It’s light and creamy, fluffy, rich and delicious. It can be made of chocolate, both white and dark. It is frequently made of salmon, and sometimes made with vegetables. Mousse is a decadent treat, and it is the most popular dessert ever created. Ingredients in mousse vary from chef to chef, but a few enhance their concoction with liqueurs and top it with chocolate curls, fresh fruit and mint leaves. No one questions its origins or its ingredients, but knowing these things would make a diner’s experience with mousse tastier.
Origins of Mousse
The origin of mousse is somewhat vague. The Spanish introduced chocolate to the world in the 1600s. The French took chocolate and ran with it, creating what history considers the first mousse in the 1700s. Mousse is French for “foam”, but their first desserts were thick and dense. The first written word about mousse was in 1892 in Madison Square Garden. In 1897, a recipe for mousse was published in the Boston Daily Globe. Once again, the dish was thick and dense, like a pudding.
Whether cooks are making mousse from chocolate, salmon, avocado, raspberries, or tomatoes, mousse basically has three ingredients: sugar, eggs and the base. The base is prepared so that the eggs and sugar may be beaten into it. Mousse is whipped until the air incorporated in it makes the dish light and fluffy. The introduction of mixers made mousse much easier to produce. The basic recipe for chocolate mousse is:
•11 ounces of dark chocolate, the best quality available
•2 ounces butter
•1.7 ounces of sugar
•A pinch of salt
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Whip the egg whites and salt until it peaks. Add sugar to the chocolate and butter. Add egg yolks next. Lastly, whip the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate.
Popular Mousse Desserts
Mousse can be made with any fruit that is on hand. Peel the fruit and place into a sauce pan. Over low heat, reduce the fruit to its juice. The fruit can also be pureed in a blender. In place of the eggs, substitute cream. In place of the butter, substitute unsweetened gelatin.
•1 cup heavy cream, chilled
•¾ tsp unsweetened gelatin
•Sugar to taste
•Pinch of salt
•Fruit puree to taste
Bloom the gelatin in one tablespoon cold water. Melt it over low heat and set aside. Whip the cream until it peaks. Add sugar and salt. Continue to whip until it peaks. Add gelatin to mixture until the cream peaks again. Whip in fruit puree and taste it to see if more is needed. Whip until peaked and refrigerate.
The prettiest thing about mousse is toppings. Slices of fruit, berries, crushed nuts, shaved chocolate and cinnamon all make beautiful toppings. Presented in crystal aperitif glasses or champagne flutes, guests will bless the cook for a decadent dessert.
Who doesn’t love mousse? Even dieters eat the fat-free version of mousse. On one famous occasion, the late Princess Diana was lunching with Oprah Winfrey. Diana was having a fat-free version of tomato mousse, her favorite, while Oprah dined on the full Monty, so to speak. Marlene Dietrich preferred coffee mousse made with marshmallows. Bon appetit!