Archive for: mousse
Lemon curd is such a versatile product that I love to have it in my kitchen. I’ll happily eat it plain, but I also regularly reach for it as a cake (or cupcake) filling and even add a dollop or two to buttercream for flavoring. One other dessert I like to make with lemon curd is a simple Lemon Mousse that is made just by folding lemon curd into some lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Lemon Mousse Verrine consists of layers of simple lemon mousse stacked with a layer of lemon curd. I definitely recommend using homemade lemon curd or homemade meyer lemon curd for the best results (I used meyer lemon curd in this dessert), but you can get away with store-bought, too. I topped my dessert off with some gingersnap crumbs to add a little crunch to each bite, and set a few on the side for dipping (which I also recommend!). Graham crackers also make a great accompaniment to the dessert.
A verrine is simply a dessert that is layered in a small glass. This kind of presentation is a great way to dress up a relatively simple dessert and make it look very elegant. Any kind of small glass will work, including brandy and wine glasses, although I personally am partial to straight-sided glasses because it is very easy to see the layers. I don’t use glasses that hold more than 6-oz for desserts like this, but this recipe is very easy to scale up or down to make it fit your glasses and the number of people you’re serving.
One of the easiest mousses to make is a lemon mousse, made by folding lemon curd into whipped cream. This type of dessert is delicious, but I wanted to see if I could use it as a base for other simple mousses by trying the concept with other flavors of curd. A fruit curd is a creamy, sweet sauce made with fruit juice or puree, thickened with egg yolks and sweetened with sugar. While lemon curd is easily the most popular, it can actually be made with many different types of fruit. Fresh strawberries, for instance, make a very fine fruit curd that is great on its own and the perfect base for a light strawberry mousse.
This strawberry curd is made just like lemon curd, but using a freshly made strawberry puree where you might normally use lemon juice. I did not strain out any of the tiny seeds, but simply used the puree as it came out of my food processor. To made the curd, the puree is sweetened with sugar and thickened with eggs, resulting in a silky smooth, pink sauce that is a great topping for desserts. To turn it into a mousse, I simply folded some whipped cream into the strawberry curd to give it a light, fluffy texture.
The only catch with this type of mousse is that you can’t use too much curd in the whipped cream, or it will start to deflate it and make the dessert a little heavier. To get more strawberry flavor into my desserts, I put a spoonful of the strawberry curd at the base of each dessert glass before topping it with the strawberry whipped cream. The result was a lovely two-tone dessert that was light, creamy and bursting with fresh strawberry flavor.
When I saw Wilton’s Tasty Fill Heart Cake Set, I knew that I wanted to try making one of the lovely heart-centered cakes myself. A cake with a heart-shaped center is perfect Valentine’s Day. After I picked up the cake pan set, all I needed to do was decide what flavor cake I wanted to make. I decided to work backwards and, knowing that I wanted a pink heart at the center of the cake, I ended up opting for a very dark-colored chocolate cake for the cake itself.
The cake pans come in a pair and you get the heart center when the two cakes are stacked on top of each other. This cake recipe fits the pans perfectly, and it rose up just to the top of them, easily filling the cavities built-in to the pans which produce the heart shape. This is a recipe that I would ordinarily use to make two thick 8-inch cake layers. There is a whole cup of cocoa powder in the cake, so it has a really delicious chocolate flavor to it. It is very moist and tender, but is not too dense and is very easy to handle the cake (it isn’t too delicate or likely to crumble as you move the pieces around). There is coffee in the cake to emphasize some of the cocoa notes, but there is no coffee flavor to the finished cake – just a lot of chocolate.
While I knew from the start that I wanted a pink filling, the hardest part of making this cake was figuring out what that filling should be. Ice cream is a good option, but not great in the wintertime, and many of the suggestions that came with the pan included Cool Whip – which I didn’t want to use. I ended up making a very light raspberry mousse, held together with a little bit of plain gelatin to give it stability. It has a great raspberry flavor, a beautiful color (black raspberries will give you a more purple color, regular will be lighter pink; I used a mixture of both) and a very light, fluffy texture to it. I used a pasteurized egg white, beaten to soft peaks, to give this mousse a lot of volume. You can actually use meringue powder as a good substitution in this case if you can’t get pasteurized eggs, so I’ve made notes about the substitution below.
The finishing touch for this cake is the cream cheese frosting on top. The creamy frosting has a nice sweetness to it that goes well with the chocolate cake. It also blends nicely with the bright raspberry flavor of the mousse. You can use other berries for the filling – strawberries, blackberries, etc. – and you can use either fresh berries or frozen, defrosted berries.
This cake should be stored in the fridge to keep the mousse filling firm. That said, the cake must be stored in an airtight container to prevent the cake from becoming dry in the fridge.
This cake didn’t disappoint me in any way. It was delicious, with a great cake, a great combination of flavors and a finished product that looked just like the cake does on the box! This is definitely a great treat for Valentine’s Day, and I like the pan enough that I’m going to have to look for other excuses to have a cake with a heart-shaped center around, too.
Chocolate mousse is a rich chocolate dessert that is made with lots of chocolate and lightened with either egg whites, whipped cream or a combination of the two. A classic chocolate mousse, in my book, is a chocolate mousse that doesn’t use any whipped cream. It gets its lightness and structure from beaten egg whites. Sometimes it seems that these days, mousses are more likely to be made with whipped cream for lightness instead of egg whites. I assume that this change came about over concern for eating uncooked eggs, but after having had many too-foamy mousses that were more whipped cream than chocolate, I will tell you that there is definitely something to be said for the classic recipe made with little more than chocolate and eggs.
This classic mousse tastes more like chocolate pudding, with a very deep chocolate flavor and an incredibly smooth, rich texture. It is not nearing fudge in its density, but it is much more dense than a whipped cream-based dessert. Portions are smaller and more satisfying and it seems like you get a lot more chocolate flavor in each bite.
The mousse is quite easy to make. Egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks and folded into a mixture of melted chocolate and egg yolks that has been blended over a double boiler. I add in some vanilla for flavoring. It takes just a few minutes to prepare before going into the fridge to set up. If the uncooked eggs are a concern, look for pasteurized eggs in a nearby market and use those in this recipe. For a chocolate fan, it is definitely worth trying over a whipped cream-filled recipe just for the richness of the mousse. You can always serve it with a little bit of whipped cream, if you like.
Mousses are wonderful summertime desserts. They are light, require no (or minimal) cooking and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to be served – and it is certainly hard to resist a cool dessert on a hot night. Chocolate mousse has to be one of the most popular mousses out there, and a rich, velvety chocolate mousse is the ideal dessert if you’re in the mood for something that isn’t heavy and won’t weigh you down after a meal, but is still ultra indulgent. Of course, in the face of how light chocolate mousse feels, we all know that they are generally chock full of melted chocolate and whipped cream, so the lightness of a mousse is definitely not in fat and calories.
Fortunately, there are ways to have a deliciously chocolaty mousse without all the unhealthy extras. This light chocolate mousse is just such a dessert and that makes it a much better option than a more traditional mousse for a summertime dessert in my book. Its light texture comes from meringue, rather than from whipped cream, and it is stabilized with gelatin. The gelatin is really easy to work with and this recipe is a great one to start with if your only previous gelatin experience is making boxed Jello (it goes without saying that the experienced gelatin handlers should not have a problem, either).
The mousse has a light, almost milk-chocolaty color, but is not too sweet and tastes more like cocoa than anything else. The flavor is not intense, but it comes through very well and would be an amazing backdrop for fresh summer berries. Once you’ve worked with the recipe, you might even want to play around by adding a few drops of mint or a splash of a favorite liqueur to the mixture before refrigerating it. I boosted the flavor in the finished dish by grating some dark chocolate over the top, using a zester to create a fine dusting. I also garnished mine with a few larger pieces of dark chocolate, although a sprig of mint or a few cookies would be a lovely accompaniment, as well.