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Creamy mousse, coconut rum soaked lady fingers, rainier cherries and passion fruit, perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

I am always inspired by the flavors and colors of summer. It’s easy to imagine what to eat when there are so many wonderful things available this time of year.

Peaches, plums, cherries and other splendid things. I wouldn’t know what I would do without summer.

Snacking on baskets of summer fruits is nostalgic. Growing up foraging for days in the hidden fruit patches was what we did. The experience was special. Wild fruits bursting with flavor had something extra than being delicious, something so natural as if touched by magic.

Besides loving the season of fruitfulness this mousse dessert soaked with coconut rum is refreshing. However I am still thinking of my friend d’s mixed berry pie we all shared the other week during dinner.  With wild berries now available, I might just make a berry pie for a picnic with friends.

For now, timing is perfect for cooking easy, vibrantly flavored recipes so simple that makes summer extra special.

Lots of fresh recipes I can’t wait to share.

Do you have any fond memories of summer?

Coconut Mousse Recipe [Serves 6]

6 Tablespoons coconut puree*

3 Tablespoons cold water

¾ teaspoon granular gelatin

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

1-2 teaspoons cane sugar

24 gluten-free lady fingers

1 cup coconut syrup

24 rainier cherries

2 passion fruits

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water and allow to bloom for a few minutes.

2. Gently warm coconut puree in a small bowl over barely simmering water. Set aside.

3. Place gelatin over simmering water to melt. Turn off heat and continue.

4. Whip cream and sugar in a bowl just before stiff peaks form.

5. Whisk warmed coconut puree into the gelatin until incorporated.

6. Gently fold coconut/gelatin mixture into whipped cream.

assembling individual desserts:

1. Dip lady fingers one at a time in coconut syrup for a brief moment and place one in the bottom of six serving cups.

2. Spoon a little coconut mousse over the lady fingers.

3. Repeat with another layer of lady fingers and more mousse. Continue until you have four layers of lady fingers. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour to set mousse.

4. Garnish mousse with rainier cherries and a small amount of passion fruit flesh.

5. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve chilled or bring almost to room temp.

assembling one whole desert:

Follow the layering instructions as stated above, but cover the base of a dish with soaked lady fingers and a layer of coconut mouse. Repeat to use up remaining lady fingers and mouse. Garnish with cherries and passion fruit; dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

Gluten-free Lady’s Fingers [makes 24]

6 Tablespoons sorghum flour

1/3 cup tapioca starch

3 large eggs, separated

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup cane sugar

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Sift together sorghum flour and tapioca starch together. Set aside.

2. Beat egg whites with sea salt until soft peaks form.

3. Gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. Beat in egg yolks.

5. Gently fold in flour mixture.

6. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch round tip and pipe strips of batter two inches long.

7. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, and then repeat when the first dusting is absorbed.

8. Bake for 12 minutes.

9 Remove from the pan once there are finished baking to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

Coconut Soaking Syrup [makes 1 cup]

1/3 cup coconut rum

1/3 cup canned coconut milk

1/3 cup cane sugar

1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Cool.

*note: The coconut puree used for this recipe is a concentrate made from coconut with added sugar and should not be substituted with coconut milk. I used Boiron brand puree.

I love making various mousse cakes for special occasions. On the ever expanding mousse recipe list I have added this version. A Neapolitan ice cream translated into a delicate mousse cake. The recipe in this post may seem lengthy, but it’s rather a quick operation. The recipe is broken down into five parts for quick execution. I am particular about recipes like this for their ability to be altered, taking bits and pieces for other dessert creations.

If you prefer a chocolatier base for this dessert you can use your own chocolate cake recipe or use this chocolate cake recipe. The chocolate sponge is slightly drier than an average cake. Would simple chocolate liqueur syrup add a tender moistness to the sponge, most definitely?

The crowning glory of this dessert is the chocolate glaze and chocolate curls. Artistic renditions in chocolate have always been an amazement of mine. A medium that can take many forms from imitating supple drapes of velvet to the mirror like finishes of tempered chocolate.Chocolate Sponge Cake

1 cup pastry flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup whole milk

1/3 cup safflower oil

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Prepare a 12”x8” pan by coating with butter and line with parchment paper. Whisk together pastry flour, sugar, baking powder and sea salt together. Set aside. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup combine milk, oil, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat egg whites in another bowl until frothy, add cream of tartar. Continue beating until egg whites have reached soft peaks. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking for a few minutes. Fold in half of the egg whites. Repeat with the remaining whites. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula, bake for 18 minutes. The sponge cake is done when it springs bake when you press the center. Cool for a few minutes and invert onto a parchment lined cooling rack.

Once the cake has cooled it is time for a quick trim and setting up the “frame.” The recipe here makes an eleven and a half inch by seven and a half inch base. The only reason I have trimmed the cake is for a neater profile.

The “frame” is the framework the mousse will use to create the cake. Using cake board material cut out two 7 ½ inch by 2 ¾ inch pieces and two 12 inch by 2 ¾ inch pieces. Tape the edges together creating a frame that will wrap around the cake. Trim where needed so the cake fits just inside.

Vanilla Mousse

4 cups heavy cream

1 cups granular sugar

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

½ cup cool water

½ cup heavy cream, slightly warmed

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cool water and allow to bloom. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat just before soft peaks form. The consistency will still have soft peaks but they droop a little more. You want to stop at this point because the folding in of the gelatin will work the cream further. Heat the gelatin over simmering water. You want it to be hot enough to activate, it should take a few minutes and the gelatin will dissolve. Remove from heat and warm the remaining cream. The cream should be slightly warmer than room temperature. Combine the gelatin and warmed cream. Pour this mixture over the whipped cream and fold in. Next, pour vanilla mouse over the cake and spread evenly. Chill for an hour to set mousse.

Strawberry Mousse

3 cups cream, whipped to soft peaks

1 ½ cups strawberry purée

3 ¾ teaspoons gelatin

¾ cup water, cool

Bring strawberry puree to a boil and remove from heat; cool. Don’t skip this step; the acids in the fruit need to be cooked a bit so the cream will not curdle. Place gelatin over the cool water and allow to bloom. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the cream. Beat until soft peaks form as before. Heat the gelatin over simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the warm strawberry puree. Next fold the gelatin/puree mixture into the whipped cream and spread onto the vanilla mousse already completed. Chill cake again until set.

 

Chocolate Glaze

 

½ cup cream

½ cup granular sugar

2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 ½ teaspoon honey

 

½ cup cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the cream, sugar, butter and honey in a small saucepan until melted. Sift in cocoa powder and stir until smooth; stir in extract. Set aside. If the glaze is lumpy, strain.

Remove the cake from the chiller and run a warm knife around the cake to remove the cake board; discard. The cake can be moved to a serving platter with the use of spatulas. Better yet, place the cake and frame on the chosen platter for ease. Spread the chocolate glaze over the top allowing it to run over just a bit. Decorate with chocolate curls.

 Chocolate Curls

1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

Melt chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water until melted. Pour the chocolate over the back of a sheet pan that has been warmed slightly and spread thinly. Place the pan in the refrigerator until cold. Now this is the tricky part of making the curls, but one that you will find out to be a breeze. Bring the pan out and place it on the work surface. Allow the pan and chocolate to warm up a bit. Try testing if the chocolate will curl by using a spatula to scrape the chocolate off the pan. If the chocolate is to cold it will chip and if it is too warm it will melt on the spatula. Once you are able to make curls, scrape away and place them on a wax paper lined pan immediately and chill until they harden.

Now that you have a pretty dessert ready for you guests, you can cut it up into twelve nice size pieces. Dip a sharp knife in hot water to make clean slices. Something I like to do with desserts with decorations is to place them in the center of each piece so that the carving of the dessert doesn’t damage the decorations such as the chocolate curls.

So that concludes my recipe for Neapolitan mousse cake, hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

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