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Mousse

Mousse is a popular form of dessert, often made creamy, light and airy, using a combination of ingredients like whipped cream, gelatin, eggs, sugar and flavorings such as chocolate or fruit puree. The light, fluffy and interestingly rich confection of mousse mainly depends upon how well egg whites are beaten and blended with the rest of the ingredients. Mousse batter once made has to be chilled, as a means to maintain its consistency, before serving. Chocolate mousse, one of the interesting variants of the plain mousse is a popular entry in the American homes, which is often named as whip. There are also other savory varieties of mousse, those made using vegetables, meats as well as seafood. Great to be served hot or cold, mousse is usually made savory or sweet and is best served as a dessert for any special occasion.

 

Mousse is defined as a light and creamy dessert made using eggs, cream, fruit, and other ingredients, making use of gelatine in order to set it. Mousse also refers to a savoury dish prepared in a similar fashion that makes use of either meat or fish in its preparation. Thus, a mousse could be made sweet or savoury based on individual preferences. Use of whipped egg whites and/or whipped cream is typical in the making of Dessert mousses, and they are generally finished with chocolate or puréed fruit. For a scrumptious savory mousse, liver or fish may be used as the main flavoring component.

 

Mousse is the also the French term for ‘foam’ and describes the light airy texture of this delectable French dessert item that is made by incorporating air bubbles into it, thereby creating its fluffy smooth consistency. Of course, it may vary in nature from being light and fluffy to being thick and creamy depending on how it is prepared.

 

Although the most common type of mousse that one might normally come across is the chocolate mousse which is detailed below-

 

Chocolate Mousse Recipe

 

Ingredients

 

  • finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • unsalted butter
  • espresso or any other very strong coffee
  • heavy cold cream
  • eggs, yolk separated
  • sugar
  • raspberries and extra whipped cream for  topping (optional)

 

 

Method

 

1.      The cream is whipped to form soft peaks, before it is refrigerated.

2.      The chocolate, espresso and butter are combined in a double boiler over hot water, stirring frequently until very smooth. It is then removed from the heat and left to cool until the chocolate is only slightly warmer than body temperature. If it becomes too cold, the mixture will seize on addition of the other ingredients.

3.      The egg whites are whipped in a bowl until they become light and foamy and begin to hold shape.  At this stage, sugar is sprinkled in and beaten until soft peaks are formed.

4.      After the melted chocolate mixture has cooled slightly and reached the appropriate temperature, the yolks are stirred in. About a-third of the heavy whipped cold cream is gently stirred in. In parts, half the whites are first folded in, followed by the remaining whites, and finally the rest of the whipped cream in gentle unidirectional movements.

5.      Using a spoon or piping bag, the mousse is transferred into a single large serving bowl or smaller individual bowls. A layer of whipped cream and fresh raspberries may form the garnish. Refrigeration for at least 8 hours is necessary to maintain form and structure although the mousse can be refrigerated for even up to a day.

 

Chocolate Mousse makes for a great dessert especially for entertaining since-

·        it looks very attractive,

·        everyone can have their own individual serving, and

·        it may be made well in advance – even a day ahead of time.

 

Nutritional Value

 

An individual serving of Homemade Chocolate mousse (~ 100 g) provides-

 

·        331 calories

·        25 g total fat with 14.8 g saturated fat

·        143 mg cholesterol

·        29 g total carbohydrates with 25 g sugars and 2.2 g dietary fiber

·        45 mg sodium

·        3.5 g protein

 

In comparison, a serving of store-bought rich chocolate mousse provides-

 

·        510 calories

·        31 g total fat  with 16 g saturated fat

·        205 mg cholesterol

·        54 g carbohydrates with 49 g sugars and 2 g dietary fiber

·        60 mg sodium

·        7 g protein

 

An instant version of "Natural" Chocolate Mousse mix is available off the shelf, which needs only to be combined with water. When prepared, this dessert provides-

 

·        less than 100 calories

·        less than 1 g fat

·        0 mg cholesterol

·        20 g carbohydrates with 12 g sugars

·        56 mg sodium

·        0 .5 g protein
 

 

Nutritional Enhancements

 

In general, this dessert is high in total calories, fat, sugar and cholesterol content.  A healthier version of the traditional Chocolate mousse makes use of –

 

·        Silken tofu (which is blended until smooth and creamy in consistency) instead of the heavy cream.

·         Some of the bittersweet chocolate may be replaced by making use of unsweetened dark cocoa powder that is fat-free.

 

One serving of this modified recipe (~ 130 grams) provides

 

·        249 calories

·        10 g fat with 5.7 g saturated fat

·        12 mg cholesterol

·        35 g carbohydrates with 30 g sugars

·        43 mg sodium

·        7 g protein
 

Thus, making this version is definitely more sound from the nutritional perspective.

 

Variation

 

1.      A White Chocolate Mousse can be prepared in the above manner, but by replacing some of the bittersweet chocolate with white chocolate.

2.      A special Chocolate Orange Flavoured Mousse makes use of orange zest and some orange juice too along with other ingredients.

3.      An interesting Maple Walnut Mousse may be made using pure maple syrup, beaten eggs (whites and yolks separately), whipped cream and crushed walnuts with the addition of butter rum schnapps for additional flavour.  

4.      Various flavored mousses may be prepared such as Strawberry Mousse using strawberry crush or puree and fruit pieces or strong coffee for a Coffee Mousse.

5.      A flavorful tangy Lemon Mousse or fresh Citrus Mousse can be prepared similarly using lemon juice and lemon zest. A Minty Cocoa Mousse is also preferred by some who enjoy the freshness of mint.

 

 

Savoury Mousse Varieties

 

Seafood Mousse

 

A delicately flavoured seafood mousse may be prepared combining ingredients like minced cooked shrimp, minced onion and celery, canned condensed cream of celery soup, softened cream cheese, unflavored gelatine, mayonnaise and fresh lemon juice, cooked together and placed in moulds before refrigerating to set.

 

A Tuna Mousse may also be similarly prepared.

 

A Pumpkin Mousse is also quite popular and forms a light and airy alternative to the traditional Pumpkin Pie. This makes use of normal mousse ingredients like eggs, gelatine and milk along with honey, chopped crystallized ginger together with some spices like freshly ground cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg etc. for a distinctly spicy aroma.

 

Other interesting variations are the Asparagus Mousse or the Sweet Potato Mousse