Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fruity Mousse(s)

Fresh Strawberry Mousse
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
Mousse, which is French for "foam," is usually a light, airy dessert with whipped cream and/or egg whites, often using gelatin to stabilize (see various web definitions). This past month, both strawberries and rhubarb have been available in the sunny state of South Carolina. I was tired of desserts that masked the vivid brightness of these fresh fruits, and thought I would try making mousse to see if that would allow the flavor of the fruit to come through.

Originally uploaded by sh1mm3r.
At the end of April we drove up to Strawberry Hill USA, a local farm growing strawberries and peaches. We bought a bucket of the largest, juiciest, sweetest strawberries I have ever had, and that is including the 20 years I lived right down the mountain from the Oregon strawberry fields that I would pick in for jam every summer with my Mom and sisters. I knew I didn't have long before they started to go bad, so I used the last half for the strawberry mousse.

Earlier in April I had gone through a bunch of recipes from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest and remembered a fresh strawberry mousse recipe that I had wanted to try. Since the cookbook is vegetarian, it relies on cornstarch as a thickener rather than gelatin. Unfortunately this does cause some issues with texture - instead of the light, foamy, airy feel I was hoping for, it is a bit cloying on the tongue. The heaviness also masks the freshness of the strawberries, and I think a bowl of strawberries may have been preferable to the mousse!

Rhubarb Ginger Mousse
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
A few weeks later I ran into a recipe for rhubarb mousse on Tartlette's baking blog. She is one of my favorite bakers and I always marvel at how she brings elements together into one beautiful, perfect dessert. She used a rhubarb mousse in a lemon rhubarb marscapone mousse cake (follow the link for pictures and recipe), and my main goal was to use my second batch of rhubarb before it went bad waiting for me to get inspired. Rhubarb is tricky - a lot of people have not ever tried it, some claim to hate it, and I personally had not tasted it at all until last year. I didn't want it to be just rhubarb, and added some white ginger simple syrup that I found at a tea shop in the mall. I purposely allowed the rhubarb to stay a little chunky for some texture.

As opposed to the fresh strawberry mousse, this rhubarb ginger mousse was light, airy, foamy, and delicately flavored. The ginger added just a little punch to counteract the tartness of the rhubarb, which of course was also balanced by the light and sweet of the mousse. If I were to make strawberry mousse again, I would start with this basic mousse recipe.

Categories: Cream, Ginger, Mousse, Rhubarb, Strawberry

1 comment:

Katie said...

I've never had rhubarb before. It looks like pink celery to me! I've heard it can be bitter?

BTW, I've tagged you for a 6 Word Memoir, you can check it out at my blog or here: