Gooey desserts were a specialty of the sixties. I know, I was there:) That's about the same time mousses hit the scene. A hostess was sure to make an impression on her guests if she offered a mousse, whether it be savory, sweet or jellied, in her dining repertoire. If a guest politely requested the recipe, all the better.
By definition, mousse is a French word which literally translates to "foam" or "froth." In French, mousse means moss and is called such because of its spongy consistency. In culinary language, mousse is a rich, airy, spongy preparation which can be either savory, or sweet, hot or cold. In its most basic form, a mousse only requires three key ingredients; the base, the binder and the aerator to elevate it to its whipped texture. Eggs combined with cream is a popular combination of ingredients in mousse recipes, whether you are preparing a salmon mousse recipe or a sweet one, and gelatin is often used to bind the mousse, although eggs can do that job without the addition of gelatin. Beaten egg whites give hot mousses their lightness. Fish such as salmon is frequently used in savory mousse recipes, but meat cheese, or even vegetables can be used. These are often cooked in a bain-marie or water bath, to discourage the mousse from cracking or curdling. Savory mousse recipes are often served with some kind of sauce to bring out the mousse flavor. Similar to pâtés or terrines, mousse is usually served on a platter or in individual portions to make an attractive display. Sweet mousse can range from thick and creamy to light and fluffy depending on how it is prepared. They are perfect for either a formal or informal presentation. And, since they usually need to sit for a couple of hours or over night, they are a wonderful make ahead recipe.
Mousse may not be the dish for anyone with concerns about using raw eggs. There are a few options:
1. Use liquid pasteurized egg whites
2. Reconstitute powdered egg whites
3. Use meringue powder
4. Buy (hard-to-find) pasteurized eggs or TEXT make your own. (surprisingly easy:)
5. Prepare a safe meringue where the egg whites are cooked to 160 degrees before being beaten until stiff and cool. Here's the recipe courtesy of Ochef
The New Safe Meringue From Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, by Alice Medrich.
Safe Meringue can be used place of ordinary meringue in old recipes. These include uncooked desserts such as mousse, Bavarian cream, and ice cream, as well as soft meringues for pie topping and Baked Alaska where a short baking or browning period may not be enough to heat the meringue thoroughly.
2 Tbsp water 1/8 tsp cream of tartar 2 egg whites 4 Tbsp sugar
Bring 1 inch of water to a gentle simmer in a large skillet. Combine the 2 tsp water with the cream of tartar in a 4- to 6-cup stainless steel bowl. Add the egg whites and sugar and whisk together briskly to combine ingredients thoroughly and break up the egg white clots (which have a tendency to scramble first.) Place an instant-read thermometer near the stove in a mug of very hot tap water.
Set bowl of egg whites in skillet. Stir mixture briskly and constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and bottom often to avoid scrambling the whites. After 1 minute, remove bowl from skillet. Quickly insert thermometer, tilting bowl to cover stem by at least 2 inches. If less than 160°F (70°C), rinse thermometer in skillet water and return it to mug. Replace bowl in skillet. Stir as before until temperature reaches 160°F when bowl is removed. Beat on high speed until cool and stiff.
Note:There are actually lots of recipes for mousse out there that use both raw whites and raw yolks. Traditionally —a hundred-plus years ago — the yolks were ribboned with a hot sugar syrup because the sugar was too coarse to use without melting it. The use of the syrup has staged a come-back in recent years as it can bring the yolks to a temperature where potentially harmful bacteria are destroyed.
Elizabeth David's chocolate mousse is one of my personal favorites where as others may prefer Julia's Child's which to me seems to be a bit more ingredient heavy. I've left a link to her recipe and others below.
Since April is National Pecan Month and today is Chocolate Mousse Day, I offer this recipe from The Taste of Home Cooking School 50th Anniversary Cookbook for your enjoyment.
|This tempting dessert stars a sugary pecan layer topped with a rich and airy chocolate mousse. It's all nestled in a homemade chocolate crumb crust.|
1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
6 tbs. baking cocoa
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
6 tbs. butter, melted
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs. granulated
1 tbs. cornstarch
2 tbs. water
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 tbs. cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine crumbs, cocoa and confectioners' sugar, stir in butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, cool on wire rack.
For Praline Layer:
Melt butter, remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Blend granulated sugar and cornstarch; add with water to brown sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in pecans. Pour into crust; refrigerate (do not cover).
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, whipping cream and vanilla. Beat until stiff; add gelatin mixture and beat just until blended. Carefully spread over praline layer. Chill several hours. Garnish with whipping cream and pecan halves. 6-8 servings
I just couldn't serve up Chocolate Mousse Day without at least one picture for you to drool over. Here it is, Chocolate & Creamy Orange Mousse from Hershey.
|1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter|
1/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk), divided
2 tbs. orange juice plus 2 tsp. freshly grated orange peel OR 2 tbs. orange flavored liqueur, divided
2 cups cold whipping cream
1. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat, add cocoa, then 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened. Pour mixture into medium bowl; cool to room temperature. Beat in 1 tbs. orange juice and 1 tsp. orange peel.
2. Beat whipping cream in large bowl until stiff. Fold half of whipped cream into chocolate mixture. In second medium bowl, stir together remaining sweetened condensed milk, remaining 1 tbs. orange juice and 1 tsp. orange peel. Fold in remaining whipped cream.
3. Spoon equal portions of chocolate mousse mixture into 8 dessert dishes, making a depression in center of each. Spoon creamy orange mixture into center of each. Refrigerate until well chilled. Garnish as desired. Cover; refrigerate leftover dessert.
Tomorrow (April 4th) is Chocolate Milk Powder Day. Here's a "taste" from a previous post I did way back in 2008.
I would also like to share a recipe for "Cold Cocoa" from Van Houten The recipe reads, "In summer always keep a bottle of chocolate syrup handy in the icebox. Stir 1-1/2 tablespoonfuls (or more according to taste) into a glass of cold milk. This makes a delightfully refreshing and nourishing drink. Kids love it and so do many grown-ups."
|2 cups Van Houten Cocoa|
1 qt. water
5 cups sugar
1/4 level tsp. salt, vanilla to flavor
|Mix cocoa and sugar together dry. Put salt in water and bring to boiling point. (the use of a double boiler is recommended.) Gradually work in the cocoa-sugar mixture. Bring back to boiling point (stirring constantly to avoid scorching) and boil 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain, put in covered container and cool rapidly. Add vanilla when cool.|
|War Time Suggestion: For chocolate syrups, sugar may be replaced by half sugar and half corn syrup.|
One more thing before I go. April 6th is the birthday of another classic, The Twinkie!!! Happy Birthday Twinkies!