With Passover and Easter coming this weekend, I wanted to create a recipe that everyone could enjoy for dessert. Actually, I was thinking chocolate. Because, aren’t you? Really? And I got inspiration from a couple of different places that you might not immediately associate with each other. It’s kosher for Passover, dairy-free, and gluten-free. It’s light, and decadent, and perfect for your seder or Easter holiday table. Intrigued? Ha! But first…
It’s a national tragedy. And a travesty. Nearly 17 million children in the United States are hungry every single day. That’s 637,779 children in Florida, alone. And it’s not like the resources aren’t out there, but they’re the missing the mark. That’s where Share Our Strength and the No Kid Hungry Campaign come in. And you can help.
On April 28, 2012, food bloggers all over the United States are joining together to conduct Food Blogger Bake Sales to raise money to help connect these kids with the food they need to grow and thrive. As part of the National Food Bloggers Bake Sale, we are proud to announce the Third Annual Miami Food Bloggers Bake Sale, which will happen at the South Miami Farmers Market (my home away from home), 6130 Sunset Drive (in front of South Miami City Hall).
This year’s Bake Sale will be bigger and better than ever, with some of the best known bloggers in town baking their little hearts out, and some of the finest local restaurants and food entrepreneurs donating gift cards and gift baskets for an insane raffle – for YOU – and to end child hunger, once and for all. Here are some of the highlights:
- Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering in South Miami has donated a gift card for our raffle. Brendan Connor of Whisk won the Judge’s Favorite Award for his crispy shallot, bacon and Swiss burger at the 2012 South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash!
- The fabulous Town Kitchen & Bar restaurant in South Miami has donated a gift card for our raffle!
- Harry’s Pizzeria in the Design District has also donated a very generous gift card for our raffle! Harry’s is the latest brainchild of James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink fame.
- WokStar Eleanor Hoh has donated a gift certificate for 2 people to attend one of her awesome wok cooking classes (valued at $130) for the raffle! Learn Eleanor’s no-recipes, no-measuring method to put a delicious and healthy meal on the table in minutes.
- Dunkin’ Donuts of South Florida (8099 S. Dixie Hwy) is providing us with the best ever coffee to sell, plus a gift card redeemable at that location! We definitely run on Dunkin’!
- Lester’s Cafe and Wine Bar in the Wynwood Arts/Design District has donated a gift card for our raffle! Lester’s multi-function cafe is the host of the monthly Wynwood Supper Club, as well as the Motown Brunch every last Saturday of the month!
- CRAVE Restaurant Coral Gables in Merrick Park has donated a generous gift card!
- Delicious and unusual Freakin’ Flamingo local micro-batch jams are being donated for sale, plus a gift basket of Freakin’ Flamingo jams & gift items will be raffled! Freakin’ Flamingo was featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Edible South Florida Magazine‘s holiday gift guide.
If you can’t join us – and why wouldn’t you? – please consider making a donation. To learn more about the 2012 Miami Food Blogger Bake Sale or to make a donation, please click here. To paraphrase the Whitney Houston song: I believe that children are our future. Feed them well and let them lead the way.
My first inspiration for this decadent Chocolate Orange Mousse Torte, was a ready-made macaroon pie crust made by one of the kosher food companies for Passover, that I spotted in a kosher butcher/grocery store several weeks ago, when I went on an expedition with my mother. Genius. The kind of thing you see on the shelf and say to yourself: Why didn’t I think of that? I make macaroons (you can find them here and here)! Then I thought: What would I fill it with?
My second inspiration was this article and “Genius Recipe” on the Food52 blog for a chocolate mousse that you can make in 5 minutes with just two ingredients: chocolate and water. No, really. I made it several times, and it really does work! And the answer to: What would I fill it with? Check it out:
Chocolate Orange Mousse Torte
For the crust:
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup almond meal or ground blanched almonds
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut (if using sweetened coconut, cut the sugar to 2 Tbs.)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbs. cocoa powder (optional, if you want a chocolate crust)
- vegetable oil or cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large glass or metal bowl, whisk or beat the egg whites until frothy. We’re not making meringue, just loosening up the egg whites to be able to incorporate the other ingredients smoothly. Stir in the dry ingredients until well-mixed. Lightly oil or spray an 8 1/2″ – 9″ pie plate or torte pan, and *very important!* – line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then oil or spray the paper. Do not skip this step. Then press in the crust mixture firmly. Bake for 18-20 minutes and allow to cool.
For the filling:
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used parve (non-dairy), kosher for Passover bittersweet baking chocolate)
- (If using a “good quality” bittersweet chocolate, such Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger, you may want to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar during the melting process. Taste your chocolate first!)
- Juice of one orange (should come to about 4 oz. or 1/2 cup)
- 2 oz. or 1/4 cup water (juice + water should equal no more than 3/4 cup or 6 oz)
- Finely grated zest of the same orange (about 1-1/2 – 2 Tbs.)
- Large bowl filled with ice and water
Pour the juice and water into a small saucepan and add the chocolate. Heat on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid and chocolate blend together into a smooth, homogeneous sauce. Stir in the orange zest.
Pour the hot chocolate orange sauce into a clean bowl, then carefully place the bowl into the ice bath and start whisking. I’m not much of a hand-whisker, so I used my stick blender with the whisk attachment, on the lowest setting. I’ve also used my hand mixer on low speed, as seen below. When using small kitchen electrics for the process, be prepared for a bit of a mess, so try to use a bowl that’s relatively deep. The whisking action incorporates bubbles into the chocolate and the cooling action of the ice bath combine to create the light, smooth mousse. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens to a soft, almost pudding-like consistency. It will happen in just a few minutes. I promise.
Pour the mousse into the prepared macaroon torte or pie shell, garnish if desired (I used several tablespoons of toasted, slivered almonds), and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight, until firm.
The combination of chocolate and orange is a classic that, I confess, is one of my favorites. The mousse is both rich and light, the orange infusing a fresh, yet almost decadent, counterpoint to the chocolate, and works with the macaroon crust like a good marriage. A perfect end to any festive meal, and easier to make than it looks!
Happy Holidays, all!