Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chocolate Coffee Explosion Party Parfait

After deciding to participate in Heather Pace's (of Sweetly Raw) Summer Party Parfait contest, I started thinking about several conventional treats that I wished I could enjoy in the RAW...I wanted them to look virtually identical in presentation and texture as the conventional treats. One of the first ones to come to mind ~ inspired by my Mango Apricot Sunny Parfait that I "accidentally" created yesterday, and the mason jar I used to present it, was a true Southern banana pudding served up in a Ball mason jar. This has, in the past, been one of my very guilty pleasures...Often looking forward to the times I would make it over to Pappadeaux's on FM 1960 (in my opinion, the best Pappadeaux's in town) where they serve it this way. (They even let me take the mason jars home!) The atmosphere is absolutely lovely! Like time traveling back to old New Orleans, LA when Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Ella Fitzgerald, and the other greats of the time were often performing. It has Louisiana style brick inside and out. Live jazz bands on their brick covered patio complete with overhead strung light bulbs, a court yard fountain with a baritone and bass toad orchestra, and crickets...Truly a delight! It's a mini getaway tucked away in lush surroundings right off one of the busiest streets in North West Houston.

Thus, my parfait challenge inspiration: Southern mason jar treats, brick, vintage jazz, and the love of light raw versions of old-fashioned comfort deserts. For this creation, I would need to replicate the mousse-like pudding textures (vanilla and banana creme) with bits of mild crunch through out ~ to mimic the vanilla wafer cookie that has been soaking in the pudding ~ and, of course, bananas.

As all intentions go, this was the treat I intended to make last night...However, I found there was a little girl in my house who had a craving for bananas and ate all the available ripe ones...No problem, there should be some ripe ones at the store. No such luck at 9 PM. I bought the ripest ones available (still green on the tips) and paper bagged them. What could I do in the mean time?! Well, I had just ordered a coffee flavored extract from Medicine Flower and I had been looking for an excuse to play with it. I love coffee and milk chocolate combinations, so I decided to mix Heather Pace's Triple Chocolate Parfait with her Chocolate Explosion Parfait making a couple changes to the recipes: omitting a few and adding two additional items per contest rules. My imagination could not have known how stunning the flavors and textures would be once they settled overnight in the fridge...My rendition: Chocolate Coffee Explosion Party Parfait! The title fits appropriately! It satisfies the coffee lover sans the caffeine, and the need for mousse-like pudding textured, cold creamy treats. BLISS!

For the first half of my Parfait challenge, I used two mousses from the Triple Chocolate Parfait. First, I used the Milk Chocolate Mousse ~ adding a table spoon of mesquite and an additional tablespoon of lecithin.(I used a RAW sunflower lecithin since that is what I had on hand.) This was my first experience using it, though I've had it stored in the fridge for months. The consistency is like molasses and it seemed to have made this particular mousse's texture more thick and airy/whipped-like after it sat in the fridge overnight.

I like how mesquite rounds out the bitter tones in raw cocao, so this was my first addition to the recipe.

Second, I made a different version of the Milk Chocolate Mousse ~ omitting all of the cacao powder and cacao butter, while adding seven drops of Medicine Flower's Coffee Extract and again adding another tablespoon of lecithin (for a light brown coffee color like one would find in coffee ice cream) and the thicker mousse texture.

The coffee extract was my second addition to the overall recipe.

Thirdly, I wanted a creamy white layer with more of a whipped creme flavor, so I made the White Chocolate Vanilla Mousse omitting the melted cacao butter and vanilla bean and adding and additional half cup of Irish moss gel. (I did this as I had just slightly under the amount of coconut pulp needed to make the creme as white as I wanted and I needed this layer to be mouse-like without adding the dark lecithin.) The reason I omitted the vanilla bean is that I am not terribly crazy for the intense flavor it provides, especially in the raw, as well as I wanted this cream to be as pure white as specs of vanilla. I decided to call this altered version White Vanilla Creme Mousse.

I used agave as my sweeter in this mousse as I wanted a very neutral flavor with no color.

*From the Triple Chocolate Parfait, I completely omitted the Dark Chocolate Mousse as a layer option. My goal was for creamy caramel tones...

The second half of this creamy treat came from Heather Pace's Chocolate Explosion Parfait. I knew I wanted to incorporate bananas and a crunch factor and I had already used my two allowed additions in the recipe, so I had to be creative. Thus, from the Chocolate Explosion Parfait, I used bananas and the Chocolate Cookie Crumbles. At first, I was going to also use the 1-2-3 Easy Chocolate Sauce adding two drops of the coffee extract, but I wasn't impressed by how thin it turned out ~ even after sitting in the freezer for a while.

To the Chocolate Cookie Crumbles, I added two more tablespoons of maple sugar and a tablespoon of maple syrup since the mixture was way too dry and not sticking like crumbles should.

I labeled the mousses, and set in the fridge over night to firm up.

Various pictures from around the kitchen during my preparations:

In total I used six young Thai coconuts...I needed seven. You never really know until you crack them open.

This is my cocao butter and coconut oil melting method: tiny mason jar floating in HOT water.

My mini taste tester: Eliya with a 250 ml mason jar.

The assembly:

The first layer is the White Vanilla Creme Mousse, followed by a few slices of banana and a middle (hidden) layer of Chocolate Cookie Crumbles. Next, I added a thick layer of Milk Chocolate Mousse, more bananas and a visible layer of Chocolate Cookie Crumbles. I topped that with a thick Coffee Mousse layer, followed by a thinner layer of the Milk Chocolate Mousse, and an even thinner layer of the White Vanilla Creme Mousse. Finally, the creation was completed with a topping of tiny slices of bananas and Chocolate Cookie Crumbles.

Outdoor photo shoots:

This last photo is one of my favorites because it shows the green flowering bushes, a weathered bench, and a bit of the brick which helped inspire the creation...It's a cooling outdoor setting in a humid southern climate! I have a love for vintage weathered items, and I think the weathered wood bench really brings out the spirit of my Southern mason jar inspired treat. The light brown handkerchief, and natural wood platform adds neutral caramel tones...hinting to the flavors awaiting the viewer.

This treat turned out beyond what my imagination thought it would be. Once the flavors melted together, it was absolute BLISS!