Sunday, May 30, 2010

Strawberries and Champagne Mousse

I have had a busy busy weekend at the hotel! Down in the pastry department yesterday I had to make and fill 550 martinis with **surprise surprise** Strawberries and Champagne Mousse. They turned out great and really would make a fantastic dessert for a dinner party, so I scaled down our recipe **a lot** and put them at the end of this post.

The bottom portion is a strawberry puree and it is topped with a champagne zabaione that is mixed 1:1 with whipped cream to get that mousse texture. **recipes below** We topped ours with a key lime cookie, but I think they would look fantastic topped with a strawberry cut lengthwise.

They are very easy to assemble and are sure to impress.

To Assemble

The basis of this mousse is a Champagne Zabaione. I looked into the history of this custard and found some really interesting information:

A Brief History of Zabaione

My favorite Italian Restaurant in San Diego is Salvitore's. Whenever I get the chance to go, for dessert I always get the Champagne Zabaione over berries. Its rich and decadent and silky smooth. Mmmmm!

I did a little research on Zabaione and I found it goes by many different spellings. It is a dish that’s popular in countries all over the world. Exact originations are not known, but versions of this dish can be traced back to the 1500’s.

It has been used as a drink, as a dessert, as a cure for numbness in a persons body and as an aphrodisiac. Here are a few of the other spellings:

Zabaione, Zablaiogne or Zabaglione – Italy

Baglione – Reggio Emalia in Northern Italy

Sabayone – France

Zambajoun or Zabajone – Archaic spelling

Sambayon – Uruguay and Venezuela

Sabajon – Columbia

Zabaja - Yugoslavia

Zabaione is an Italian custard, is similar to Egg Nog and the basic ingredients are egg yolks, sugar and a sweet wine.


Champagne Zabaione Mousse

· 1 cup Champagne
· 3/4 cup powdered sugar
· 5 large egg yolks
· 2 tablespoons corn syrup

· 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. In a metal or glass bowl whisk Champagne, sugar, yolks and corn together. Set bowl over saucepan and make sure water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Whisk mixture constantly until it has tripled in volume, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat zabaione until completely cool, about 5 minutes.

Beat cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. ***You want it pretty well whipped so it will make a mousse consistency when mixed with the softer zabaione*** Once stiff peaks form, gently fold into zabaione mixture.

Strawberry Puree:

· 1 bag frozen strawberries (thawed)
· 1 teaspoon lemon juice
· 2 Tablespoons sugar

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until very fine. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Strain through a fine strainer (chinois) to catch the seeds.

Make sure you put the whole bag of strawberries in the blender (liquid included) so it makes a sauce and not a paste.

If you wanted a different texture, you can only partially blend the strawberries and don’t strain and you’ll have chunks of strawberries in your dessert.

If you want to plan things ahead, both the zabaione mousse and the puree will hold well in the fridge for a couple days.

fills 6 martini glasses

History info and picture from:, and

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Graduation Cupcakes

It's finally summer! For the last few weeks, all my free time and my every thought has been devoted to the many practical finals and projects to finish up the semester. But now I get 3 whole months of sun and the beach (and no classes from 5 to 10pm after 8 hours of work!!!) until fall.

My roomate is even better off than me, as she just graduated from SDSU on Friday! Congrats Jenny!! Between her and my brother graduating elementary school in a few weeks, I have lots of graduation cupcakes on the agenda.

I have a super easy idea for graduation cupcakes that will be sure to impress. I saw some graduation cupcakes in the Hello Cupcake book using chocolate covered graham crackers and oreos and it gave me an idea for my own version of a graduation hat:

The bottom of the hat is an upside down Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, the square top is a Ghiradelli dark chocolate square. I attached the two with royal icing and used it to pipe a little tassle on the top. The cupcakes are white cake and white frosting (her favorite!)

Here are the chocolate hat toppers before I assembled them:

I did this the day before, so they would have plenty of time to dry and stick together (because I'm a clutz) You can easily do this the day of, just make sure you don't knock the top off.

To make the tassles: Pipe a circle in the center of the chocolate square and give that a few minutes to dry. Then pipe a line going from the center to one of the corners and use a toothpick to pull the royal icing out into smaller tassle strings. I tried to pipe the strings first and they all melded together into a blob.

SDSU's school colors are red and black, so for the frosting, I striped my pastry bag with these colors so it came out with the swirles throughout it. I will be posting a tutorial on this shortly.

Congrats again to all the Graduates out there!!


Welcome to my blog! This is my first post and I don’t really know how to get it going, so lets just start from the beginning…

About a year ago, I decided to abandon the 3 years of classes I had been taking toward a Business Administration major and go to culinary school. Kind of a crazy decision, I know, but I really couldn't picture myself in a little cubicle or office for the rest of my life. I’d rather do something that I love and I have a passion for.

So now I am going through culinary school, my emphasis is in Baking and Pastry. I’m working part time in a large-scale kitchen for a hotel, but my dream is to one day open my own bakeshop. Don't know how realistic that is, since opening a new business in San Diego is pretty risky. But one day when the time is right... **fingers crossed**

Anywhoo... I'm starting this blog to chronicle my learning, help me get new ideas, provide some tips to you and share my flubs (I'm sure there will be many) so you don't make the same mistakes :) Enjoy!