Bursting Bubbles

“So, What happens with the balloons?” – A little teaser I used to finish my previous post.
The short (and correct, in my ever-so-humble opinion) answer is: Throw them in the bin. Here’s why:
After the success of my chocolate cups, I developed an over-inflated air of confidence in my ability to do fiddly things in the kitchen. I had the idea that using balloons to make chocolate bowls, from which I could eat my Bootleg-Baileys ice cream, would be as simple as this:

It isn’t.

Here’s a little story about how not to be creative in the kitchen – Don’t worry, it does have a happy ending.
On the same day that I made the Bootleg Baileys Chocolate Shots, I thought I’d have a go at making ice cream with the Bootleg Baileys and cute little chocolate bowls that I could use to serve the ice cream. I was under the illusion that I could simply freeze the Bootleg Baileys and that it would make a creamy and delicious ice cream – it didn’t. I should mention, at this point, that we do not own a freezer, all we have is the ice box in the fridge.
Having made the Bootleg Baileys for the chocolate shot glasses, I poured some of the mixture into a silicone mould, placed the mould on a tin tray and put the tray in the ice box of the fridge
NB: Have you ever tried lifting one of those super bendy moulds and not lose the contents down your sleeve?
You haven’t?
It must just be me that always ends up with messy sleeves, then!

A quick reminder of how to melt the chocolate:
Break the cooking chocolate into chunks and place in the mixing bowl.
Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (a bain marie) and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively melt the chocolate in a microwave oven, follow the instructions on the bar of chocolate).
Inflate each balloon to approximately 15cm (6 inches).
Dip each balloon in the chocolate.
Hint: Do not let the balloon touch the hot bowl – Yup, as I found out, an exploding balloon will splatter molten chocolate over everything within a metre of the bowl.
Place the balloon on a sheet of grease-proof paper/silicone sheet/baking paper.
Put to one side to allow the chocolate to set (or in the fridge, if there is room).

All going great, isn’t it?
At this stage, I had visions of the ice cream freezing and the chocolate setting in sufficient time for us to have as a dessert that evening.
The ice cream didn’t freeze – it may have been my fault. You may remember the part of the Bootleg Baileys recipe that stated “1 – 2 wine glasses Irish whisky” – well – when I was making it, there was a teeny-weeny bit of whisky left in the bottle (OK – about 100ml) which I decided to throw into the mixture. Anyone remember that bit in the science lab back in school about alcohol not freezing? I think you know where this is going.
After three days, the ice cream was still in semi-liquid form and the balloons had deflated; with the chocolate stuck firmly to the balloons.
After checking the ice box every morning for a week – I ate the semi-frozen, mousse-like, mush …………….. for breakfast!
I was not (yet) defeated, however, and decided to make a ‘proper’ ice cream – from a ‘proper’ recipe – forget the alcohol (for the moment) I just wanted to make something that would freeze. I also wanted to get the balloon-thingy right.
Recipe Alert! Coffee Ice Cream
What you will need:
Measuring jar.
Mixing bowls.
Freezer container.
Set your freezer to ‘maximum’ or ‘fast freeze’ one hour before starting.

300 ml (half a pint) milk.
150 ml (quarter of a pint) strong, cold coffee (or 2 tspn coffee granules).
3 egg yolks.
50-75 gm sugar (caster is best – but whatever you can get your hands on!).
300 ml (10 fl oz) double cream.

Pour the milk into the saucepan and heat until warm – do not boil.
In the mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until well blended.
Stir the warm milk into the egg mixture.
Cook the custard by placing the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (a bain marie) and stirring until it thickens slightly.
Do not let the custard boil – it will curdle.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan and leave the custard to cool.
Whisk the coffee (or granules) and cream into the cold custard.

Freeze the ice cream mixture – if you have an ice cream machine, follow the instructions as given with the machine – if not……..
Pour the mixture into a shallow, non-metal,  freezer container.
Cover and freeze for about three hours – until frozen all over (it will have a mushy consistency).
Spoon into a bowl and mash with a fork to break down the ice crystals.
(You’ll need to work quickly – so the ice cream doesn’t melt)
Return the mixture to the container and freeze again for two hours.
Mash the ice cream as before.
Return to the freezer and freeze for about three hours (or until firm).
Transfer to room temperature about 20 – 30 minutes before serving.

Of course, now we have three egg whites left over………. Only one thing for it – Meringues!
What you will need:
Mixing bowl & Whisk (or food processor).
Baking sheets & non-stick baking parchment.
3 egg whites.
175 gm (6 oz) caster sugar (I used granulated & it worked just fine).

Line the baking sheets with the non-stick baking parchment.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff (the egg whites, that is, not until your arm goes stiff).
Gradually whisk in half of the sugar – whisk well after each addition.
Fold in the remaining sugar with a metal spoon.
The recipe at this stage instructs that one spoons the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle and pipe small rounds on to the prepared baking sheets

I don’t have a piping bag – so I dolloped the mixture, by the spoonful, onto the baking sheet
Bake in the oven at 110°C (225°F) for two and a half to three hours until firm and crisp, but still white.
If they begin to brown, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
NB: My oven has no thermostat – I baked my meringues for about two hours, during most of which the door was propped open with a wooden spoon.

While the ice cream was freezing, and the meringues were cooking, I made a multifrontal assault on the chocolate balloon/bowl situation.
I tried dusting the balloons with (a) flour (b) cocoa powder and (c) icing sugar to try and form a barrier between the chocolate and the balloon – result: fail!
I tried using (a) olive oil and (b) sunflower oil to try and create a thin film between the chocolate and the balloon – result: fail!
I tried tying off the balloon with a twist-tie instead of a knot to try and deflate the balloon gently, whilst easing the chocolate away from the balloon – result: fail!
I tried putting a funnel in the open end of the balloon and adding a few droplets of tepid water, in the hope of melting it just enough to release the balloon from the chocolate – result: fail!
I gave up.
I was left with a container of broken chocolate pieces, meringues, coffee ice cream and a depleted bottle of thick bootleg baileys.
I had an idea.
I had heard of a popular dessert that is served in England that goes by the name of Eton Mess – which, I have concluded, was conceived by someone attempting to make a Pavlova and having as much success as I was, trying to make f’ing chocolate bowls with balloons. I, therefore, present my own take on this summertime dessert. Ladies & gentlemen, boys and girls, I present: One Hell of a Mess:
What you will need:
All of the chocolate from your culinary cock-ups attempts at making chocolate bowls with balloons
Coffee ice cream (because the Baileys wouldn’t freeze).
Meringues (because you had left over egg whites).
Bootleg Baileys (I’m as surprised as you, that there is any left by now).
What you need to do:
Place a scoop of coffee ice cream in a bowl.
Break the meringues into pieces and scatter over the ice cream.
Break the chocolate into pieces and throw over the ice cream & meringue.
Cover with Bootleg Baileys.
So, you see, what could (and probably should) have been an experience that deflated my ego confidence, turned out alright in the end. (I told you it had a happy ending)

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6 thoughts on “Bursting Bubbles

    • You soon learn how to work with it, Tanya – ‘normal’ cooking times & temperatures go out the window, but eventually it all works out.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  1. This is fun, Sue and the final result sounds yummy. I have an infallible merengue recipe in my Delia book – cook for 45-60 mins at 140º, turn oven off and leave the merengues in oven until you need them. Obviously no good if your oven has no thermostat, but better than propping it open with a wooden spoon.

    • Thanks, Josh! I’ll have another bash at Baileys Ice Cream….. one day, but, if I’m honest, I bloody loved the ‘Mess’ – I may just stick to that. 🙂

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