Thursday, April 12, 2012

Neapolitan Mousse

Last weekend was Easter long weekend here in Canada and my parents decided to host a dinner party on Saturday night. This year, the beginning of Passover happened to coincide with Easter and we celebrated the first night with a Seder at my aunt and uncle's house. I contributed to the meal by making red wine poached pears with cranberry sauce. The Seder, termed Express Seder 2012 by my brother, went by smoothly and he did a great job leading the concise yet trilingual Seder in English, Russian, and Hebrew.

Obviously the dinner party being hosted by my parents the next day gave me an excuse to make something and after my success with the triple chocolate mousse cake from my birthday I decided to make another mousse dessert. I felt it was particularly appropriate for the occasion because mousse is Passover-friendly.

I wanted to use the dark and white chocolate mousse components from the cake because they were so delicious and in order to complete my Neapolitan creation I searched for a strawberry mousse recipe. I thought it would be fun to serve the mousse in little shot glasses and individual sized portions, so I whipped up each mousse and piped it into the glasses, refrigerating for about 30 minutes between layers to allow them to set a little.

Even though I followed the same recipe, somehow the dark chocolate mousse layer did not turn out as smooth and creamy as it had in the cake. Also, the strawberry flavor was more subtle and was overpowered by the dark chocolate; it could only be tasted if a bite excluding the last layer was taken.

Apart from the little Neapolitan Mousses, my mom also made a pavlova style cake that was filled with whipped cream and raspberries and then decorated with meringues. It looked beautiful and tasted great too! My mom was quite proud of her creation and it was definitely a big hit at the party.

In the end, my mom and I concluded that although a fun idea, the Neapolitan Mousses were definitely a lot of work and the same thing could be achieved in one large cake rather than piping individual desserts. The presentation was nice of course but the effort was a lot more than people realized. I was a little disappointed with how the bottom layer turned out, considering that I had made the exact same mousse so well just two weeks prior, but both the white chocolate and strawberry mousses were silky smooth and delicious. Many people came up to me afterward and complemented me on the dessert.

Strawberry Mousse
Note: I made the mousse and split it between 20 shot glasses. If making the mousse to eat on its own it would probably make 4-6 portions, depending on the vessel used.
  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped and pureed
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  1. In a small bowl combine the water and gelatin and set aside to bloom.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the pureed strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, add the water-gelatin mixture and continue to heat until all of the gelatin has dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. 
  4. Strain the strawberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, beat the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 30-60 seconds.
  6. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cooled strawberry mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. 
  7. Carefully spoon the mousse into cups or bowls and chill for at least four hours to allow the mousse to set.
Note: If making the layered Neapolitan Mousse, use the two mousse recipes from the triple chocolate mousse cake for the dark chocolate and white chocolate layers. To assemble, use a piping bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off to carefully pipe each layer into the glasses. Allow for at least 30 minutes of chilling in the refrigerator between layers so that the mousse may partially set. 

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