A dariole mold is both a cooking mold and the food cooked and served in it. The word dariole comes from the Old French word that means a small, filled pastry. Darioles today do not necessarily contain pastry and can be filled with a variety of foods such as fish, pudding, vegetables or cake.
A dariole mold looks like a small metal cup. Its shape is cylindrical with a slight taper to it and it may or may not have a lip around the top. Anodized aluminum is often used for dariole molds as this metal is said to help food lift out easily as well as brown evenly. Darioles vary in size, but are always quite small as they are meant to be for individual portions of food.
A dariole mold may be used for individual servings of mashed potato or rice pilaf. Dariole molds are very versatile because they can serve both chilled foods as well as baked foods. For example, you can prepare individual gelatin molds and either chilled or hot appetizers with dariole molds. You can also use them to make many different desserts such as steamed sponge cakes, as well as fish and vegetable mousses, or mousselines.
Mousselines are French appetizers than often use cream and egg whites blended with pureed fish or vegetables. They can be served either hot or cold, which matches the versatility of the dariole mold. If hot, mousselines may have a savory sauce and if cold, they may be topped with salad dressing. Whitefish, spinach and lemon juice are some common ingredients found in mousselines.
Dariole molds are used to make many classic desserts. For example, the dariole mold, which is also called a "baba mold" or a "matfer mold," is strongly associated with the Polish dessert babas as rhum. This dessert is known as the Polish Baba Cake and the individual cakes are made with yeast and butter dough. The filling is usually rum and raisin.
Madeleines are individual cookie-like cakes and are made with a dariole mold. Madeleines are said to have originally been a secret recipe of Louis XV's father-in-law and there are many different variations of madeleines. They are basically made from a batter of eggs, sugar, butter, flour, salt and vanilla with lemon peel usually added. Madeleines often have a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Castle pudding, a classic British dessert, is baked in a dariole mold and may have jam filling inside or feature a vanilla cake with honey and whipped cream served on top.
Creme caramel is a classic French molded dessert made in a dariole mold. The custard-like creme caramel is baked and then chilled and unmolded. It usually includes basic ingredients such as sugar, cream, milk and eggs. Bouchons are sort of a cross between a drier brownie and a muffin. These French champagne cork-shaped treats are baked in dariole molds and often include good quality chocolate chips in chocolate batter that is made with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder.