Monday, March 21, 2011

Bramble Mousse


Carrying on the theme of St. Patrick’s Day is this lovely, Irish-based fruit mousse. This recipe is light and fresh, with enough cream in it to make it indulgent. This dessert is perfect anytime of the year you can get any fresh fruit. Traditionally, bramble mousse is based on freshly foraged blackberries from the bramble. Hence the name. This recipe works well for any fruit in season at the time. Whether it is strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb, and even stone fruit such as peaches. Fruit freshly picked gives the best flavor. A mousse is a French word that means lather/foam, incorporating air to make it light. In this recipe, air is incorporated into heavy whipping cream and egg whites to give a light texture. Gelatin sets this mousse, making sure it will not separate to keep its even texture. In this version, I used blackberries for the mousse with a lavender whipped cream for garnish.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound fresh blackberries, cleaned (or other seasonal fruit)
  • ~ ½ cup sugar (to taste)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin, unflavored
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 2 egg whites, whipped

Garnish:
  • 6-8 whole blackberries (or other seasonal fruit)
  • ½ cup heavy cream whipped with powdered sugar and fresh lavender (to taste)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring to simmer the blackberries, the lemon juice, and sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes, while gently mashing with a hand-masher. In a small bowl, bloom the gelatin by sprinkling over the 4 tablespoons cold water; give 10 minutes to dissolve. Pass the hot fruit puree through a sieve/strainer into a large mixing bowl using a wooden or silicone spoon. Make sure to scrap the underside of the strainer where a lot gets hung up. Quickly add the dissolved gelatin to the hot fruit and whisk until all of the gelatin has dissolved, leaving not chunks. Put aside, and allow to cool. Make sure to taste for desired sweetness. Add more sugar in small amounts with whisking until dissolved. Remember to be conservative doing this: as things get colder, we taste things as much sweeter. So hold back a bit on the sugar. You want just enough so it takes the edge off any tartness of the fruit.

In a small/medium bowl, whip the cold heavy cream to medium-stiff peaks. Gently fold, at one-third increments, into the cooled fruit-gelatin mixture.

In a small/medium bowl, using clean beaters, whip the egg whites to a stiff peak. Gently fold, at one-third increments, until uniform. Portion into cups, about 6-8 depending on desired serving size. Cover with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours. Upon serving, garnish each mousse with a small dollop of whipped cream and a whole blackberry.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

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