more attempts at mousse cake entremets. this time a white peach mousse with a multilayered insert – pistachio yoghurt mousse, strawberry jelly and pistachio white chocolate cremeux to balance the cream with tart fruit and salted pistachio!
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, a salted pistachio white chocolate cremeux, and a cream-heavy white peach mousse balanced with the brighter strawberry jelly component.
As for the learning process…
- Cremeux – I decided to make up my own recipe for the pistachio white chocolate cremeux domes, and the end result was delicious, albeit also quite chewy. It had a certain appeal to it, but not exactly what I had in mind … next time I will consult a recipe for guidance.
- Mousse cake size/proportions – I knew I wouldn’t have enough white peach mousse for a 7-cm mousse cake, but I was hoping I would somehow anyways. As I did not, I had to change my plans partway through the process, switching from a 7-cm to a 6-cm mousse cake. I had held onto the idea of making a 7-cm mousse due to the viscosity of the mousse – I was worried how it would settle around the 5-cm insert in a 6-cm ring. However it seemed to work – I also ran a skewer around the perimeter to try to encourage the release of any trapped air and promote working of the mousse down the sides. As I changed plans at the last moment, I had pastry bases that were too large – but I’ve made notes in the recipe to ensure that the size is right!
- Mirror glaze – colouring – I was using left over mirror glaze from my last cake, and I was a bit curious about whether I could colour the mirror glaze with matcha for some green to hint at the pistachio…and I was also wondering about trying a sort of marble effect that I’ve seen around. So, to summarize: I tried…I think had I took my time to incorporate the matcha properly and properly swirl it with the mirror glaze, it might of worked, but instead I had little bits of matcha in places – and in general mirror glaze seems to put me in a state of frenzied anxiety so I did not have the headspace to think beyond pour! the glaze! everywhere! no wait! not there! I think once I get a bit more comfortable with glazing I’ll give it another go…
- Mirror glaze- quantities – I also did not have enough mirror glaze to cover the cakes – I was hoping to only use half of my leftover glaze to reserve the remainder for something else. In the end I tried recycling and heating some of the mirror glaze to cover a partially glazed cake, but subsequent layers of glaze over a partial layer of glaze does not equal a smooth glaze. That being said, the partial mirror glaze look with all the drips isn’t too bad actually – a bit like the drip layer cake cake trend. In fact, I might do it on purpose one day if I had contrasting colour of glaze and underlying mousse!
- Finishing touches – I realized why people like to assemble mousse cakes upside down – a nice smooth top surface! The top surface of the mousse cake was not very smooth, so after freezing I tried to smooth things out a bit better with a hot offset spatula. I was pretty happy with how the mousse cakes looked, so it seemed fine…but it was just another step I wouldn’t mind avoiding in the future. I expect this would also work best if the cakes are assembled on a base of acetate – I’ve been using parchment, which wrinkles with moisture and leave imprints in the mousse.
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.
pistachio mousse and strawberry jelly inserts – frozen
pistachio white chocolate cremeux domes – frozen
white peach mousse – just freshly made
mirror glaze – see here; I estimate about 1 cup is required to cover all the cakes, but always err on more (as I learned!)
whole wheat pate sucree base
petals from the balcony begonia plant
Prepare four 6-cm rings. Either set them on a slip of parchment paper in a loaf pan that can be placed in the freezer, or an alternative can be to wrap the bottom of each ring with a taut layer of plastic wrap, wrapping the excess around the sides if preferred – both are a bit wrinkly.
Wrap a towel soaked in hot water around the 5-cm rings enclosing the frozen insert. Push out the inserts from the rings and centre it in the middle of the 6-cm rings (advantage of placing over parchment is you can put the insert down first, then centre the ring around it – a tad bit easier). Top each frozen insert with a frozen cremeux dome.
Spoon the freshly made white peach mousse around the insert and over top until the molds are filled. I ran a skewer around the perimeter between the insert and the ring to try to make sure there was no air caught there. Lay plastic wrap or parchment overtop to help make the top even and flat. Freeze completely.
Wrap a towel soaked in hot water around the 7-cm rings enclosing the frozen mousse cakes and push them out of the rings. 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 pistachios cut into quarters, a halved strawberry and a few begonia petals. Let thaw completely in the fridge, then serve.
whole wheat pate sucree base
Adapted from here. Due to shrinkage of the pastry, bases should be cut out 1-cm wider than the mousse cake. As I thought I was making a 7-cm mousse cake, I cut 8-cm rounds, but for a 6-cm mousse cake, please cut 7-cm rounds. Enough for 4 thin rounds of pastry.
25g soft butter
10g ground almond
50g whole wheat flour
17g 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 2mm in thickness. Chill completely.
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut out four rounds that are 1-cm greater in diameter than the mousse cakes (7-cm) and bake in the rings for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
pistachio white chocolate cremeux
Sometimes looking at recipes makes me too anxious! So I made up my own and figured that so long as there was enough gelatin, it would be fine. Well, I added too much gelatin – this component is a bit chewy. I don’t mind it really, but it’s not exactly very elegant and would be better with less chew… Makes 8 small domes – so you could halve the recipe.
20g white chocolate
30g heavy cream
10g pistachio butter or paste
2 drops almond extract
3/8 tsp gelatin bloomed in 1 tsp water – try 1/4 tsp instead
Melt together the white chocolate and cream. Whisk in the pistachio paste, salt and almond extract. Melt the gelatin and stir in. Distribute amongst a small dome mold.
pistachio yoghurt mousse & strawberry jelly insert
I would have preferred to make a fresh strawberry jelly – I think the flavour is brighter and stronger when they’re fresh, but given the state of the strawberries I had, it didn’t seem very healthful to eat them fresh. If using fresh strawberries, one might also end up with closer to 90g strawberry puree which would have been preferable for a bit of a thicker strawberry layer.
I made another strange choice by cooking the strawberries with several sprigs of fresh thyme and I think in other contexts it could have worked, but here with my already battered, aged and strange tasting strawberries, the thyme only provided an extra layer of must. Yum.
pistachio yoghurt mousse
50g greek yoghurt (~4 tbsp)
15g pistachio butter or paste
9g honey, or more to taste
1/2 tsp gelatin bloomed in 1 tsp water (based on my 1 tbsp = 7g, this should be a bit over 1g, but my scale read 2g)
30g heavy cream, whipped
100g strawberries, cut into small pieces
3/8 tsp gelatin bloomed in 1 tsp water
Have four 5cm rings prepared. I placed them on a slip of parchment paper in a loaf pan that I could fit into 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 – I used a spoon, but it was a bit messy. As the mousse is quite thick even when not set, it may be best to transfer to a piping bag to make sure the distribute is more even. Chill until set.
For the strawberry jelly, combine the strawberries and a splash of water in a small saucepan and cook until strawberries are saucy and cooked through. Puree with an immersion blender. I had 60g of strawberry puree. If you like, you can sweeten – I left mine unsweetened.
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
100g white peach puree
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar or more to taste
1 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin bloomed in 1 tbsp water
100g heavy cream, whipped
Toss the white peaches with the lemon juice before pureeing – I didn’t realise until too late and the process had already started, but try to catch it a bit earlier! Puree and add 1 tsp sugar or more to taste.
Melt the gelatin and whisk into the puree. Whip the cream until stiff. Whisk a bit into the puree, then fold in the remainder. Use soon.