Strawberry Mousse – A Summer Classic

Strawberry Mousse - Sugar Coated Baking

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t turned my oven on in almost 2 weeks now. I do sometimes use the stove, but only when necessary. This heat wave makes me not only want to eat salad, sip iced coffee and lick ice cream all day long, but also keeps me away from the kitchen.

I should say that I love the heat. I love the sun and I have managed to either take walks during lunch time at work, or to eat my hummus\avocado\alfalfa sprout sandwich on the rooftop patio of my building while reading. I am not an a\c type of lady. My man, however, would rather be skiing in the snow right now than to have to deal with the humid heat.

In fact, the other day while I was at work, he took on a mission to block every window of our apartment from any sunlight. When I got back from work, he looked at me proudly while showing me blankets hanging from the window frame. I suddenly wondered if that is how serial killers decorate their houses.

So, to keep the peace in our relationship, I agreed to live in the dark for a while with full a\c on AT ALL TIMES (I am so scared for our next hydro bill). I didn’t cook too much either, keeping the activity in the kitchen to a minimum. It actually came to a point where Jacob asked me if I was trying to slowly get us to be vegetarians. Our only meals being kale salads and veggie wraps. Note: Jacob discovered he doesn’t like kale which means I had lots of kale to eat by myself.

This week was my first week back from almost 3 weeks vacation and I have to admit it was not a smooth comeback. It was busy and I didn’t want to screw up. So this morning, when I woke up, all I could think about was making dessert. I needed to measure some sugar and whip some cream. But even if the heat has been less intense in the past two days, I was not about to put the oven at 350F for 50 minutes to bake a pie, even if that’s what I was craving for.

I got up a 8:30 a.m. and looked in the fridge. Sitting on the first shelf were some beautiful small strawberries from a local farm. I had some eggs, some cream…and it just became obvious that I was heading toward doing strawberry mousse.

Strawberry Mousse - Sugar Coated Baking

Strawberry mousse is something my mom taught me how to do when I was a kid. It is probably the easiest recipe she taught me to do. She would whip up 2 egg whites, add some sugar (to taste) and cut strawberries (to taste), whisk it all together and voilà! With time my version slightly changed but you could use my mom’s recipe to make your mousse and I guarantee it would be delicious.

This strawberry mousse doesn’t need any gelatine either, which keeps it very creamy and smooth. I use Gordon Ramsay’s method for my mousse – make a batch of pâte à bombe, a recipe of Italian meringue, and whip some cream and it becomes a rich mousse. It is fluffy, but at the same time, I don’t think you could eat a big bowl of it. This recipe makes a lot of mousse so make sure when doing it to have some people around you to share with. It is delicious served with fresh mint leaves. And the best part of this recipe is that you don’t need to use your oven!

You will need:

For the Pâte à bombe (recipe by Gordon Ramsay):
100 ml of water
3/4 cup (150 grams) of sugar
5 egg yolks, room temperature

For the Italian meringue base (recipe by Gordon Ramsay)
2/3 cup (120 grams) of sugar
1 teaspoon of corn syrup
2 tablespoons of water
2 egg whites, room temperature

About 2 1/2 cups of strawberries, cut and mashed until the fruits are in purée
200 ml of heavy cream, whipped until softly stiff

In a pot, bring 100 ml of water and 150 grams of sugar to a boil. Let it boil about 5 minutes until the temperature reaches 120 degree C. This is your sugar syrup.

In the meanwhile, whisk your egg yolks until they are pale and fluffy.

Incorporate the sugar syrup to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until the mixture get thick, then transfer your bowl onto a pan of boiling water (bain-mari) and keep whisking for another 5 minutes. You want the texture to be very thick. Transfer your bowl onto a flat surface and keep whisking until your bather is room temperature. This is called pâte à bombe.

Strawberry Mousse - Sugar Coated Baking

Once that is done, in a new bowl bring to a boil 120 grams of sugar, the corn syrup and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Once again, bring to 120 degree C.

In the meanwhile, whisk your egg white until they are fluffy and make soft peek. Incorporate your hot sugar syrup and keep whisking until the egg whites are room temperature. This is Italian meringue base.

Beat your puréed strawberry to your pâte à bombe, then fold in the Italian meringue base. Finally, fold in delicately some whipped cream. Transfer to small bowls or glasses and leave in the fridge to set for about 2-3 hours. Enjoy!

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