This week’s post started when my younger son spotted the remaining dark chocolate with a hint of sea salt sailboats, which I had made for their father last week, sitting next to the bowl of slightly bland, but beautifully baked rolls I had made for dinner, the night before.
He picked up a sailboat and a roll, stuck a thumb into the roll, and finessed the “mast” of the sailboat into the doughy centre. A quick warm in the oven to melt the chocolate: et Voila!
“Sorta like one of those, what do you call them, a pain au chocolat? Really Mum, I’m just using up the leftovers.”
Absolutely, he is.
And this thought gets me prowling through the refrigerator, the next day. I have small portions of four different kinds of filling from the various bonbons I’ve made, that I need to use up.
- half a zip-lok bag of peanut butter cup filling
- half a zip-lok bag of lemon marshmallow filling (from the freezer – will be interesting to see how well it thaws)
- half a dozen scotch truffle centres, slightly squashed
- half a cup of white chocolate strawberry ganache (a bit grainy)
I decide to run a taste-testing experiment to see if any (or all) of these fillings could possible blend together in a tasty combination or two.
Upon first glance, I would guess that maybe the two fruit flavours would complement each other, and perhaps the strawberry and peanut butter (like the sandwich), but can scotch be a good partner or must it be taken “neat”?
I cut the truffles into slices, and roll the ganache into balls. The peanut butter filling is actually thick enough to roll into discs as well, so, with these all lined up on the Silpat, and the bag of successfully thawed marshmallow filling at my elbow, I set up my tasting.
I have a jar of coffee beans at the ready, and a glass of tepid water, to clear both my nasal passages and my taste buds, after each sample.
I start with the strawberry ganache and peanut butter, in equal measure, squished together in a two-layer disk. The verdict: ghastly. I am quite surprised by this, as I adore both strawberry and peanut butter, but this tastes nastily sweet and candy-like, as opposed to rich and creamy.
Hmm. Next, I try the strawberry with the scotch truffle. Nope. Definitely not. Just wrong. The sweet white chocolate does not marry well with the peaty flavour of the scotch.
Okay, now strawberry with lemon marshmallow. When I made this marshmallow cream, I was over enthusiastic with the flavouring oil, and was concerned about its bitterness, but am now glad of it, as it helps slightly to balance the sweetness of the strawberry ganache. This one works the best out of the strawberry combinations (two fruit flavours, after all), but still, just not quite right.
One of my elder son’s friends drops in to pick something up, and I press him into service to taste the ganache, straight up. He has reliably taste-tested many of my creations, some of which fall into the Epic Fail category, and has never been known to turn down chocolate of any kind, but like a lot of teenagers, prefers it sweet and milky.
“It doesn’t actually taste like chocolate – it’s like candy. It’s really sweet.”
Yep. He is absolutely correct. When I made this ganache and used it as a centre in molded dark chocolate hearts it was quite yummy (and yes, it was made for a group of teenagers) and used in very small amounts, but this is a case where maturity has definitely not improved the flavour. Since I can’t stand throwing food away, these balls of ganache get consigned to the fridge with a “please use me up at your discretion” label on them.
So, the white chocolate-strawberry leftover combinations are a dead loss. Three other possibilities to try:
Peanut Butter/Lemon Marshmallow: okay yes, this does seem like an odd combination, but it is not bad at all, sort of a lemony fluffer-nutter flavour. They are both of a “squishy” texture, and blend interestingly on the tongue. I think the boys will like appreciate this one, too.
Peanut Butter/Scotch: I like this one. It is slightly salty, slightly astringent, a very grown up taste. I am no scotch lover, but oddly, tempered by the lemon, it tastes quite nice. I can see my scotch loving friends having The Vapors over this.
Scotch/Lemon Marshmallow: Interesting. Intense. Not too sweet. Perhaps it is because I have left it to the end, but it certainly works as an antidote to the sweetness.
I have enough of each filling left over, after this tasting, to make up some dark chocolate cups. I make the shells in my flexible silicon dessert cup molds and fill them with the last three combinations. And to complete the “leftovers” theme, I use up the bits and pieces of chocolate I have had left over from other projects, so it is a merry mix-up of differing cacao percentages which ends up forming the shells.
This project has definitely appealed to my frugal nature, and the pieces themselves, when topped, then unmolded, definitely remind me, in miniature, of that queen of the fridge, the mother of all leftover vehicles – the casserole.
And that is what I think I will call this quirky little signature piece – La Casserole