Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Mousse

Today is Valentine’s Day!  My husband and I exchange hand-made (or hand computer made cards) along with a small gift. 

This year it has been all about the chocolate.  Yesterday he took me to Godiva Chocolates and I made my own box.  For him I bought Chocolate hand-made by Brian ____.

I was planning to make his chocolate gift this year, but with the blizzard throwing off my schedule I ran out of time.  However, I did find a couple of great recipes for herb-infused chocolate-related items that I felt I should share with you since I did not (yet) share them with him.  the first I put up as the Recipe of the Month on my website, a Thyme Shortbread Cookie.  the second is below, a nice showy dessert of basil infused white chocolate with berry sauce.  Both are perfect to demonstrate your love!

Basil Mousse & Strawberry Parfait

Strawberry sauce
8 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
4 to 5 Tbls. Confectioners sugar, or to taste

White Chocolate basil mousse
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, stems removed coarsely chopped
3 cups heavy cream, divided
5 tsp. cold water
1 tsp. powdered unflavored gelatin
4 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
3 Tbls. Confectioner’s sugar

Garnish (optional)
Strawberry quarters
Small fresh basil leaves

Make sauce buy combining berries, zest and 2 to 3 Tbls confectioners’ sugar in a food processor.  Process until smooth.  Add more sugar to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Make mousse.  Combine basil, 2 cups cream in saucepan.  Bring to scalding over medium heat.  Turn off heat and steep about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile pour water into top of double boiler.  Sprinkle gelatin over water.  Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until gelatin has completely absorbed water.  Melt over low heat on top of double boiler, then turn off heat.

Whisk yolks and sugar together.  Whisk in flour.  Strain cream mixture into yolk mixture pressing excess fluid from leaves and whisk to combine.  Add white chocolate.  Pour into clean sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring slowly and constantly in a figure 8 pattern until chocolate has melted and mixture just comes to a boil.  Note: a whisk can help break up lumps that naturally form in the 100% cream sauce.  Do not whisk too strongly or mixture will break. 

Strain chocolate mixture into a large bowl.  Immediately whisk in warm gelatin, grated orange zest and vanilla extract.  Cover surface flush with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Combine 1 cup cream and 3 Tbls. confectioners’ sugar with electric mixer.  Whip cream to soft peaks.  Once chocolate mixture has cooled, but not set, gently fold into whipped cream.

To assemble parfait.  Pour mousse into large container with spout.  Pour strawberry sauce into another container with a spout.  Fill 5- 8 to 10 oz. wine or parfait glasses halfway with mousse.  Refrigerate until partially set, about 30 minutes.  Pour 2 to 3 Tbls. of sauce on top of each dessert.  Allow sauce to flow to sides of glass.  Top off with remaining mousse, cover with plastic wrap and chill until completely set (about 6 hours.)  Garnish with strawberries and basil leaf.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day – Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh

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