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The Mousse is Loose

 

A mousse is a rich, airy preparation that can be cold or hot, sweet or savory. The word mousse is French and translates as

 

A mousse is a rich, airy preparation that can be cold or hot, sweet or savory. The word mousse is French and translates as "froth" or "foam." There are three key constituents to a mousse.

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First is the base. This is the principal flavoring agent, such as the chocolate in a chocolate mousse or the salmon in a salmon mousse.

Next is the binder, inevitably gelatin. Gelatin is a protein derived from beef or veal bones. It's what imparts a stock with body as you slowly simmer it out of the bones.

Gelatin is sold in powdered and sheet form. The powdered is easiest to find. Both types must be soaked in a cool liquid first to soften and swell the gelatin. This is known as "blooming."

Sometimes the base ingredient of a mousse has enough body that a binder is not required. Chocolate mousse again serves as a good example. Cheese based mousses are another.

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Finally, a mousse is lightened by an aerator such as beaten egg whites or whipped cream. This produces the airy texture. Mix it in gently to prevent it from deflating.

Cold dessert mousses are often poured into decorative glasses and garnished with fruit, sweet sauces, or whipped cream. Savory mousses can be made from fish, shellfish, meat, foie gras, etc.

They may be hot or cold and are often squeezed through a piping bag onto some kind of platform, (vegetable slices, toast points, pastry shells, etc.), and used as a hors d'oeuvre.

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