Mousse duet of raspberry and white chocolate with pistachio crumble

The wedding cake

Mousse duet of raspberry and white chocolate with pistachio crumble

Last week, a friend who was getting married asked me to make her a wedding cake. She wanted an uncomplicated dessert: nothing like the traditional French pièce montée, nor was it to be an American-style tiered wedding cake. She wanted simple? I kept it simple.

One thing most of us can agree on is that weddings are hardly ever simple. And the most elaborate French weddings tend to be complex affairs that sometimes last several days. One of the most memorable weddings I ever attended was held in a château near Paris.

Onion soup?

We were put up in dormitory-style rooms in the château itself, and the ceremony, held in the local church, was followed by a vin d’honneur, or drinks reception on the sprawling château lawns. Then we – and the 80 or so other guests – enjoyed a sumptuous meal, and Champagne and dancing ‘til dawn. Literally.

And before dawn? At 4 a.m., guests were served onion soup to provide sustenance and keep the party going. And I thought only college students succumbed to the late-night munchies.

Toppling down the stairs

Mousse duet of raspberry and white chocolate with pistachio crumble

But in Paris – where friends might get married in jeans, or their children are the ones who design the invitations (when there are invitations) – weddings are a no-fuss deal. You make an appointment at the Mairie or town hall of your district, show up with a couple of witnesses (or not), and you get to sign a few papers and say “Oui” – the French equivalent of “I do.”

One of my favorite French wedding movies is the 2010 Pièce Montée (released in the United States as The Wedding Cake). The movie itself is far lighter than the title’s famous dessert, shown toppling down the stairs (the chef crying “Ah, non!” as it happens) and stars Clémence Poésy, who ironically enough, tends to shine more often in dark films like the excellent 2008 crime movie In Bruges.

Architectural shapes

But Antonin Carême, the inventor of the pièce montée, didn’t know the virtues of simplicity. A great fan of architecture, Carême created monumental desserts that were confectionery towers. In fact, the definition of a pièce montée, according to the Academie française Dictionary, is “a tall pastry, built to serve as an ornament and often imitating architectural shapes.”

Mousse duet of raspberry and white chocolate with pistachio crumble

The pièce montée is the traditional dessert for weddings, but also for communions or any celebratory meal. Usually, the kind served at weddings is known as a croquembouche, a little like the one pictured below, from La Romainville pastry shop in the Parisian suburbs.

Mousse duet of raspberry and white chocolate with pistachio crumble

Cream puffs

Literally translated, the croqu’en-bouche (from the 1808 spelling) means “it crunches in the mouth” and is made from choux puffs filled with pastry cream. The cream puffs are held together with caramel, which allows pastry chefs to build towering desserts to accommodate any number of guests.

For modern Parisians – including same-sex couples since May 2013 – marrying in the local town hall is usually followed by a meal in a local restaurant, and might just include a dessert that is a composition of elements like the ones you’ll find below. Enjoy!

Mousse duet of raspberry and white chocolate with pistachio crumble

The cake I made for my friend’s wedding wasn’t quite as simple as the three elements below, but why complicate things here? I occasionally offer the full-blown dessert in my cooking classes, but the light-as-air double-mousse recipe here, topped with a pistachio crumble, isn’t too technical, and is absolutely delicious served in individual ramekins. The recipe makes 8 to 10 servings: if you’re tempted to cut the recipe in half, it may be difficult to whip the cream unless you want to do it by hand.

special equipment: a stand mixer or electric beaters; 8-10 individual ramekins

for the white chocolate mousse:
- 1½ cups (360g) heavy cream, very cold
- zest from 1 small lime + ½ teaspoon lime juice
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (135g) whole milk
- 2 sheets gelatin (4g), or 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin (half a package of Knox)
- 6.5 ounces (185g) high-quality white chocolate (Ghirardelli or Lindt), finely chopped

Mousse duet of raspberry and white chocolate with pistachio crumble

for the raspberry mousse:
- 1 cup (125g) raspberries, puréed using a wand mixer or blender (add a bit more if using frozen raspberries – you want to end up with 1 cup of purée)
- ⅓ cup (65g) sugar
- 2 sheets gelatin (4g), or 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin (half a package of Knox)
- reserved whipped cream from above

for the pistachio crumble:
- ¼ cup (30g) either raw or roasted but unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
- 2½ tablespoons (30g) raw (turbinado) sugar
- ¼ cup (30g) flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (30g) very cold butter, cut into cubes

how to make it:
1. For the white chocolate mousse, soak the sheet gelatin in a small bowl of water, or if you’re using powdered gelatin, sprinkle it into 2 tablespoons of cold water.
2. Using a stand mixer or hand beaters, whip the heavy cream to medium peaks. Divide the whipped cream in half and place in separate bowls (measure about 2⅓ cups into each bowl). Reserve the two bowls on the countertop (not in the refrigerator).
3. Combine the lime zest, lime juice, and milk in a small saucepan and heat to boiling. Remove from heat and add the gelatin, stirring well with a small whisk to combine.
4. Place the finely chopped chocolate in a small to medium bowl and pour over it the milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, using a circling motion to melt the chocolate thoroughly.
5. Let this mixture cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally – test it with your finger: the mixture should be at room temperature. Then combine it with one bowl of the whipped cream, folding the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream gently but thoroughly. Fill the ramekins about halfway with this mixture, then cover them and refrigerate.
6. For the raspberry mousse, soak the sheet gelatin in a small bowl of water, or if you’re using powdered gelatin, sprinkle it into 2 tablespoons of cold water.
7. Combine the raspberry purée and the sugar in a small saucepan and heat just to boiling, stirring well. Remove from heat and add the gelatin, stirring well with a small whisk to combine.
8. Let this mixture cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally – test it with your finger: the mixture should be at room temperature. Then combine it with the remaining bowl of whipped cream, folding the raspberry mixture into the whipped cream gently but thoroughly. Fill the ramekins the rest of the way up with this mixture, then cover them again and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
9. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they’re just broken into 2-3 pieces, but not by any means ground. Add the raw sugar, flour, and salt, and process again, pulsing 2-3 times to combine the ingredients. Finally, add the butter, and process again quickly. The mixture should be coarse and crumbly. Transfer it to a small baking sheet or a glass baking dish and cook in the oven for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula.
10. Remove the crumble mixture from the oven and transfer it to a plate to let it cool, and then store it in an airtight container until ready to use.
11. When ready to serve, top each mousse duo with a spoonful of crumble mixture. Enjoy!

makes about 8-10 individual mousses



Tags : fruit mousse , raspberries , white chocolate , Antonin Carême , pièce montée , pistachios


Comments

pre-moderation

This forum is moderated before publication: your contribution will only appear after being validated by an administrator.

Who are you?
Your post

To create paragraphs, just leave blank lines.


Luc 8 May 2016

Hello and thank you very much for your inspiring desert.

I did some adaptation due to the fact my wife does not like white chocolate and it was her birthday.

I did the raspberry mouse as per your instructions with wipe cream substitution with half 0% Greek yogourt and half whole milk.

I duplicate the raspberry with blueberry.

Due to the facts it was little to liquid to my taste, I filled the glasses wine with that raspberry and place it in freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then I place the blueberry on top and place the glasses in the refrigerator. Remove the glasses from refrigerator about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Decorated the glasses with some blueberries and mint.

My wife was very impressed by the desert and was very delicious. Thank you very much.

Luc


Allison Zinder 8 May 2016

Thank you, Luc, for sharing your own recipe, what great ideas. I’ll try the blueberries too next time! Thanks for commenting!


Alison Armstrong 17 May 2016

Allison, I am enjoying reading all you offer...and as I love raspberries and pistachio and butter and cream (and dark chocolate only), will plan to make the recipe for your mousse when I return from Ireland late June. Meantime, am judiciously sharing your delight and wisdom with a few select friends.
Looking forward to more recipes.

Alison


Allison Zinder 18 May 2016

Thank you, Alison, for your kind words. Have a great trip to Ireland, and more recipes are on the way!






Want a free recipe and article about Paris in your inbox every month? Sign up for free updates, with tips and inspiration from Parisian artists. A bientôt!



Latest recipes