Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hay, Hay, It's... Earl Grey Mousse with Pear Slices and Raspberries

As far as I can recall, I haven't made mousse since home ec class. No, wait, I lie! There was this FABULOUS Mint Chocolate Mousse in Nyt (that would be the weekly supplement to Helsingin Sanomat, not the Times) maybe ten years ago, and I made it once and loved it... and lost the recipe (fellow Finns, I would be eternally grateful for that recipe). No, wait, I lie some more! Last year for Independence Day I made a three-mousse dessert (Lemon, Dark Chocolate and Mascarpone & After Eight) that was just... wow. Especially the After Eight.

Earl Grey Mousse with Dried Pear Slices

Maybe I've made mousse once a month my whole life and just keep forgetting about it? This mousse will be remembered, at least, because I made it for Helen's edition of Donna Day, the 11th all-in-all. And because it was interesting - in a good way! It's definitely a grown-up dessert, even though no booze is involved: the combination of Earl Grey tea and dark chocolate gives it quite an edge, which is beautifully cut by the oven-dried pears it's served with.

Earl Grey Mousse with Dried Pear Slices

Indeed, when, erm, licking the bowl, I had some pangs of doubt - the taste of tea felt a bit harsh and overpowering. I don't know whether it was the time in the fridge, settling, or just pairing it with the sweetened, crisp pears and juicy raspberries that brought everything together beautifully by the time it went on the table.

Earl Grey Mousse with Dried Pear Slices and Raspberries
adapted from Glorian Ruoka & Viini, serves 5-6

for the pears:
2 pears
icing sugar

for the mousse:
100 g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
150 ml + 150 ml + 2 tbsp thick cream
1 tbsp Earl Grey leaves (my tea is VERY strong, so you may want to up this if yours doesn't fill the entire kitchen with bergamot fumes when you open the tin)
150 ml sugar
2 tbsp water
4 egg yolks
2 sheets gelatin

to serve:

Wash and dry the pears and slice them thinly. Place the slices on a papered cookie sheet and sprinkle with icing sugar. Dry in a 125°C oven for about an hour or until they're crisp to the touch. Let cool, then carefully peel off the parchment paper.

Dried Pears

Chop the chocolate very finely and place in a bowl. Bring 150 ml of cream and 1 tbsp tea to the boil. Take off the heat and let steep for a few minutes, then strain and discard the tea leaves, bring the cream back to the boil, and pour over the chocolate, stirring gently until the chocolate melts.

In another pan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Slowly add the egg yolks to the hot sugar syrup while beating with a handheld electric mixer. Keep beating for a minute or so, then transfer to the bowl of your KitchenAid standing mixer of choice and beat until very light and airy.

In yet another bowl (I know!), beat 150 ml cream to soft-ish peaks. Fold the chocolate mix and the cream into the beaten egg mixture.

Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for five minutes, then squeeze off excess water and dissolve into the remaining 2 tbsp of cream. (Um, which you've heated. Or it won't dissolve.)

Fold the gelatin cream into the mousse and let rest in the fridge for about an hour (alternatively, spoon into whatever dishes you want to serve it from and save yourself the bother of trying to do the next step). Spoon lumps of mousse onto pear slices; try to make this look attractive.

Serve with raspberries.


Brilynn said...

Beautiful presentation! THe combination sounds really interesting, I'd like to experiment with tea more in baking.

tiinu said...

Oh, wow... (I know you told me you had problems with the pictures, but... wow.)

Oh, and speaking of the mint mousse from Nyt, they published a collection of their recipes as a book several years ago. I haven't read it, but maybe this could be a clue? The only problem is I don't remember what it was called!

deinin said...

Brilynn, it was an interesting combination - and the fruits were really what made it. On its own the mousse was just a bit overpowering. I have a feeling the tea+chocolate+pear combo is one that would bear more exploration...

Tiinu, I wish I could find the name of the book, but so far my googling skills have not turned up anything. *is off to search the libraries*

Helene said...

I love the tea idea in with the chocolate. I also really like the dreid pear slices. That first picture is breath taking!

joey said...

Like Brilynn, I am really looking to experiment with tea more in baking (and cooking even)...this looks absolutely luscious, paired with the fruits I imagine it's perfect! Great entry! :)

deinin said...

Helene, thanks! The pear slices really made the dish, and I think it's something I'll keep in mind with other desserts as well.

Joey - I've only ever used tea in cookie doughs before (in fact I have an untried Earl Grey cookie recipe waiting around somewhere), so this was definitely something new for me too.

Shawnda said...

What beautiful presentation. And you've piqued my interest with the chocolate-pear combo for sure!

Kate said...

i'll keep it shot n sweet ...u just won my vote :)

Anna said...

this looks so good. i like the combination of tea and chocolate. nice touch. and the presentation is gorgeous. jag är mycket hungrig!

deinin said...

Shawnda - thanks! I felt a bit silly doing it so elaborately (I'm more the "slap onto plates; serve" type at heart), but I wanted to do the beautiful pear slices justice.

Kate, thanks! I still have to look through the 50-some other entries. A daunting task!

Anna, the tea did work very well in the end, but I was a bit worried while making it. My tea was very strongly flavored, and seemed to be quite overpowering to start with. I guess it mellowed in the fridge.

Barbara said...

This is such an ingenious combination. I love it ...and the photos are stunning . Thanks for joining HHDD.

Culinarily Curious said...

I've combined Earl Grey tea with chocolate in cake and in ice cream with excellent results -- great to see that there are other applications out there just waiting for me. And the pear slices? Brilliant -- I'm betting they bring a wonderful flavor and texture balance to the plate as they do visually.

Anonymous said...

The dessert with three kinds of mousse sounds delicious (lemon, marscarpone and after eight)! Do you know where I can find the recipe?

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