Raspberry Mousse Pie

Raspberry Mousse Pie 27

This is another Martha Stewart recipe that I adapted to be gluten-free and made up for the second of our Mother’s Day celebrations (same day, different mom). This recipe is also great because it actually involves zero baking whatsoever, so if it’s hot where you are and you can’t handle the thought of turning on the oven – don’t worry about it.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 25

Start by lightly spraying a 9″ square metal baking dish with cooking spray. Or a 7″ x 10″ glass baking dish, which is what I did. Line it with parchment so that there’s some overhang, because you’re gonna need handles.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 6

Grab 7 or 8 graham crackers. These gluten-free ones are really tiny and kind of thick. We used the whole package. The original recipe involves laying them out in the pan whole but that always ends poorly for me so I plopped them in the food processor, together with about 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut and about 3 tablespoons butter and gave them a good whaz. Then I took that clumpy mixture and pressed it hard into the bottom of the pan. That way I could cut the pieces anyway I wanted without worrying about the shape of my graham crackers.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 2

Raspberry Mousse Pie 5

Raspberry Mousse Pie 6

Tip 3 tablespoons lemon juice into a wee bowl and sprinkle 1 envelope powdered gelatin (∼ 2 1/4 teaspoons) over top. Leave that for 5 minutes. Wash and drain about 2 cups fresh raspberries and plop them in your food processor. Purée the crap out of them.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 7

Pour the raspberry goo into a measuring cup via a fine mesh sieve. Scrape and scrape and shove the goo around until all the juice is through and what you have left is just seeds. Compost the seeds – you should have about 1 cup of raspberry juicy stuff.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 10

In a small saucepan, combine the raspberry stuff with 1/2 cup sugar and stir over medium until bubbles start to form at the edges.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 11

Tip in the gelatin mixture and stir constantly until the stuff is completely dissolved, about 1 minute.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 12

Raspberry Mousse Pie 13

Pour that into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 14

While you’re waiting, whip up 2 cups heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff and lovely.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 15

Fold your cooled raspberry goo gently into the cream and keep folding until the colour is uniform and it looks amazeballs.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 16

Raspberry Mousse Pie 18

Pour the mousse goo over the graham crumbs and smooth if necessary with an offset spatula.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 19

Wash and drain another 2 cups fresh raspberries and use them to decorate the top.

Raspberry Mousse Pie 20

Raspberry Mousse Pie 22

Refrigerate the mousse pie for about 2 hours or up to overnight. When you’re ready to serve, use the parchment handles to gently remove it from the pan before cutting it into squares. Enjoy!

Raspberry Mousse Pie 28

Raspberry Red Grapefruit Lip Balm

Raspberry Lip Balm 2

I found this tutorial for making lip balm with freeze-dried raspberries from Hello Natural and thought I’d give it a shot, with a few Ali Does It modifications, of course. I love making home-made lip balm. I find it feels much better and more luxurious on my face than the commercial brands, and I love experimenting with different oils to various effects. As long as you keep a general ratio of 3:1 oils:wax, you’re pretty much golden. The measurements I use below resulted in over 2 cups lip balm, so if you use the same ones, make sure you have plenty of containers to put your balm into.

Raspberry Lip Balm 12

As for the raspberries, well, those are optional, and I think next time I’d leave them out. They settled mostly to the bottom (though that looks pretty, too), and when I mixed them up in some pots they felt grainy against the skin. They taste great, though, and you can easily and quickly lick the grains of raspberry away, but I think if I’m aiming for a tinted lip balm next time I’ll start by staining the oils I’m using rather than adding any other solids and liquids to the mix. Or I’ll try this version, with Crayons. Or maybe not. Anyway, if you’re going to use raspberries, find some freeze-dried ones. Krystopf and Atlas popped down to NYC to visit Ando and Teedz so I asked them to stop into Trader Joe’s to grab a bag or two.

Raspberry Lip Balm 1

I shoved as many raspberries as I could into my spice grinder (it’s a coffee grinder dedicated to all things not coffee) and whazzed them up until they formed a fine powder.

Raspberry Lip Balm 4

Be careful not to breathe that in! One 34g bag of raspberries produced for me about 1/4 cup raspberry powder.

Raspberry Lip Balm 5

But look! Those seeds are no good!

Raspberry Lip Balm 6

So I actually sifted the powder, a wee bit at a time, through a tea strainer to get out the seeds. I think it was worth it.

Raspberry Lip Balm 7

Now that you’ve finished with that nonsense, get your melty bits ready. In the bowl of a double boiler, dump in 1 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup sweet almond oil, and 1/2 cup beeswax. I also had about 1/2 tablespoon shea butter in the bottom of a jar that was asking to be used so I added that in as well.

Raspberry Lip Balm 3

Once it’s all melted, tip in your raspberry powder as well as about 20 drops essential oils. I used grapefruit. I love pink grapefruit.

Raspberry Lip Balm 8

Then you start pouring. I ended up filling like 27 little pots of varying size.

Raspberry Lip Balm 9

As well as half a small canning jar. I later decanted this into three wee plastic pots and kept it for my own use. I like the balm: raspberries aside, it’s nice and smooth on the lips without being goopy and provides a decent shine for a decent amount of time.

Raspberry Lip Balm 10

As it sets, the raspberries will settle to the bottom. You can stir them up with a toothpick if you like.

Raspberry Lip Balm 11

But I kind of like the ombre effect. Makes a great stocking stuffer/gift!

Raspberry Lip Balm 14

Staying Hydrated in Style

I wasn’t going to post about this, because I do it so often and it’s so simple that I never even think about it.  But the Pie suggested it might be a good idea to let you in on the deal.

Summer Drinks 3
Gren also gets hot in the summer.

I get dehydrated really easily in hot weather and summer in Ottawa is very, very HOT.  Hot and long, temperatures often going up as high as 50°C (122°F) on humid days.  And when I get dehydrated I tend to faint and that is super embarrassing.  Therefore, I drink a TON of water.  But water gets so boring after a while, so I dress it up a little and then I can pretend I’m at some fancy spa.

Summer Drinks 10
We have to keep the curtains shut to keep out the afternoon sun. It makes the shadows very interesting.

I have a pretty glass bottle that I keep in the fridge full of water, and it’s a simple thing to just add a bit of natural flavouring to it.  My go-to refresher is lemon water.  I just cut the ends off a lemon, and slice the rest of it small enough to fit in the mouth of the bottle.  Then you just leave it for a few hours and BOOM.  FLAVOURED WATER.

Summer Drinks 1

Another good refreshing option is adding a sprig or two of fresh mint from my mini garden to a handful of fresh raspberries.

Summer Drinks 6

For something more subtle, try cutting up half a cucumber and sliding that into the water.

Summer Drinks 14

And the extra fancy option is a few sliced strawberries and some fresh basil leaves.  I think this one is actually my favourite now.

Summer Drinks 8

I find that I can keep topping up the bottle for a couple of days before the vegetable matter in it starts to get squishy and needs to be composted, and the water starts to lose the flavour.

What’s your favourite combination?

 

Plain ol’ Porridge

Porridge 9

When we were growing up, porridge was a warm breakfast treat in the mornings that my mother could whip up in no time at all.  We weren’t limited in the amount of raisins we could apply to the steaming cereal.  It was heaven.  When I met the Pie I learned that HE had been allowed to put brown sugar on his porridge in addition to raisins, and this level of indulgence is my favourite to this day.

Some people don’t like porridge (or oatmeal, as you Americans seem to call it), and that’s fine.  I remember reading somewhere that Scots can take anything horrible and turn it into a practical virtue, and eating porridge was one of those things.

Porridge 7

Because porridge is so easy to make, though, it always kind of blew my mind to see the varieties of “instant” breakfast oatmeals available at the grocery store.  When I tried them, they always tasted gluey and artificial.  And really, two minutes in the microwave is not that much faster than five minutes on the stove.  Granted, you have to remember to soak your pot afterwards, but that’s not really a big deal.

Porridge 6

Let’s get to it, shall we, so I can show you how easy it is?  I tend to add all sorts of other grains to my oats to jazz them up, but today (and because we just moved and I haven’t restocked my pantry yet), I’m just doing regular plain porridge.  For this, you will need rolled oats (I’m using quick oats here but I don’t find them much faster-cooking than regular ones), water, and a pot.

Porridge 1

Oh, and a spurtle.  If you don’t have a spurtle (basically a glorified stick), you can use a spoon for stirring but you will find it less satisfying.

Porridge 4

The magic ratio for porridge is the same as it is for making basic rice: two parts water to one part grain.  The magic serving size for the Pie and myself is about 1/3 cup each uncooked.  Once cooked of course the oats expand considerably.  So for a serving for two, start with about 2/3 cup rolled oats.

Porridge 2

Plop those in a pot and then pour over that 1 1/3 cups water.

Porridge 3

Heat on medium, stirring frequently, until the porridge begins to thicken and bubble (this can take between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on what kind of oats you have and how many you are making — for quick oats it’s about 5 minutes).  Make sure to keep stirring or the whole mess will stick horribly to the bottom of the pot.

Porridge 5

Serve in bowls, garnished with a bit of milk or cream, and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  We topped ours with fresh raspberries because we don’t yet have any raisins.  Some people like their porridge buttered and salty, but I prefer mine sweet.  I also like to toss dried coconut and fruit into the pot when I’m cooking the oats (just add a little extra water), together with some ground flax and cinnamon.  Yum!

Porridge 8

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies

 

Sorry for the late post, folks! I made a typo in the schedule before I left for Toronto and set this to air on Tuesday instead of Monday.  My bad!Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 11

My first bake in the new house!  It’s still chaos, but we keep working and having evening engagements, and then we spent our first weekend of true occupancy in the house going to Toronto, so it’s a slow process.  Next weekend the Pie is back in Toronto and I’m helping the lovely Cait with her move, so who knows when we’ll have everything sorted?

But in preparation for Toronto, I wanted to clear the fridge of some lovely raspberries before they went bad.  I also hauled a package of white chocolate chips out of a box, so the idea was born.  I figured they’d make a handy host gift for my great-uncle in the Big Smoke, with whom we were staying.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 1

Preheat your oven to 325°F (I know, it’s a low temperature, but you don’t want the raspberries to burn) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Start with 1/2 cup room temperature butter, and cream that together with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar until all pale and fluffy.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 2

Go ahead and crack in 2 large eggs, one at a time, and beat until they’re fully combined.  Add in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract while you’re at it as well.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 3

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour (I used a mixture of 1 1/2 cups cake flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour  because I wanted to use up what I had and I figured the cake flour would make a puffier cookie) with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 4

Slowly add the flour to the butter and eggs and mix until smooth and fully combined.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 5

Gently stir in about 1 cup white chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (I say “about” because I totally didn’t measure this part).  The raspberries will smush up but you want to be careful that they don’t get totally annihilated.  This might be an easier job with frozen raspberries, but this is what I got so this is what I’m usin’.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 6

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 7

Scoop up heaping tablespoonsful of the dough and plop it onto your prepared baking sheets.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 8

Bake for 10-15 minutes (this depends on your oven, the size of your cookie, fresh/frozen/dried raspberries, or even if you’ve had that second cup of coffee this morning), rotating halfway through for even baking.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 9

Haul the cookies out when they are just set in the centre and leave them on the sheets for another 3-5 minutes, to let them cook completely.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 10

When they’ve calmed down a bit you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can eat them all in their cakey, gooey, fruity goodness!

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies 14

Tofu Feature Month: Dark Chocolate Mousse

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

Who says that tofu only belongs on the savoury side of life?

This chocolate dessert is quick and easier than doing it the hard way.

The original recipe I had called for carob powder, but I didn’t have any, so I chopped up dark chocolate and melted it instead.  I figured it would make a smoother treat that way.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

In a blender, combine 1 package soft silken tofu, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 melted dark chocolate, and 1/2 cup soy milk.  Add between 2 and 6 tablespoons of sugar (I did 2, the recipe I had called for 6, and that seemed like a lot).  Blend that until it’s smooth.  It might take some stirring to dislodge pockets of cocoa powder.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

Pour into parfait cups or layer in a tall glass.  I tried to layer with marshmallows, but of course they floated when I tried to pour more chocolate on top. Yes, I am an idiot.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

And the fresh raspberries I put on top sank.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

Chill until firm(er) and serve.

To be honest, I was not a fan of this dessert.  Firstly, it was most decidedly not a mousse — that frothy, floating concoction that I know and love.  This was more like a heavy pudding.  And the smoothness of the tofu did nothing to hide the chalky feeling of undissolved cocoa powder sliding down my gullet.  It tasted fine, but the texture was all wrong.  In this case, I would stick with real dairy and straight chocolate.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

Raspberry Orange Crumble – In the Woods

What do you do for a potluck when you’re in the middle of Gros Morne National Park?  You make a raspberry crumble, of course!

Will.i.am and Caramía gave the Pie and me a Backpacker’s Pantry Outback Oven (available as well from M.E.C.) as a wedding present, and we’d had no opportunity to use it in the two years since.  When we found out we were going camping in Gros Morne over Canada Day weekend we figured that there was no time like the present.

The day of the potluck dawned and we considered our options.  Miss Awesome and Ranger P (formerly P-with-an-E) had come pre-prepared with felafel and crackers and cheese, but we felt we should contribute something of our own as well.  We had flour, oats (from instant oatmeal), brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter on hand — why not create a crumble?

The problem was the fruit for the middle.  It turns out that fruit is nearly impossible to come by in any of the communities within Gros Morne, and we didn’t have the time or the resources to stretch our search farther afield.  Fortunately, the fates shone on us that day (as did the sun).  Miss Awesome’s Auntie, whom we visited while in the park, happened to have a frozen bag of raspberries on hand, which she graciously gave to us and thus saved the day.

So now to the crumble. Of course, in the thick of things, I measured nothing, so I’m just going to guess here.

Because the berries were still frozen, I set them to thaw in a pot on the fire.  I thought about adding a bit of sugar to the raspberries but changed my mind.  There was enough sugar in the crumble mixture, in any case.  I think I had about 2-3 cups frozen raspberries in this.

We had a random orange floating around, so I grated the peel from that and chopped up the fruit into small pieces and chucked that in with the raspberries.

Miss Awesome persuaded me to add a few drops of Cointreau to the mix.  That’s her foot there.

In a bowl, I mixed up the dry instant oatmeal (about 1 cup instant oatmeal) with about 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup butter.  Add in 1/2 cup brown sugar and a liberal sprinkling of ground cinnamon and mix with your fingers until it’s all nice and crumbly.

Spread half the crumb mixture in the bottom of your outback oven.

Pour the raspberries (now thawed, but not stewed) on top and spread it evenly.

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top.

Seal up the oven, placing the lid securely on the pan and the little tent-thing on top of that and bake for a while.  This of course depends on the strength of your camp stoveOurs only really has one setting — hot — so we had to keep turning off the flame and letting the thing cool down before starting it again in order to prevent burning.  Here Miss Awesome checks on her couscous while the crumble bakes.And the Pie relights the burner for the umpteenth time.  I can’t be trusted near fire.Keep checking that little dial!

After a while, when the raspberries were bubbling through the crumb top, I took the lid off and let the tent-thing help me crisp up the surface of the crumble a bit.  I think that had I used less gooey fruit and real oats instead of instant oatmeal it would have been a crisper thing, but it was sure tasty.

A Trifle Too Much

When I made Chel and Invis’ ivy vanilla wedding cake, I ended up with a lot of leftover ingredients.

For one thing, I had an enormous amount of actual cake itself, left from when I cut the rounded tops off the tiers.  I had enough to create a whole other cake if I so desired.  I had 12 egg yolks left from separating the whites.  And I bought wayyy too much whipping cream.

I don’t know about you, but that screams TRIFLE to me.  A LOT of trifle.  So I sent out an email to ten of my nearest and dearest:

You guys busy Sunday night?

I have leftover bits from the wedding cake and too much whipping cream and a bunch of yolks waiting to be made into custard, so I was thinking I’d make a trifle. 

HOWEVER,

I can’t make said trifle unless I have plenty of people to eat it, because it’s going to be huge.  Spouses and significant others are welcome.

Bell central, 8PMish, SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY?

a

Stef wrote back not five minutes later:

TRIFLE I LOVE TRIFLE. You absolutely will not need to worry about the number of attendees required for consumption. I think I have a special funnel/hose device specifically designed for consuming trifle. When I was a child, Dad would park outside events at the church and we’d decide to go in based on how many different trifles I could smell. I can tell you exactly how tipsy a tipsy trifle is from 40 yards (+/- 10 proof). I suspect trifle is responsible for any love of jesus I may have; during my churchgoing days as much of 17% of my body weight was derived from eating trifles on feast days, high holies, birthdays, vestry meetings, and Sundays.

After that, it was easy to get a “yes” from every invitee, even if some of them didn’t know what trifle was.  Kristopf and his lady friend even said they would show up “a trifle early.”  Ha.

If you don’t know what trifle is, just click the Wikipedia hyperlink above where I talk about screaming trifle.  Because it’s a British invention, I figured I should go to the BBC website for a real proper custard recipe.  I modified it, of course.

So I have my 12 egg yolks.  The recipe calls for 8 but this makes it extra custard-y.  Add to that 2oz granulated sugar and 4 teaspoons corn starch.Whisk that silly.  Leave it to come to room temperature.In a large saucepan, bring a large amount of dairy product (1250mL) to a simmer on low heat.  I used half whipping cream and half milk.Pour that hot milk into your yolks, a little at a time, whisking all the while.  You don’t want the yolks to curdle or cook, so this is why it’s crucial that they are warmed up gradually.Pour that back into the pot and bring to a simmer again, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thickened.  Then you can remove that from the heat and allow it to cool completely.While that’s cooling, you can prepare your other ingredients.  Here I washed and sliced 2 pints each fresh raspberries and strawberries.I also had to improvise a trifle bowl, because my mother doesn’t own one either.  These jars, however, will do.  They used to hold battery acid.  Now they house random collections of sea-related items.  Don’t worry, I washed the jar first.When your custard is cool, get everything else you need handy.  I whipped up 500mL whipping cream, adding a bit of sugar and some maple extract.  I pulled down the brandy from the liquor cabinet.  Trifle is traditionally made with sweet sherry but we were out.  I also heated up a 750mL jar of raspberry jam in the microwave until it was nice and runny.

Now we begin.

Start by crumbling a layer of your cake in the bottom of your bowl (or jar).  Traditional trifle uses sponge cake, but slightly stale wedding cake tops work just peachy.

Drizzle about an ounce of brandy over that.  You can use juice or soda instead of booze, but you need liquid to make the cake mushy.  Mushy is key.

Then some jam.

Then custard, whipped cream, and fruit.

Repeat that again.

And again.  Make sure to use all your ingredients.  No need to measure.  Top with extra fruit.

Look at those lovely layers.

Chill that in the refrigerator for a few hours until your trifle party arrives.

Shall we trifle?  As you can see, Stef was first at the jar.  And last.

Let’s trifle with some trifle.

And there was absolutely NONE left when we were done.

 

 

 

Delicious Disaster

Well.

I should know by now that experimenting with recipes before a dinner party is not a good idea.  But who else can I experiment on but my hapless dinner guests?

My goal was a dense, gooey, flourless chocolate cake, maybe with a glossy dark chocolate ganache poured over top.  I thought I had found the ideal recipe here.  It had four simple ingredients and no-nonsense instructions.  It even gave me the opportunity to use my kitchen scale, which had long sat unused.  Working in metric is such fun.

I’ll give you the recipe here, and then you can see for yourself how things went horribly wrong.

Preheat your oven to 180°C (that’s about 350°F for those of you who don’t have both measures on your ovens).  Grease (with lots and lots of butter) a 22cm/9″ cake pan and set that aside.

Measure yourself out 250g dark chocolate and chop that sucker into pieces.

Melt that in a double boiler with 100g butter until smooth.  Remove from the heat.

Separate 4 large eggs.  Sift 175g icing sugar into a bowl, add the 4 yolks, and whisk until pale and creamy.

Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.

In yet another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until soft peaks form.

Using a metal spoon, gradually fold the whites into the chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan.  Mine nearly filled it, so I put a pizza pan underneath to catch any spills.  I needn’t have worried, it turns out.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the surface begins to crack but the centre is still gooey.

Alas, though the cake baked up perfectly and smelled divine, it wouldn’t come out of the pan, no sir.  Not at all.  I don’t even think lining the pan with parchment paper would have helped.

This is it after it cooled.

I ended up with warm, gooey, dense chocolate cake bits in a pile on a plate.

With three hours until the dinner guests arrived, the Pie said, “Well, you have time to make another cake.”

I gave him a dark look.

“Or,” he says, backtracking, “you could make a trifle?”

Huzzah!  Dessert is saved!  Another floor pizza crisis averted.

Of course, having never made trifle in my life (I save that duty for my mother-in-law, because Mrs. Nice does it so well), I do not own a trifle bowl.  Not to worry, I will improvise.  Though I wouldn’t mind getting a trifle bowl someday, hint, hint …

Trifle is all about the layers.  The traditional version is a sponge cake, usually soaked with some form of alcohol, like brandy or sherry, topped with fruit, custard, and whipping cream in alternating layers.  In a straight-sided container like a trifle bowl you can see all the layers and the effect is quite pretty.

This being a chocolate cake, I thought the custard would be inappropriate.  If I had more time, I would have made chocolate pudding as a substitute for the custard, but I didn’t have the time needed for the pudding to set.  Instead, I opted for a strawberry fruit sauce with drizzled melted chocolate between the layers of whipped cream, and topped with fresh raspberries.  I drizzled a wee bit of Grand Marnier over the cake and let that sink in.

When I made the fruit sauce I added a little bit of corn starch just so it would thicken, and then I made sure to let it cool.

I added butter to the melted chocolate so that when it cooled it wouldn’t be as hard as it was originally.

I also added a wee bit of cream of tartar to my whipped cream so that it would hold its shape better while chilling in the refrigerator.

Then I did my layering …

Gooey cake.  Drizzled chocolate.  Strawberry goodness.  Whipped cream.  Repeat.

Drop a handful or two of fresh raspberries on top and drizzle the remaining chocolate all over and we’re set.

The layering doesn’t look as pretty from the side but we have to sacrifice aesthetics sometimes.  Chill that sucker for a couple hours then feed it to your unsuspecting dinner guests with a sob story about your failed dessert.

Freezing Berries

Here’s a quick tip for you.

When freezing berries whole, lay your berries out in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and freeze them that way before sealing them in a plastic bag.  Then they won’t stick together and will actually defrost in better condition than they would had you just chucked them straight in the freezer bag.  Tada!