Cold Mousses, Soufflés And Jellies

 

Light, creamy mousses and sweet soufflés make stunning desserts. Whipped cream, gelatine or Italian meringue, in varying combinations, are required to hold them in shape, but gelatine is vital for a jelly's "wobble".

MAKING A SIMPLE FRUIT MOUSSE

Fruit purées form the base of many mousses. For best flavour, choose strongly flavoured purées such as the apricot shown here; blackcurrants and blackberries are also good. For a lighter mousse, you can fold in 2 stiffly whisked egg whites after the cream.

1. Prepare 15 g gelatine powder in water and let cool to lukewarm. Stir into 450 ml sweetened fruit purée. Let stand at room temperature until the mixture begins to thicken, 15-30 minutes.

2. Lightly whip 300 ml double cream, then beat 2 tbsp into the fruit mixture to relax it. Fold in the remaining cream using a spatula. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

This quick-and-easy mousse relies on the combination of chocolate, butter and egg whites for setting rather than gelatine. For six servings, melt 450 g unsweetened chocolate with 100 g caster sugar and 2 tbsp butter. Cool, then add 6 egg yolks. Whisk 6 egg whites until they just hold their shape, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.

ADDING EGG YOLKS

Take care that the melted chocolate mixture is cool before adding the egg yolks. If it is hot, the yolks may cook and curdle.

FOLDING IN EGG WHITES

Beat 2 tbsp of the whisked egg whites into the mixture to relax it slightly, then carefully fold in the remainder until they are evenly incorporated.

DISSOLVING GELATINE

It is necessary to soak both gelatine powder and leaf gelatine before use in order for them to combine evenly with the mixture they are setting. When heating gelatine, never let it boil or the end result will be stringy.

POWDER

Sprinkle over 4 tbsp cold liquid. Let stand until spongy, 5 minutes. Place bowl over hot water until liquid is clear.

LEAF

Soften leaves in cold water, 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess water. Transfer leaves to hot liquid to dissolve.

MAKING A FRUIT SOUFFLE

This technique combines three ingredients - fruit purée, meringue and cream - and sets them in a dish with a collar to mimic the appearance of a baked soufflé. Here a raspberry soufflé is made with 350 ml purée, 400 g Italian meringue and 400 ml double cream in a 1.5 litre soufflé dish.

1. Put a double collar of baking parchment around dish to extend 3-5 cm above the rim; secure with tape.

2. Carefully fold Italian meringue into fruit purée with a spatula, then fold in whipped cream.

3. Ladle the soufflé mixture into the dish so that it reaches the rim of the collar.

4. Smooth the surface with a palette knife that has been dipped in warm water.

5. Freeze the soufflé for 2 hours until firm. No more than 20 minutes before serving, carefully peel away the paper collar, smooth the edge with a palette knife and decorate.

MAKING A FRUIT JELLY

Fresh fruits suspended in jelly look most appealing, especially if they are layered decoratively with jelly in between. The technique is simple, but time needs to be taken waiting for each layer to set before adding the next. A quick option is to present fruits at random within the jelly - simply fill the mould with fruits and pour in liquid jelly to cover.

1. Prepare 15 g gelatine powder in water. Add dissolved gelatine to a warm sugar syrup made with 150 g sugar and 150 ml water.

2. Mix 500 ml unsweetened fresh fruit juice with the warm sugar syrup, then stir in 3 tbsp liqueur or spirit of your choice. Let cool.

3. Place 500 g fruits in a single layer in a 1.5-litre mould. Ladle over liquid jelly to cover. Chill 15 minutes or until set; repeat all the way to the top of the mould.