I was sitting in the kitchen, contemplating the world (as usual) and of course, attempting to make une décision très importante: what to have for dessert. Crise existentielle de la journée, as one might say. Alone, with a kitchen just begging to be used, and a sibling returning soon home from her long day over at the Eric Carle Museum…I felt the pressure. What to do, what to do.
Hm. I didn’t have any chocolate chips.
Nor enough oatmeal to make oatmeal scotchies.
Not in the mood for pie.
I could make brownies. But I don’t want those either.
Then I started thinking…what about mousse ? It was a beautiful day, mousse doesn’t sound hard, and it’s definitely soemthing new. With a bit of luck, sibling called, saying she would happily pick up some ingredients at a local market before coming home. With her purchasing whipping cream and some native strawberries (for ’tis the season, so they say), I set about crafting some mousse.
I didn’t want chocolate mousse – too rich and I didn’t have the right chocolate for it. I thought abotu what goes with cream and ended up with…frangelico ! Frangelico is a lovely hazelnut liqueur that is best served (in my humble opinion) with cold cream. Best friends with the exotic Kahlua and the reliable Bailey’s, Frangelico is another one of those dessert-type liqueurs that comes in an immediately identifiable bottle and possessing an unforgettable flavor. It’s refreshing and delicious and just sounded fabulous with strawberries and a little chocolate garnish. When I googled my concept, however, nothing came up.
I’ve never made mousse and apparently, the world hasn’t made frangelico mousse – all I located were chocolate-based recettes. As a result, I made up my dessert and lucky for me, it turned out splendidly. Light and creamy from both egg whites and whipped cream, the mousse was a great summer treat and the strawberries, being native, tiny, and adorable (I know a souris who would have loved them) added an excellent tartness to the dish. I served mine in chocolate cups, but you definitely don’t need to do that – the mousse is delicious as a solo act.
NOTE: MOUSSE REQUIRES THE USE OF RAW EGGS. PLEASE USE THE FRESHEST EGGS AVAILABLE TO MAKE THIS DESSERT IN ORDER TO AVOID GETTING SICK. If you buy pasteurized eggs, which apparently exist, make sure the whites are whippable, as some pasteurized eggs lose the ability to whip due to protein denaturation.
For the mousse :
3 FRESH eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp (one for whipping cream, one for egg whites)
3-4 tbsp Frangelico (I did it by taste but I would guess it was about this much)
Start by separating the eggs. Put the yolks in a large bowl and set the whites aside for the time being. Grab a whisk and roll up your sleeves – mousse requires some serious mixing skills. Add the 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and vanilla to the yolks. Whisk until they thicken and lighten in color (this step is also known as ribboning the eggs – it makes sure the sugar is well distributed throughout the yolks). Add the frangelico, stir, and taste. The yolk won’t hurt you – be bold and taste it ! You should be able to taste a burst of hazelnut and a tiny bite of alcohol, but not much. If you want more, be my guest and get those yolks a little silly !
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and beat again to incorporate, staying at the soft peaks stage. Set aside.
In YET ANOTHER bowl, whip the cream until thick and looks like a swirly mountain range. I used the trusty Sunbeam beater to do this because I didn’t want to whisk by hand and I’d already used BOTH electric mixing bowls. Kitchen drama. Add the 1 tbsp sugar, mix again to incorporate, and grab a spatula.
This next bit is a little delicate. Start by adding the whipped cream to the yolk mixture. Using a spatula, fold the cream in carefully – we are trying to increase the volume of the combination. Don’t over mix – it’s okay if it’s not all incorporated because…
…we are going to fold AGAIN ! Once all the whipped cream has been added, spoon in the egg whites and continue folding. When complete, the entire concoction should be very airy, large, and a pale yellow color. Cover your container and let chill until set – probably a good 4 hours.
Naturally, we weren’t that patient and ate ours before it had entirely chilled and the sky did not open up nor did the earth quake, so if you are like my sibling and I (two antsy filles with a stubborn sweet tooth), go ahead and indulge early.
Serve in chocolate cups with chopped strawberries OR on it’s own in a little ramekin OR with a vanilla wafer OR eat it straight out of the bowl. Bon appétit ! 🙂