Thursday, January 6, 2011

Passion fruit mousse

I've had a hard time getting back into the swing of things since the holidays. I've been surprisingly busy at work this week, and daylight has been fleeting. I actually made this on Monday, and just managed to get some pictures today, so I can tell you that this mousse is a good keeper. Not that it'll last long once you try it. Isn't it just the dreamiest colour? Well, maybe not in Ottawa's dull light, but trust me, it was a beautiful pale orange.
I love passion fruit, but it's so expensive to buy them fresh here, and sometimes you get a dud, with almost no pulp inside it. I lucked out just before Christmas, because my aunt brought me back a shopping bag full of them from the Dominican Republic. I ate a lot over the holidays, but still got almost a kilogram of pulp from the rest. I've been sneaking spoonfuls and using it in smoothies, enjoying it thoroughly, but I wanted to make something I've never made before with passion fruit. When I was at my mother's over the holidays, I looked through some of the cookbooks I keep there and found a recipe for a bavarois, or Bavarian cream. Now, I'm not sure that it actually is a Bavarian cream, as they don't usually contain meringue. My Larousse Gastronomique is in storage, so I've just called this a mousse, and enjoyed it thoroughly. A rose by another name and all that.
This recipe started with a passion fruit curd, which got lightened with an Italian meringue and whipped cream and set with a bit of gelatin. Perfect: it would dirty all my dishes! I had also been loaned a set of small metal molds, by a friend who went hunting in her childhood home over the holidays. This recipe did indeed require lots of bowls, but the results were worth it. The texture is light, from the meringue, and tart, but still a bit creamy. It really is January diet fare, if you ignore the 7 egg yolks and cup of cream. That said, it made a lot! I filled all my ramekins, molds, and even set some aside for another dessert. According to The Cake Bible, it can even be frozen, so I'll try that with a few ramekins and let you know how it turns out.

Passion fruit bavarois
From The Secrets of Baking, by Sherry Yard
Serves 8

½ cup cold water, divided
1 ¼ ounce envelope powdered gelatin
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup strained. pureed passion fruit pulp (can use frozen)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I skipped this, as my passion fruit was very tart)
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg whites

a 2-quart/litre decorative mold or smaller individual ones
  1. Pour ¼ cup of the cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Set aside to soften. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer over medium heat. 
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks, eggs and ¾ cup of the sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Place over the simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the passion fruit and continue whisking until the curd reaches 160℉/71℃, or is the thickness of sour cream.
  3. Melt the softened gelatin by heating for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave, and stir into the curd.
  4. The recipe recommends straining and cooling over an ice bath, but I just put it in the fridge while I prepared the other components, and stirred it occasionally.
  5. Whip the cream, then place in the fridge. Wash the beaters.
  6. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup water. Swirl to moisten the sugar, then cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and cook to 235℉/113℃. While you are waiting...
  7. In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites to the soft peak stage. When the syrup is ready, drizzle it into the whites while you are beating. Be careful not to get the syrup directly on the beaters, as it will harden there, or be spun onto the sides of the bowl. Whip until stiff, shiny peaks have formed.
  8. When the curd is cool (70℉/21℃), but not set, fold the meringue in with a spatula or a whisk. When it is almost incorporated, fold in the whipped cream. 
  9. Immediately pour the mixture into the mold(s) and refrigerate. It will be set in about 2 hours. To remove from the mold, invert it onto a serving dish and rub the outside of the mold with a warm damp towel. Tap the mold to loosen the gelatin. This did not work for me! I had to dunk the molds into hot water before they would release. Perhaps I'll oil them lightly next time. If you wet your plate first, you will be able to slide the bavarian into place more easily. Stays fresh, refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. Garnish with extra passionfruit pulp, or other tropical fruit.


Beth said...

You have a wonderful aunt! I'm not sure our passion fruit is any better in Toronto, but I'm willing to try it out for this recipe.

Suz said...

Ooh yum! That sounds wonderful for brightening up a dull January day.

Brownieville Girl said...

LOL I love the comment that it is diet food if you ignore the egg yolks and cream!!!!

Worth it though!!

Valerie Gamine said...

I can almost taste the smooth, creaminess of this mousse just by gazing at your pictures! Passion fruit truly is the nectar of the God's. I'm so jealous that you had a batch from the Dominican Republic. :-)

This looks lovely. Thanks for adding some colour to my also-dull Michigan weather.

Mimi said...

Lucky you to passion fruit delivered to your door. Absoutely love the color!

cocoa and coconut said...

Wow, the whole dish looks dreamy if you ask me. Well done for doing such a fabulous recipe in the midst of work

Rhyleysgranny said...

It looks amazing and sounds wonderful. I would be very interested to know how it freezes. There's a lot of work but oh my goodness how wonderful if you could lift a couple of these out of the freezer at a moment's notice and feel smug :)

Anonymous said...

I've never actually baked or cooked with passion fruit. That might be on my list of things to try for this year. Great photos!

A Canadian Foodie said...

I've never seen frozen passion fruit pulp, but you were a lucky gal getting that much pulp to play with in recipes! What is the brand name on the frozen pulp you can buy. I need to check around or get my Italian grocer to bring it in. She is phenomenal.These look so creamy and yummy. I am puckering up at the thought!

Baking Addict said...

So nice and refreshing for the new year!

Evelyne CulturEatz said...

What a wonderful treat from your Aunt and a great loan from your friend. I love exotic restaurants, often from the Carabbean, that serve passion fruit mousse. But your looks a 100 more tempting.

Valérie said...

Looks so good I can almost taste it! I too have been disappointed when I've tried cooking with passion fruit purchased here. You're lucky to have gotten such a nice batch - and you made a wonderful use of it!

Faith said...

Your aunt is so sweet to bring you such a wonderful gift! The mousse is lovely and the passion fruit bavarois really is the perfect topping!

Cakelaw said...

It looks devine Mary. I love passionfruit too, but they are expensive here as well.

Leslie said...

These look amazing! I hear that passion fruit pulp can be frozen (not that we could ever tire of eating the fruit!)

Chats the Comfy Cook said...

I love visiting you. I jump from one dessert to another and think you are just great. Beautiful and tasty food.

Renata said...

Oh Mary, I'm a passion fruit lover as well. These little mousses are making me drool!