I thought I’d step out of the box for this week’s recipe. It’s still keeping with the holiday flavors, but I thought I’d gussy up the standard mousse cake.
Don’t be scared to tackle on a dessert with multiple components. The walnut cookie base, and the cranberry gelee can all be made a day or two ahead. All the components are meant to add dimension to the dessert: the walnut sable adds crunch and texture; the cranberry gelee lends tartness to cut through the sweetness of the maple mousse. All the elements balance the dessert.
Maple Walnut and Cranberry Mousse
Yield: ~8 to 10 ½ cup servings
Walnut Sable (cookie base)
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
– 1 cup finely chopped toasted California walnuts
– 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 2/3 cup powdered sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 large egg yolk
1. Mix flour, walnuts, baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
2. Using electric mixer, beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Shape dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll, about 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the mold you will be using, cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to prepared sheets. Gather dough scraps and repeat until all dough is used. Bake sablés until light golden, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely. (Can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)
- 1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed; 3 1/2 cups)
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
– 1 cup water
1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes (jam will continue to thicken as it cools).
– 1 ½ tablespoon unflavored gelatin (bloomed according manufacturer directions)
– 3 eggs yolks
– 1 table spoon sugar
– 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
– 3/4 cup heavy cream
– 1 cup finely ground California walnuts
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Soften/bloom the gelatin in the cold water. Set aside
– Using a food processor, pulse walnuts until they are finely ground. Set aside
– Whip cream until they form soft peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
– Lightly grease the molds you plan on set the mousse in.
1. In the top of a double boiler, whisk egg yolks, cinnamon and sugar until it forms a ribbon and is pale in color. Whisk in the maple syrup. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room-temperature (~23’c). Carefully fold in walnuts and whip cream into the egg and maple syrup taking care not deflate the mousse.
2. Divide the mousse into two bowls. Fold in ½ of the cranberry gelee into ½ of the maple walnut mousse.
While the mousses are setting, you can dip walnut halves into caramel to make garnishes. Gently insert pointed end of a long wooden skewer into the side of each walnut, dip into amber caramel and set on parchment to cool. If you want to get the spear head, let the lift the walnut out of the caramel, and let the skewer drip. It will set in about 2 minutes forming an awesome narwhal-like spear.
- Pipe or pour maple mousse into the ¼ of the mold.
– Place ½ teaspoon of cranberry gelee into the center.
– Fill remainder of the mold with cranberry/walnut mousse.
– Top with walnut sable (acts as the base)
Refrigerate for 20 minutes; transfer to freezer to set for 3 hours. Demold, thaw, and serve.
Glazing is optional, but it will add to the shelf life of the product and make it look just that much better.
– ½ tablespoon gelatin, bloomed
– ¼ cup maple syrup
– ¼ cup water
Bring ingredients to a simmer, and using a spoon (not whisk), gently stir avoiding any bubble formation). Cool to room-temperature. Glaze chilled mousse cakes—the glaze will set immediately.