Post #641 Watch Out For Mousse

May 5, 2019 at 4:27 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #641 Watch Out For Mousse

Yeah, I know, it’s a cooking blog and moose you’re supposed to watch for isn’t spelled that way, but give me a break.  I coulda called this one Blowing a Raspberry, as Clarissa Dixon Wright from Two Fat Ladies called it “That frightfully rude gesture.”  So proper.

Well, it’s a whole week before I start work at the hospital and my reputation is already preceding me.  I made Pecan Shortbread cookies last week and Partner/Spouse gave some to a couple of people who raved about them.  Tomorrow is his boss’s birthday, so I get to make a desert for the festivities.  I was told he likes lemon and he likes raspberry, but he’s not a big fan of chocolate (I know, right?).  We both immediately thought of Mile High Lemon Pie, but without a stand mixer, that one can get a little problematic.  So I turned my mind to raspberry and settled on a raspberry cream pie.

Of course, I never stop at that, so after reviewing recipes and techniques, I opted for Raspberry Mousse pie.  Cuz why not make it more difficult, huh?  Mousse really isn’t that hard to make.  The difficulty comes in incorporating the flavor element into the mousse element without losing the volume of the mousse.  You’re going to lose volume; it’s inevitable.  The trick is to lose as little as possible.

So, it’s been a little bit busy this weekend.  We even did the main grocery shopping on Friday evening to free up time on Saturday.  We went for a drive to the east and north of us and took the dog.  Oddly, even though we had the dog with us, we only stopped once for just a minute or so.  But we did see this:

You can see what kind of day it was.  Gray and dreary and rainy when we were promised sunny.  Not sure what the lake was, only that it was made by a dam, and it was near the Cabot cheese dairy farm.  We didn’t go to the dairy, but trust me, when we do get there, you will know about it.

Today, it was time to make the Raspberry Mousse Pie.  I started early, around 9:30 or so.  These kinds of pie are made in two steps: the pie shell, then the filling.  I wanted to make a short crust dough for the pie, rather than a crumb crust.  Since it was a sweet pie, I wanted the crust to be only slightly sweet, but I did want it to have a sweet edge.  Short crust dough, or pastry, is held together only by butter.  It’s very much like shortbread cookie dough but no sugar is involved, except I did add a little sugar cuz I wanted to.  It can be delicate and finicky, but the result is superb.

The basic recipe for one pie shell is simple.  1 cup of flour, 1 stick of butter, and 3 tablespoons of ice cold water.  I added a tablespoon of sugar to give it a slightly sweet taste.  You’ll combine the butter and flour until it looks like sandy crumbs, then add the water and mix until it comes together.  You can do this by hand, but it’s way easier to use a machine.  So I used my food processor.  One heads up when making short dough of any kind.  KEEP THE BUTTER COLD!  You don’t want the butter to soften at all if you can avoid it.  So I cut the butter into small chunks and put them in the freezer for ten minutes before I put them in the flour.  Then, I combined them on the shortest and fastest process I could to make sure friction from the blades didn’t melt the butter.  After I incorporated the water and the dough came together (quickly, I might add) I put the dough in some plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill the butter again before rolling it out.  Using standard pie rolling technique, roll out a disk about two inches larger than your pie pan.  Carefully place the dough in the pan and press into the sides and into the bottom edge leaving the overhang in place.  Then put a piece of parchment paper over the dough and press.  Add weights of any kind, but make them small so they can get into the edges.  This keeps the dough from puffing up.  Bake the shell at 375 for 20 minutes, remove the weights carefully, prick the dough many many times with a fork, then bake for ten more minutes.  Leaving the overhang in place keeps the dough from sliding down the side.  Cool the pie shell then use a sharp knife to remove the overhang.

So, there’s the pie shell.

Once the shell was ready, I put the mousse together.  Like I said earlier, the mousse it air incorporated into something, then flavoring is added gently to keep the mousse inflated.  Sometimes the mousse is cooked and is called soufflé and other times it’s just chilled.  If you whip egg whites, and add flavorings and do extra things to them, you get meringue.  It’s kind of like a mousse, but lighter and airier.  When you whip soft cheeses and add flavorings, etc., you mostly just get light, whipped cheese spreads.  When you whip cream, and add flavorings, etc., you get mousse.  Whipping cream by itself to create stiff peaks produces a fluffy mass, but it’s very unstable and will quickly “break” back into it’s components parts, most of which is water.  If you continue to beat it, you get butter, which I’ve posted about before.  However, you can add stabilizers, common household items.  Sugar is a good one.  For this recipe, you need unflavored gelatin.  You can get this in your store, usually in the section with the gelatin desserts.  It’s cheap, one box for a little more than a dollar.  It’s kind of fun to use.

So, before you whip the cream, you want to prepare the gelatin.  Put 1/4 cup of water in a small, microwave safe bowl.  Sprinkle one envelope of plain gelatin on top and set aside to soak.  The gelatin will expand and absorb the water.

Now, let’s do the raspberries.  You need 24 ounces of frozen or fresh berries.  I used frozen, cuz fresh ones in that quantity are prohibitively expensive this time of year.  Thaw them, then push them through a sieve to remove as many of the seeds as possible.  You’re making a puree of the berries, and you need 1 2/3 cup of it.  Put the pureed berries in a bowl and add a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of lemon juice.  At the same time, put the bowl of gelatin in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds.  Allow to cool.  Stir and/or whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.  You can test this by tasting a small bit on your finger; one of the perks of being the cook.  If there’s any grit, keep stirring/whisking.   Once the sugar has dissolved, remove 1/4 cup and set aside.

When the gelatin is cool, add to the raspberries and stir until completely blended.  This will take some time, and don’t worry if you see lumps.  Keep stirring until they disappear.  Once this is done, we’re ready to make the base of the mousse.

In a large bowl, pour three cups of chilled heavy or whipping cream.  Whip on medium until soft peaks develop, then mix on high until stiff peaks develop.  At this stage, you can add some powdered sugar, but be careful as this will add sweetness to the finished pie.  Once the stiff peaks have been reached, start adding the raspberries.  Add 1/3 of a cup and use a rubber spatula to carefully fold into the whipped cream.  The easiest way to do this is to move the spatula around the side then cut through the center, then repeat on the other side.  It forms a figure 8.  Do not go fast as this will deflate the cream.  Once the berries have been incorporated and no white cream is visible, add one half of the remaining berries.  Fold them into the cream until no streaks appear.  Add the remaining berries, and fold into the cream.  Some minor streaks will look good at this stage.

You can see from the picture where the height of the cream started and where it finished in this process.  You now have mousse.

Pour the mousse into the pie shell until the shell is filled.  Place any remaining mousse into a bowl and cover and chill.  Place the pie onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Take the remaining 1/3 cup of reserved berries that do not have gelatin added and drizzle over the top.  My drizzling leaves a lot to be desired.

Chill for a minimum of four hours.  Garnish with extra whipped cream or fresh berries.  I used fresh berries.

So, I hope the people who eat it will like it.  I’ve eaten a couple of spoonfuls of the extra mousse and I gotta say, it tastes pretty damned good.

Let me know what you think!  Feel free to share the post any time you like.

As always,

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