! Today is one of my best friend’s haaaapy birthday!

Aditi and I have been friends for almost a decade now and she is genuinely one of those people I count on, no matter what the issue or the occasion. While we mostly bond on most things nonsensical (“OMG, her dress was so tacky,” “Did you know the new Mysore Sandal Soap cost Rs 630?”) and the few things sensible, we mostly bond hugely on our common love for all things wine and dine.

That being said, you look at her and you won’t know how someone so diminutive and petite can pack in as much food as she does. Her love for chocolate is, like Barney Stinson says “L-E-G-E-N-D-A-R-Y,” so much so that she will lock herself up in a room and devour a 1 kg chocolate pie all by herself! Yes, I know I almost gagged too! But inspite and despite her unhealthy, almost weird behaviour (;)) she is and will continue to be by 4.00 am friend…someone I adore beyond belief!

So, in honour of her birthday and since I gave her, her precious birthday gift in advance, I have decided to make her something chocolate this weekend. Here is what I have in mind:

For the Tart Dough
·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1/2 cup powdered sugar
·         9 Tablespoons (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1 large egg

For the White Chocolate Mousse
·         6 ounces good quality white chocolate chips
·         1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
·         3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
·         1 Tablespoon water
·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla
·         2 extra large egg whites
·         1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
·         1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
·         1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
·         16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced lengthwise

For the Tart Dough: In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt.  Pulse until combined.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour.   Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has started to clump.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the surface.  Using the plastic wrap and the back of your hands, gently press the dough into a disk.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375º F.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  If refrigerated overnight, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Fit the dough into the edge of the pan.  Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Place the tart onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.   

Line the tart pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Place on a rack to cool completely. 

For the White Chocolate Mousse: Combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup whipping cream in a large heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth.  Remove the bowl and allow the mixture to cool until lukewarm, about 15 minutes.  In small bowl, combine the gelatin and water.  Allow the mixture to bloom for 5 minutes.  Place the gelatin mixture in the microwave and cook until melted, about 5 seconds.  In a large bowl, beat the remaining cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Add the gelatin mixture and beat until combined.  Using clean dry beaters or a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.  Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.  Transfer the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the top with a offset spatula.  Chill overnight.

In a small saucepan, combine the jam and lemon juice over medium heat; stirring until the jam melts.  Remove from the heat.  Arrange the sliced strawberries in concentric circles on top of the set mousse.  Gently brush the berries with the melted jam mixture.  Serve immediately or chill the tart for up to 2 hours.  Enjoy!

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