Tag Archives: Mousses

The Olympics are over… now what? Banana mousse, that’s what.

So.  The Olympics are over and normal life has resumed.  Does anybody else feel like there’s a gaping hole in the shape of fiver inter-linked rings in their lives now?  At least it’s only for a couple of weeks until the Paralympics start (hurry up already!), but in the mean time, comfort food is clearly the order of the day.  What’s that?  The point of the games was to inspire everybody to go be sporty and all?  Well that’s all good, but people still have to eat, so comfort food wins out for today.  I’ve got the perfect comfort dessert for you – not only is it delicious, but it’s also exceptionally easy and quick to prepare…  Fast food with no McDonald’s in sight.

After last month’s excuse for a nosy snoop around other bloggers’ bookshelves, we’re going “back to the very beginning” for this month’s Random Recipes, meaning back to the original rules of randomly picking a book, then randomly picking a recipe from said book.  Simple.  I used the random number button on my calculator as usual, which directed me to book number five, which turned out to be Cuisine Express, a convenient choice since the recipes are all fairly quick to prepare, though a fair few of the shortcut ingredients aren’t very easy to find outside of France (and are usually expensive if you do), which isn’t ideal.  I needn’t have worried though, since the random number button directed me to page 146, giving me a choice of several different quick fruit mousse recipes.

As delicious and tempting as the raspberry or peach mousses sounded, it’s very much not raspberry nor peach season here, so I chose the banana express mousse.  It definitely lives up to its name as it only takes ten minutes to prepare, although it does require at least two hours of chilling in the fridge before serving.  But actually that’s great because it’s a dessert that can be prepared in advance or even the night before, which is always helpful.  The mousse itself is lovely and creamy and smooth, and the banana flavour comes through strongly, which is great.  I added some honey on a whim since I’ve got a bit of a sore throat so I’m adding honey to things left, right and centre at the moment and that was a delicious little added extra, as were the banana slices and toasted walnuts.  They’re all optional extras, but they can take this from an everyday dessert to one presentable enough to finish up a dinner party without much extra effort (always a bonus!).  Serving it in martini glasses or champagne coupes also automatically makes it look fancier.  Here’s to speedy comfort food!

Banana express mousse

Serves 4
Adapted from Cuisine Express

Although very quick to prepare, don’t forget to plan for the 2h of refrigeration.  The mousse can be refrigerated for longer, even overnight if necessary – the lemon juice keeps the banana from going all brown.  This can work as a fancy dessert served in martini glasses, champagne coupes or other fancy glassware, or an everyday dessert served in little ramekins or bowls.  The decorations on top are totally optional, but do add a little bit of pizzazz to the presentation.  Whilst brown sugar would go really well with the bananas, I decided to stick with white sugar as I’m not sure that using brown would result in the most presentable of colours.

Ingredients

5 bananas (includes 1 to serve which is optional)
1 lemon
40g caster sugar
200ml whipping cream
20g icing sugar
6 walnut halves (optional)
Honey, to serve (optional)

Directions

1.  Peel four of the bananas (keep the fifth one unpeeled until needed) and pop them in a blender along with the juice of the lemon and the caster sugar.  Whizz together until totally smooth.

2.  In a large bowl, whip the cream.  As it begins to firm up, add the icing sugar and continue whisking until firm.  Gently add the banana mixture to the whipped cream and carefully fold together.  Split equally between four martini glasses/champagne coupes/ramekins/bowls.  Refrigerate for at least 2h.

3.  Whilst the mousse is chilling, roughly chop the walnuts and toast in a frying pan over a low heat until fragrant.  Allow to cool and set aside until needed.

4.  To serve, peel and slice the last banana, lay three slices of banana in the middle of each individual mousse, and top with the toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Fête des Mères: Chocolate & hazelnut mousse in chocolate cups

I’ve never understood why practically every country has a different date for Mother’s Day, yet Father’s Day is the same pretty much world-wide.  It makes no sense.  And it’s a particular pain if, like me, you happen to celebrate Mother’s Day of a country different to the one in which you live.  In my case, since my wonderful mum is French, we always celebrate French Mother’s Day which happens to be today, but I live in the UK where Mother’s Day was way back in April.  By the end of May there are obviously no Mother’s Day cards or gifts anywhere, which means that I have to be super-organised (not one of my greatest skills) and buy a card and gift two months in advance.  The challenge is then remembering where I’ve put them two months later.  Not always as easy as it sounds, but thankfully this year I managed.

I actually shouldn’t really be complaining too much, because I still have to celebrate British Mother’s Day for my Scottish grandmother.  Living in the UK, this is much easier than trying to keep track of both French and British Mother’s Days whilst living in Norway, which, you’ve guessed it, has a completely different Mother’s Day.  Oh and on top of that, none of the available Mother’s Day cards are in English.  Nightmare.  Though easily solved by a blank card with flowers on the cover…!

As part of her Fête des Mères, not only did my mum get a card in a language that we actually speak fluently, but I asked her up to St Andrews for lunch.  I love cooking for my mum – she loves pretty much everything, appreciates good food, and there’s the added bonus of knowing that even if I screw up whatever I’m attempting, she’ll still love me.  In my usual bizarre logic, when I was planning the menu, I started with dessert.  My problem was that I had too many options, too many dishes I wanted to try out.  My mum loves chocolate, so I settled on a recipe for chocolate and hazelnut mousse in chocolate cups that I happened across a few months ago and that I’ve been wanting to try out ever since.  (Yes, I did the one thing you should never do when inviting people: serve a dish you’ve not previously tested.  I do this far too often.  One day it will go horribly wrong, but thankfully that was not the case today.)  My mum loves mousse, and I know she never really makes it for herself, so it was a pretty obvious choice.

The mousse was a fabulous idea – my mum absolutely loved it!  She loved it so much that I sent her home with a small jar of extra mousse.  Oh and all my textbooks and folders from the last four years of university.  I’m a great daughter like that (don’t worry, she knew about the books beforehand – the surprises that I spring on people tend to be more of the culinary variety).  But back to the mousse.  Ya, it was yummy.  I think that’s pretty much all there is to say.  Except that it took far longer than I was expecting, mostly because contrary to the original instructions, the mousse did have to spend a little stint in the fridge.  But that’s totally fine because I have loads of time on my hands at the moment.

All that remains for me to say before sharing the recipe is: Bonne Fête des Mères, Maman – je t’aime!

Chocolate & hazelnut mousse in chocolate cups

Makes about 16 mini mousses
Recipe from Dulce Delight

The chocolate cups can be prepared the evening before and stored in the fridge until ready to be used.  However, if you really don’t have time to make them, you can also just pipe the mousse into mini paper liners (but it’s less fun!).  The original recipe includes a video demonstration, so do head over if you’d like to see the progression of the recipe visually.  I used silicone mini muffin moulds, because I had them, but the original recipe uses paper liners and that seems to have worked perfectly fine as well!

Ingredients

For the cups:
170g dark chocolate (around 70%)

For the mousse:
130g dark chocolate (around 70%)
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp icing sugar
240g double cream
20g ground toasted hazelnuts
3-4 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
Chopped hazelnuts or flaked white chocolate, to decorate (optional)

Directions

For the cups:
1.  Melt the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Stir with a spoon towards the end to make sure the chocolate has melted smoothly.

2.  Set out 16 mini muffin/petit four paper liners or silicon moulds on a baking tray or plate (something that is freezer-proof).  Spoon about 1 tsp of melted chocolate into one liner and paint the chocolate up the inner sides of the liner using a paint brush (a clean one, obviously).  Make the coating as even as possible.  Repeat for each liner/mould, and then place the tray or plate in the freezer for at least 30 mins.

3.  Once the first chocolate coat has set, re-melt the remaining chocolate if necessary, and re-coat the inner sides of each liner, looking out for any translucent areas that indicate that the chocolate coating is too thin.  Return to the freezer for a further 30 mins at least.

4.  Once the second coat has set, remove one cup from the freezer and carefully remove the silicone mould or paper mould by peeling away from the top edge.  Set the chocolate cup on a large plate.  Repeat for each chocolate cup (only remove them from the freezer one-by-one so that they remain as cool and hard as possible – you don’t want them to start softening or melting!), and once all have been removed, store the chocolate cups in the fridge until required.

For the mousse:
5.  Melt the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

6.  In a large heat-proof bowl, briefly whisk the egg yolks, icing sugar and 1 ½ tbsp water.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly by hand for 6 mins as the mixture cooks and thickens.  After 6 mins, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk for a further 3 mins using an electric whisk.

7.  Fold the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture and stir until thickened.  Add the ground hazelnuts and hazelnut liqueur and mix with a spatula until thickened.

8.  In a clean bowl, whisk the double cream to stiff peaks.  Gently fold one third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.  Once fully incorporated, carefully fold in half the remaining whipped cream, and again, once fully incorporated, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.  If the mousse is not suitably set, place in the fridge for about 1 hour.

9.  Remove the chocolate cups from the fridge.  Fill a piping bag with the mousse and pipe into the chocolate cups with a flourish to make them look pretty.  To decorate, sprinkle with some chopped hazelnuts or flaked white chocolate (optional).  Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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