Home Cooked

Home Cooked: Chocolate-Baileys jelly dessert

A while back I went through a mini phase with jellies- from trying to turn everything into a jelly, as well as searching for the best jelling agent from geltain, agar and carrageehan. It eventually led me to this baileys chocolate dessert. I’ve never really enjoyed the texture of agar, gelatin has a much more melt in your mouth mouthfeel, but what intrigued me about agar was that it has a fairly high melting point (85C~), this led me to thinking that I could serve a warm, set jelly. but with a liquid center. As I was toying with the idea in my head, I was watching a video of Heston making a molten chocolate cake, in the video, he uses a block of set ganache in the middle of his cake to ensure a perfectly melted center, immediately the idea to use a chocolate ganache wrapped by a Baileys jelly started to form in my head.

I actually found trouble in an area where I least expected- I had trouble trying to get baileys jelly to set. After two failed attempts, I managed to succeed with a 2 parts milk to 1 part Baileys ratio. The milk is first heated over a pan and agar powder is whisked in, once the powder has dispersed(the mixture should start turning viscous at this point), baileys is immediately whisked in and poured into cold muffin mould that has been sitting in the freezer, only fill a small layer at the bottom of the mould, depending on the size of your cut ganache blocks. Put the muffin moulds in the freezer to set, then drop in a block of cold chocolate ganache and cover with more of the Baileys agar mixture(you may need to keep this on a stove to ensure that it stays liquid, do not boil). Its important to note that when you drop in the ganache, the top of the jelly layer shouldn’t be completely set, otherwise you will get two separated layers of jelly like in my photo, blasting it with a torch to melt the top portion helps with this.

Molten Chocolate lava Baileys Jelly, served with chocolate soil

Pros: It worked. You cut into it, the molten chocolate oozed out, exactly like a lava cake. The jelly had a strong hit of baileys, strong enough that you could taste the alcoholic fumes. Of course, the baileys and the chocolate worked well together.

Cons: I still hate the texture of agar agar. What could be worse? Warm agar agar. Apparently the only thing that made agar agar palatable for me was its coldness, the combination of warm jelly and alcohol was not a good one, I was struggling to finish the dessert.

Thoughts: Im glad I managed to figure out a way to make this, the idea had been stuck in my head for some time, but it simply didn’t taste good enough to warrant more experimenting, this is one dish I’d happily bury for now.

Home Cooked

Home Cooked: Bacon and Chocolate Popcorn

Theres not much more to say about Chocolate and bacon that hasn’t already been said about chocolate and bacon. Two of the most delicious foods that seem to somehow make most, if not all things better; and there is not reason why they shouldn’t go together either. I constantly get weird ideas like these and I’m all too happy to be my own guinea pig, although to be fair, this was actually one of the more edible ideas.

Prep

Render bacon fat, reserve crispy bacon, and chop till fine

– Heat a layer of bacon fat in a skillet with 2-3 popcorn kernels on medium-high heat, when the kernels pop, remove from heat, throw in a handful of kernels, then cover. Leave for 20-30 seconds

– Place the skillet back on heat, when the kernels begin popping(it will happen all at once), begin agitating the pan to ensure that the unpopped kernels remain at the bottom of the pan, as well as to coat the popcorn in bacon fat. Repeat for about 3-4 minutes

– Melt chocolate either using a bain-marie or using the seeding technique in a microwave, then mix in bacon bits.

– Drizzle over popcorn and toss it with your hands, kind of like a salad, but infinitely more delicious

How much bacon you mix into your chocolate depends entirely on what you enjoy. I prefer a little more bacon, so that you bite into tiny nuggets after the sweetness of the chocolate subsides, flooding your taste buds with a sudden transition in flavour, from sweet to savoury. The bacon element in the chocolate is akin to adding a little salt to your chocolate, it sounds like a great paradox, but the addition of a little salt elevates the chocolate and brings out itsĀ  sweetness.