I must say that although I love the Yule-tide (Christmas in a non-Christian way - I prefer to celebrate it the "pagan" way) atmosphere, I am really not a big fan of this mercantile Christmas craze that already starts when the summer has just ended. All I see when I open magazines or newspapers, put on my TV and look at the robotically busy crowds running from one store to another is consumption, consumption and consumption. In our modern world, Xmas is deprived of all it's meaning and spiritual aspect.
The real signification of sharing and giving has been lost. Most people buy things because they have to make gifts no matter if they have enough money or not (some ever make debts in order to buy them). It is a social obligation. The worst is that because of the way things are in our modern times, the act of offering is made without pleasure or deep purpose (I am not speaking about calculated acts of offering here, but about the meaningful ones). So that leads some persons to offer impersonal presents that are not to the taste of the receivers and will be recycled, given away, exchanged or even thrown away. Not forgetting that many already have everything and need nothing more. This accumulation of goods can be quite pornographic, especially when you think of those that are in need.
Too many of us are stressed by those festivities, feel pressurized by their family who sets the bar far too high and cannot bear the weight which is put on their shoulders as not only do they have to purchase loads of useless paraphernalia, but they also have to get together with people they dislike just for the sake of that "holy day", play the perfect family although hate, jealousy and adversity is in the air (so fake - love and friendship is not something you show only once a year and it cannot be commanded!) and slave in the kitchen all day to prepare a expensive as well as gargantuesque feast. What a comedy!
Everything has to be big, expensive, shiny, artificial, pompous, over the top, burden-like and imposed. In such suffocating circumstances celebrating Xmas is far from being cheery. It is more like a torture or traumatizing nightmare that never ends! I'm sure if you asked people wether they'd prefer to go through the pain of organizing the "perfect" Christmas and lose their sanity or would rather do some cocooning I'm sure 70% would choose the latter (the 30% percent who will claim the contrary are those who are blessed with kind and lovable relatives - something quite rare).
Of course, some of you are lucky to not fall easily into the commercial spiral/trap, have another vision of things and can be proud of having a normal family. In such conditions Christmas is not hollow and it is an event you can look forward to ...
I am fortunate enough to commemorate Christmas in my own way (it also happens to be my birthday on the 25th of December). We try tribute to this day in a very heathen, nature-oriented and non-confomist fashion. We don't go crazy when it comes to spending money, but we exchange humble yet wonderful gifts, value true relationships and eat a 100% homemade meal (cooked by "moi") that is rich in it's simplicity (no 5 hour sessions at the table - we prefer to eat less and to make the fancy food last a few days instead of gulping all of it on the same day). My family being plagued by petty fights, I happen to spend the holidays at home with my boyfriend and our two kitties (Maruschka & Fridolin - my babies LOL). Straight-forward, refined, authentic and humble just like me. Very romantic, laid-back and cozy!
I particularly enjoy the weeks that preceed Xmas as it is a foodlover's and baker's paradize. There are so many cookies to bake, countless magazines to leaf through, tons of gleeful blog post to admires and heaps of wonderful food displayed on markets or in stores to drool over. When you are an epicurean like me, then you cherish this awesome period that is the Advent even more than the 25th of December itself.
Lately, I have been bustling in my kitchen, overusing my oven and baking all kinds of treats that disappear within a few hours or days (a Sisyphus job). In my house delicious things don't last long and it was also the case with my "Eggnog Mousse" which was so good that it was impossible to stop gobbling it.
I found the original recipe in my December issue of "Delicious" magazine (once again!) which is a big source of inspiration and my latest culinary crush . At the origin this pudding was called "Eggnog Creams", but since I adapted it by spicing it up a little more, adding ingredients or substituting others and incorporating more gelatine, I decided to change it's title since this dessert is more like a mousse than a cream.
This "Eggnog Mousse" is a dessert that fits perfectly the Christmas day dinner party menu as it is light, fresh and so festive. It is totally irresistible with it's intense spiciness, fabulous heady notes of whiskey (just perceptible), creamy full-bodiness, delicate vanilla aroma, slight custardy/eggy flavor and dreamlike fluffiness as well as lovely jelly texture. A treat that will charm your guests and conclude the meal ethereally!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE G2KITCHEN CHRISTMAS SPECIAL IS OUT!
I have participated in the elaboration of this issue, so if you want to learn everything about my Christmases and see my pictures then please do check out that online magazine.
~Eggnog Mousse ~
Recipe adapted from "Delicious", December 2010.
500ml Milk (3.5% fat)
1 1/2 Tsp Pure vanilla paste
2 Sticks Cinnamon
1 1/2 Tsp Freshly grated nutmeg (+ a little more to dust)
A pinch Ground cloves
4 Large egg yolks (free-range or organic)
110g Castor sugar
1/2 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt
8 Sheets gelatine
320ml Double cream (35% fat)
1. Pour the milk into a medium pan and add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Over medium heat stir continuously and bring to a slight boil. Remove from the heat and let infuse for about an hour.
2. In a medium bowl, put the egg yolks, sugar, whiskey, vanilla and salt. Whisk until thick and pale yellow.
3. Over low heat, reheat the infused milk and slowly strain it over the egg mixture. Mix well.
4. Pour back into the pan and cook over low heat while continuously stiring until the mixture becomes thickish and covers the back of a spoon.
6. Add to the custard and stir well until completely dissolved and incorporated.
5. Soak the gelatine in bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, until the sheets get soft. Discard the water and squeeze in order to remove all excess water.
7. Pour into a bowl and place it in a sink filled with ice cold water.
8. Let cool completely and stir every now and then. The mixture should get thick, but should not be set.
9. Meanwhile whisk the cream until you obtain soft peaks.
10 Fold delicately into the custard until the mixture is homogenous.
11. Pour into 150ml transparent verrines or glasses.
12. Chill for about 4 hours or overnight.
You can replace the whiskey by brandy, sherry or rum.
Serve cold for dessert and decorate with the cookies of your choice (speculoos, shortbread, macaron, etc...), some grated dark chocolate or broken praline.
Recette adaptée du magazine "Delicious", Décembre 2010.
500ml de Lai (3.5% de mat. grasses)
1 1/2 CC de Pâte de vanille pure
2 Bâtons de Cannelle
1 1/2 CC De Noix de muscade fraîchement moulue (+ un petit peu pour saupoudrer)
Une pincée de Clous de girofles en poudre
4 Gros jaunes d'oeufs (air libre ou bio)
110g de Sucre cristallisé
1/2 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
8 Feuilles de gélatine
320ml de Crème double (35% de mat. grasses)
1. Verser le lait dans une casserole moyenne et y ajouter la pâte de vanille, la cannelle, la noix de muscade et le clou de girofle. A feu moyen, chauffer et mélanger continuellement jusqu'à légère ébullition. Retirer du feu et laisser infuser pendant 1 heure .
2. Dans un bol moyen mettre les jaunes d'oeufs, le sucre, le whisky, l'extrait de vanille et le sel. Fouetter jusqu'à obtention d'un mélange mousseux et pâle.
3. Réchauffer le lait infusé à feu moyen et le filtrer tout en versant dans le bol où se trouve le mélange aux jaunes d'oeufs. Bien mélanger.
4. Transvaser dans la casserole puis faire cuire à feu doux tout en remuant jusqu'à obtention d'un custard assez épais (il doit recouvrir le dos d'une cuillère).
5. Faire tremper la gélatine dans un bol d'eau froide pendant 5 minutes, jusqu'à ce qu'elle ait ramolli complètement. Enlever l'eau et la presser afin d'en extraire toute l'eau superflue.
6. Ajouter au custard et mélanger afin que la gélatine soit complètement dissoute et incorporée.
7. Verser dans un bol. Le placer dans de l'eau très froide.
8. Faire refroidir complètement le custard et mélanger de temps en temps. Le mélange ne doit pas prendre, mais doit s'épaissir.
9. Pendant ce temps, foutter la crème jusqu'à formation de pics.
10 Incorporer délicatement au custard afin d'obtenir un mélange homogène.
11. Verser dans des verres ou verrines de 150ml.
12. Mettre au frigo au moins pendant 4 heures ou toute une nuit.
Le whisky peut être remplacé par du brandy, sherry ou du rhum.
Idées de présentation:
Servir froid pour le dessert et décorer avec des biscuits (speculoos, shortbread, macaron, etc...), du chocolat râpé (ou des copeaux de chocolat) ou du praline.