Arriving at a party three hours late (two-thirds of which was semi-intentional, one third of which was a surprise – though given the entire trip was relatively unplanned, why it was a surprise, or upon what the putative ETA was based, was unclear), the main hurdle had been locating the bus terminal. In a mixed transit hub, transformed into a maze by virtue of add-on’s and the white canvas-tented construction-impeded walkways, we tried following the path indicated by two dimensional and directionally ambiguous arrows (it always takes me a bit of a figurative leap to understand that an up arrow means forwards). Eventually we arrived at the apparent endpoint– a singular, lonely arrow pointing directly into a construction site.
Wandering back to look for help, we were informed that there must be a way and to try again. Surely people still took the buses after all. We located a second set of arrows – this time passing up a twisting ramp – convolutedly promising until we returned to the same, stark arrow.
Another harried informational assistant, in between patiently pressing the buttons on the ticket machines on either side of him, seemed a bit more sympathetic, departing from his post to show us the way. Cast in the grow of his confidence, this time the familiar walk seemed somehow different. Go forth! his index finger declared, pointing up a flight of stairs.
Hello again, the construction-destined arrow greeted us.
Ready to go pester the helpful information assistant to leave his post for a bit longer, my roommate – having finally shaken her gaze from the arrow that I was so firmly fixed on – started. “There it is,” she exclaimed – and there it was. Just a bit beyond the construction site was the bus terminal in full view. It seemed the arrow wasn’t lying at all – just with the expectations that you take time to look around, or perhaps assuming that you can travel as the crow flies.
There is always this initial hill to get over when trying something new. The last couple times making a mousse cake, I spent so much time worrying over the practicalities of how to do it and trying to follow the arrows pieced together from disparate sources.
But the next time around it gets easier, and on the third time, even if you don’t quite remember the path, you start to get to an idea of generally where to look to find the bus. And then maybe you don’t arrive quite so late after all.
As always, this mousse cake was another learning experience – but each time it does get a bit easier. It it also my favourite thus far with the best balance of flavours. There is a slightly salty and savoury pistachio mousse and a creamy white peach mousse balanced with the bright fresh strawberry jelly component.
Note: I made some major changes and improvements to this recipe! I got rid of the pistachio cremeux dome in favour of a thicker fresh strawberry jelly layer, modified some of the quantities, upgraded the base to a pistachio biscuit, improved the glazing and overall presentation of the cake.
white peach, strawberry & pistachio mousse cake
Makes enough for four 6cm mousse cakes with a wee bit extra peach mousse – or you can make three 6m and one 7cm mousse cakes as I seem to have done.
- 4x 5cm rings
- 4x 6cm rings
- pistachio mousse and strawberry jelly inserts – frozen
- pistachio white chocolate cremeux domes – frozen
- white peach mousse – just freshly made
- mirror glaze
- whole wheat pate sucree base
Prepare four 6-cm rings by wrapping the bottom of each ring with a taut layer of plastic wrap, wrapping the excess around the sides. Place the rings in a loaf tin or other pan to easily store in the freezer.
To unmold the inserts, peel off the plastic wrap on the bottom. Wrap a towel soaked in hot water around the ring enclosing the frozen insert. Push out the insert from the ring. Place on a prechilled plate to prevent the insert from thawing. Repeat for the remaining inserts and quickly return them to the freezer until ready to use.
Spoon the freshly made white peach mousse into the bottom of the rings until filled about 1/3 of the way. Use a small offset spatula to draw the mousse up along the sides of thing. Press an insert into the mousse, strawberry side down, until it is nearly flush with the top of the mousse. Cover with more mousse until the ring is filled to the top. Use the side of an offset spatula/back of a knife to smooth the surface so that is level with the ring. Tap a few times to pop any large air bubbles. Repeat with remaining three mousse cakes. Place the mousses in the freezer and freeze completely.
Wrap a towel soaked in hot water around the 6-cm rings enclosing the frozen mousse cakes and push them out of the rings. The bottom (against the plastic wrap) will be the top of the mousse cakes. Return to the freezer until you’re ready to glaze. Bring the mirror glaze to 94C. Set the mousse cakes on a rack over a pan to collect excess glaze. Pour the glaze over each mousse cake slowly until the top is covered and it drips down the sides to cover them.
Use an offset spatula to transfer the mousse cakes onto the pastry bases.
Garnish each with strawberries and chopped pistachios. Let thaw completely in the fridge, then serve.
pistachio biscuit base
Makes extra – roll out and cut the remainder into biscuits.
- 50g soft butter
- 30g finely ground pistachios
- 90g all-purpose flour
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 32g beaten egg
Cream together butter with the almond, flour and salt. Add the egg and mix to form a cohesive dough. Roll out between two sheets of parchment paper to about 0.5cm thick. Chill completely.
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut out four 7cm diameter rounds (1-cm greater in diameter than the mousse cakes). Prick a couple times with a fork and bake for about 15 minutes.
pistachio yoghurt mousse & strawberry jelly insert
pistachio yoghurt mousse
- 50g greek yoghurt
- 15g pistachio butter or pistachio paste
- 9g honey, or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp gelatin bloomed in 2 tsp water
- 35g heavy cream, whipped
- 95g strawberry puree
- 1/2 tsp gelatin bloomed in 2 tsp water
Prepare four 5cm diametre rings by stretching a small piece of plastic taut over the bottom of each ring. Place the rings in a loaf tin to hold them and easily store them in the freezer.
For the pistachio mousse, mix together the yoghurt, pistachio butter and honey. Taste for sweetness. Melt the gelatin in the microwave and whisk into the yoghurt, whisking quickly to prevent the gelatin setting in globs. Fold in the whipped cream.
Distribute amongst the four rings. Tap the loaf tin on the counter even out the surface of the mousse. Freeze until set.
For the strawberry jelly, begin by tasting the strawberry puree and adding sugar to taste as needed. Melt the gelatin in the microwave and stir into the strawberry jelly. Distribute evenly over the four set pistachio yoghurt mousses and freeze until ready to assemble.
white peach mousse
- 150g white peach puree (prepared from about 1 large peach; see recipe body for details)
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar, or more to taste
- 1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin bloomed in 1 1/2 tbsp water
- 150g heavy cream, whipped
Prepare the white peach puree by peeling a bit over 150g of peaches (to account for loss from pureeing) and cutting into chunks. Toss the chopped peach with the lemon juice. Puree and add the sugar, tasting and adding more as needed. Measure out 150g of the puree.
Melt the bloomed gelatin by briefly microwaving it and whisk into the puree. Whip the cream until stiff. Whisk a bit into the puree, then fold in the remainder. Use soon.
Adapted from Chef Iso. Makes around 1 1/2 cups of mirror glaze.
- 9g powdered gelatin bloomed in 45g water
- 150g sugar
- 100g condensed milk
- 75g water
- 125g white chocolate, chopped
Bloom gelatin. Boil the sugar, condensed milk and 75g water together, then take off the heat and stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps, then pour over the white chocolate, allowing it to sit and melt. Then, puree with a fully-immersed immersion blender until smooth – this will avoid the introduction of bubbles.
Let cool until it reaches 90-94F, at which point it is ready to be poured.
If you have any leftover, transfer the remaining glaze to a plastic bag, squeeze out all the air and seal tightly. Freeze until you next need it – in the future you just need to reheat it to 90-94C.
Update notes: Recipe and photographs updated July 2021.