16 March 2012

Raspberry & Blueberry Mousse


It's officially spring.  There's no doubt about it.  

It's beautiful.  It's warmer.  There's more life.

Flower and leaf buds are peeking out from the branches, the animals are in full activity, daylight is longer and nature is starting to color .  And this raspberry and blueberry mousse is my tribute to the most beautiful season of the year.  After the cold, heaviness and grayness of winter, here we are, standing outside again, witnessing nature's wake up call. 


I'm blabbering about the beauty of spring but I would like to focus on one thing that I am truly rejoicing about.  It's finally time to shed off those heavy wool clothes and stop quivering from the cold.  I grew up in a tropical country with only one season.  Summer.  Well, there are two that we refer to, wet and dry.  Wet means monsoons, typhoons and continuous rains and dry is eternally sunny without rain.  It is always hot.  Isn't that wonderful?

BUT. 

There are no seasons to speak of.  Autumn, winter and spring don't exist.  There is no excited anticipation of the next season that's coming.  There are no seasonal fruits and vegetables to wait for and there are no clothes to switch from season to season. 




BUT THEN.

It's summer 365 days of the year.   Tropical fruits are so different and delicious.  Beach day is all-year round (unless it's raining.)  The only clothes you put on are tank tops, shorts and sandals.  And who's ever heard of wool and boots? 


Now let my mind fly back to where I am now, Italy.

When I go to the fruit and vegetable stands, the first thing I notice is the welcoming colors of berries.   They are irresistible and just beckon you to grab the punnets and think of berryland.  I had been living in berryland lately.  Punnet after punnet, I managed to fill up our fridge with berries.  For that reason, bear with me and my berry fixation.  The possibilities with frutti di bosco (berries) are endless and I can't hold up my hand and stop myself from whipping up things in the kitchen. 


I thought of this berry mousse to give to the kids for their afternoon merenda (snack) to give their usual bread and honey a pleasant change.  Lately, my Il Cucchiaino d'Argento Cookbooks for kids have been inspiring me to prepare so many things for the kids.  I followed a chocolate mousse without cream recipe that I abandoned altogether when I realized that chocolates and fruits are completely different ingredients and require different treatments in preparing the mousse.  


After a quick research, I learned that I would be needing cream to make it smoother and gelatin to make the mousse settle.    I added both ingredients and I thought of adding the savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers) to cushion the two kinds of mousse.  After a couple of hours in the fridge, the mousse settled and I had two happy kids plus the happy parents polishing off four glasses or mousse.  

Buon appetito!



Raspberry & Blueberry Mousse

Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • 125 g. raspberries + extra for garnishing
  • 125 g. blueberries + extra for garnishing
  • mint leaves (optional)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon agar agar 
  • 50 ml. water
  • 1 cup cream
  • 8 savoiardi biscuits (or ladyfingers)
  • 2 teaspoons Creme de Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) (optional, if serving to kids or substitute without alcohol)
Directions:
  1. Mash raspberries & blueberries separately in a blender.  Set aside.
  2. Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Set aside.
  3. Put water and sugar together in a small saucepan.  Let it boil.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add agar agar.  Let it simmer for about 3 minutes while whisking. 
  4. In a bowl, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt until stiff with a hand electric mixer. 
  5. Pour hot syrup gradually on the egg whites.  Continue beating the egg whites until it cools down, about 5 minutes.
  6. Fold in whipped cream.  Mix well.
  7. Divide mixture equally and put them in separate bowls.
  8. In one bowl, fold in mashed raspberries.  In another bowl, fold in mashed blueberries.
  9. In the serving glasses, Put 2 savoiardi biscuits at the bottom.  You can cut them to make sure you fill up the whole bottom of the glass. 
  10. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of Creme de Cassis on the savoiardi biscuits. 
  11. Pour blueberry mousse until the middle of the glass.  
  12. Pour raspberry mousse until the rim.  
  13. Refrigerate for at least two hours to set.
  14. Garnish with the fresh berries on top and some mint leaves.


12 comments:

  1. Looks fantastic! I love the seasons--I have some I like more than others, but I always get giddy when they change. The photos are beautiful, by the way.

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    1. Looking forward to the changing seasons is great especially from winter to spring, which I love the most, giddiness included. Thanks for the note!

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  2. Beautiful! We haven't had much of a winter to speak of in Southern California, but I am anxiously awaiting blueberry season. The colors of this mousse are wonderful!

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    1. Berry desserts are so "photogenic" and delicious, that's why I love working with them. I think berry season is still in a couple of months but they are just everywhere that I find them irresistible. Thanks for the note!

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  3. OMG! Stunning! Absolutely gorgeous look mousse and such perfect photographs! Love it!

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  4. LOVE IT! I am such a berry fanatic at the moment too. =) I will totally take your recipe on board this week! Thank you!

    May I ask, have you ever been to Sicily? What's the food like there? Any special tips?

    I am travelling there next week and anxious to find me some delicious fresh things to cook!

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    1. This is a good recipe to try for a berry fan like me. It's a nice dessert. I have been to Sicily and in fact, I have a post about it when I went there the last time. Look at the "Travel" tab.

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  5. Oh my goodness. Your pictures are absolutely amazing! I immediately subscribed when I saw that first picture. Oh, and your mousse looks delicious.

    I spent two weeks last spring in Tuscany and am depressed we're not doing the same thing this spring. I live in Germany (I'm a Texan who married a German) and our produce is not even close to the quality that we found in Italy. I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

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    1. Hi Erin. I just took a peek at your site. I love the healthy cakes you have. I will jump over there when I need ideas on what to bake for my kids. Thanks for dropping by!

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  6. Gorgeous mousse, the raspberries are like little gems!

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I would love to read what you think!