I love mousse. I first fell in love with it in Paris. As you do, of course. I was somewhere in my late tens or early teens. I don’t remember. What I remember is that the Parisian cafe where I sat with my parents brought out a tub of mousse, a dish, and two spoons. You were to serve yourself and only yourself. You were to be restrained. I was American.
Back a home, in the States, my mom would buy the packaged mousse that just required good milk and a better whisking. It was never the same as Paris, but I was satisfied with this lackluster replacement well into late twenties. It took about twenty years before I ever attempted to make mousse and once I did, it’s luster and other worldliness dissipated. I still revel when I see it on menus and often order it when given the chance, but knowing that I can confidently whip up a batch on a whim gives it’s reserved Parisian hold a little less strain. There is still a package of the instant stuff in my pantry. I’ll probably never use it nor will I throw it away. It’s comforting to be rifling around in the dark corner of my cupboards looking for quinoa or a can of black beans and happen upon the brown, thin cardboard box and instantaneously be placed back in a Paris cafe, my parents looking at my wide eyes and drooling mouth as the thin parisian waiter floats a vat of heaven toward my tween-aged self.
And now all grown up and not so wide eyed, I’ve played with my knowledge of stiff egg whites and whipped cream. Summer is blueberries and blueberries at their best are lemon accented. Such is this mousse. It makes a Parisian sized vat so call you friends. Have them serve themselves. Tell them it’s the way the Parisians do it (don’t mention it’s less work for you!). Bon appetit!
- 2 pints fresh blueberries
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon, divided
- 8 tbsp sugar, divided
- 4 egg whites
- 4 pints chilled heavy cream
- ¾ package of gingersnaps
- Rinse the blueberries and place 1½ pints along with the lemon zest, half of the lemon juice and 4 tbsps. of sugar in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a rolling boil and let it boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 45 mins. Remove from burner and let cool.
- Strain the blueberry sauce through a strainer or a fine colander. Place the strained sauce in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
- Whip the 4 egg whites with an eletric mixer to dry, stiff peaks. This should take 5-7 minutes and the egg whites should form a peak when the beaters are removed. The peaks should not be too shiny or fall over in a curve at the top. The peak should be straight up. This is important as we are adding liquid with the blueberry sauce and lemon juice. Too much liquid and too soft peaks equals a runny mousse.
- Whip the chilled heavy cream and 4 tbsps. of sugar to stiff peaks. Careful not to turn this to butter. When the cream holds peaks, it is ready.
- Mix the blueberry sauce and the other half of lemon juice into the whipped cream.
- Fold half the egg whites at a time into the blueberry cream. Careful with folding as the egg whites add the lightness to the mousse.
- Pulse 20-30 gingersnaps in a food processor to uniform crumbs.
- Spoon layers of gingersnap crumbs and mousse in glasses ending with a sprinkle of crumbs on top of the mousse. Garnish with extra gingersnaps and blueberries. These are generous servings.