Oh come on, you know me by now. I can hear you saying, I can’t believe she’s writing about chocolate…again! But yeah, I am. You know it’s my favorite topic. But I’m going to switch it up a little, and this time post a recipe about white chocolate. I think I’ve really overlooked the virtues of white chocolate on this blog, to be quite honest with you. But I’m going to try and make up for it with this recipe for a White Chocolate and Vanilla Mousse.
I think what really prompted me to post this recipe was my most recent trip to Cost Plus World Market, where I found a big hunk of Callebaut white chocolate and whole vanilla beans on sale. This hunk of chocolate was just screaming mousse, and the end result was just heavenly. Is it too dramatic to call mousse heavenly? Well, I’m going to anyway. If you use whole vanilla bean in this recipe you will get these lovely black flecks throughout your mousse, but you can use vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract if that is what you have, and still get fantastic results.
And now the best part…nuts. Nuts are my favorite food accessory, if there is such a thing. I think everything tastes better with nuts in it or on it, especially desserts. The pistachios are the perfect companion to this velvety, delicate mousse; and I love the combination of creamy and crunchy together. I loved it so much in fact, that I ate three of these mousses. Oh, did I really just admit that.
White Chocolate & Vanilla Mousse
From Vanilla by Joanna Farrow
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
- 7 ounces (good quality, Callebaut or Valrhona) white chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon either vanilla bean paste, a whole vanilla bean or pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup plain yogurt
- 4 egg whites
- powdered sugar for dusting
- I purchased a bag of pistachio nut meats (at Trader Joe’s) so I did not have to shell the pistachios. If you cannot purchase them that way, make sure you take off all the brown skins. Then, transfer the nuts to a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. I then transferred the nuts to a strainer for a good shaking to get rid of all the nut dust.
- I then put the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized plastic bowl with 3 tablespoons of the cream and microwaved, first for 20 seconds; stirred, 15 seconds; stirred, 10 seconds, stirred, etc. This method of chocolate melting seems to work best for me. Naturally, you can try placing the bowl over a double boiler, bringing the water to a simmer and then turning the heat off and letting the chocolate melt until smooth.
- Using the whisk attachment on the electric mixer, lightly whip the remaining cream with the vanilla until very lightly peaking, then stir in the yogurt. Transfer mixture to another clean bowl. Clean out your mixer bowl very well and then dry. Beat the egg whites until just peaking.
- Fold the cream mixture into the melted chocolate, then gently fold in the egg whites. Spoon half the mousse mixture into 6 small glass dishes or cups (I got mine at Cost Plus World Market). Then sprinkle a layer of nuts, reserving some nuts to decorate the tops of the mousse. Add the remaining mousse and sprinkle with the reserved nuts. Chill for at least 2 hours and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
Mama’s Tips: When melting white chocolate, be very careful not to overheat it (even for a few seconds) or it will turn into a gloppy mess.
The mini mousse’s will keep chilled in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Just cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed on the surface of the mousse.
Cost Plus World Market has a great selection of mini serving glasses. If you don’t live near one of their retail stores, you can order from them online.
It’s one of those dry, scorching Southern California summer days and I’m headed back to the valley through Malibu Canyon. What was once so green and lush has quickly turned brown and parched now that the rain has stopped, and summer is clearly here. Malibu Canyon is one of those places that’s been seemingly untouched since prehistoric times. It’s just jagged mountains, huge rocks and dried brush, really not much else. As I meander my way through the canyon, out of nowhere appears a strawberry stand. My eye is attracted to a giant hand-painted sign of a large, red strawberry. I figure, if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, the these must be some mighty fine strawberries this guy is selling. I pulled over to the side of the road, dust flying everywhere and approach the stand that seems like an oasis in the middle of a desert. Damn, these are some good looking berries…so I buy five baskets.
When life gives you berries, make mousse!
The Silver Palate Cookbook
2 1/2 pint baskets strawberries, stemmed, washed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
6 tablespoons boiling water
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Cointreau
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
additional strawberries for garnish
1.Combine strawberries, lemon juice and gelatin in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Puree until smooth. Pour in boiling water and process again, briefly. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
2. In bowl of a mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar together until pale yellow and thick. Whisk in Cointreau and beat for another minute. Pour egg mixture into the top part of a double boiler and stir until slightly thickened, and hot to the touch. Cool to room temperature.
3. Combine strawberry and egg mixtures and chill until just beginning to set.
4. Whip cream to soft peaks and fold gently into chilled mousse mixture. You can spoon mixture into individual dessert glasses, or one large bowl. You could pipe into chocolate cups, or spoon over fruit. Chill for at least 4 hours.
Makes 8 to 10 portions