Always one to give credit where it is due; these lovely desserts are the brainchild of Heston Blumenthal. However Heston's original dessert contained a kind of caramel ganache that offended even my sweety tooth. So taking the delightful concept of a centre piece that doubles as dessert I set about making it Ms Cupcake's own creation. The first time I made these I filled the white chocolate tubes with raspberry mousse only. As tasty as they were I wanted them to be amazing so I elaborated a little adding cointreau soaked cake and fresh raspberries. But I get ahead of myself! If you're like me and like to build your ego with high praise for sugary creations then you must try these at your next dinner party!
The hardest part here is making the little candle outer hole free.I used A4 sheets of acetate (clear plastic) that were originally destined to be report covers, you can buy it from news agents and stationary stores. I then cut long rectangles that were approx. 10x25cm. These were rolled around a cylinder and taped up tightly before sliding off. It actually work quite well if you use different cylinders so all your 'candles' aren't the same shape. I then cut up small squares of acetate (10cm square or so) to act as the base.
White chocolate Outers
The chocolate I used was Nestles milk melts, which come in 350g bags. I melted the whole bag in the microwave for a few minutes until it was thick but no too runny. Then put small dollops about the diameter of your acetone tubes on each square and stick the tube into it like shown bellow
Living in a hot climate I had to put these in the freezer to set before I could go on. Once they were set I melted the chocolate more until it ran off a spoon in ribbons but took a little while for the surface of the chocolate to smooth out. Working one at a time I then spooned some into each tube. You need to roll the tube on its side using the spoon to spread a little so the entire inner is covered. Check that there are no holes or weak spots but putting the tube up to the light. If the chocolate is too runny it will all pour down to the bottom, no runny enough and the wall will be too thick. Put them back in the freezer to set. once set undo the tape and unroll your little tubes. don't worry if they chip a little it adds to the effect. You can make these a few days ahead and store them quite easily.
I made a simple genoise sponge, using a baking tray as the tin so it was thin (about 15mm) and flat and brushed it with a 50/50 mix of Cointreau and sugar syrup. Then using an empty acetate tube cut out three disks for each candle (and gobbled up the remaining cake!)
I'm not a fan of most mousse recipes. They seem overly complicated and involve too much fuss with whipping egg whites and I'm not one to give my friends salmonella! So I use the word mousse in a loose sense by which I mean whipped cream with a bit of fruit mixed through... sure it's not as light and delicate as it could be but I think that if you've gone to the effort of making little chocolate candles, you can cut corners on mousse techniques. It tastes pretty good though!
Ms Cupcakes Slacker Raspberry 'Mousse"
600ml whipping cream
400g frozen raspberries (defrosted)
100g (or to taste) caster sugar
1 tablespoon gelatin
2/3 cup water
good slug of Cointreau
In a medium saucepan heat together gelatin, sugar and water until everything is dissolved. Making sure your raspberries are at room temperature mash them roughly with a fork (we're not going for smooth, you want a few lumps of fruit through the mousse for zing) add the raspberries to the gelatin mix and keep on a low flame until all combined and your convinced the gelatin had dissolved, worst thing you can do it skimp on the mixing and have chinks of hard or unevenly dissolved gelatin! Put this mixture in the fridge to cool.
Add cointreau and whip cream until stiff ( like the texture you'd serve scones with). Gently fork your now cool and semi set (20 mins fridge time should do it) fruit, so no big chunks and fold 1/3 of cream through. Then add this mixture to the remainder of the cream and gently fold trying to keep in air.
Spoon this mixture into a piping bag with a large tip (or just a large snaplock bag with the end snipped off!)
Constructing the candle
Pipe mousse into the bottom 1/3 of each candle, add a circle of cake and repeat until there is 0.5cm gap from the top, finishing with cake on top. To make the candle part you'll need a small birthday cake candle for each one. Peirce the cake top and stick in the candle making sure you have wick clear of the top of the chocolate mold ( so top of wick will be about 1cm from cake). Melt the left over white chocolate used previously until is warm, it should be slightly runny but not hot to touch. Spoon it into a small snap lock bag, snip a small opening and pipe chocolate into the top of each candle until you reach the top of the mold and adjust height of the little candle so only the tinniest bit of wax is sticking out above the chocolate line. Then with the remaining chocolate pipe little dribbles and spills of 'wax' around the top and sides of the candle. For a really authentic look you might want to stand them on acetate and let chocolate dribble down the side and pool at the bottom.
Once you're happy with how they look return to fridge until you're ready to serve.
To serve arrange along middle of table with some ivy and flowers scattered between. Then when it is dessert time turn down the lights, light your little candles and invite your guests to take their dessert! Delightful!