Airy and fresh: Mousse a special summer treat

Derived from a French word, mousse means “lather” or “foam.” Depending on how it is prepared, it can range from light and fluffy to creamy and thick. I love to eat it in the summer and of course chocolate mousse is one of my favorites.

With a few exceptions, all chocolate mousse recipes have two ingredients – chocolate and egg white, which is whipped into foam and then added to melted chocolate to provide the light and foamy texture.

To this, depending on the recipe, additional ingredients can be added to change the taste and texture of the dessert. Here’s where your creativity can speak. Common examples are:

Sugar  Mainly to make the dessert sweeter, as dark chocolate can otherwise be too bitter for most people.
Cream This gives the dessert a softer and lighter texture. For recipes using dark chocolate (some use white chocolate), this ingredient makes the dessert taste more like milk chocolate than dark chocolate.

Egg yolks Add a rich taste to the dessert, plus uses the yolks left over after one has used the egg whites.
Butter Like egg yolks, it adds richness to the dessert.

Flavorings Many different flavorings can be added, the most popular are vanilla, orange and coffee. One could argue that this is not “authentic” chocolate mousse, but if people enjoy it, why not introduce some variety?

Decoration After the dessert is prepared, decoration is sometimes added to the top. Most commonly, this is flakes or sticks of chocolate, which not only is visually interesting but also adds contrast (in both taste and texture) between the chocolate flakes and the underlying chocolate mousse. Other common decorations are cream or berries (raspberries and strawberries are often used). A less common but elegant addition are mint leaves.


Easy Chocolate Mousse

1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare the pudding in a large bowl using 1 1/2 cups milk instead of the suggested 2 cups.
Fold in the whipped topping until blended. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse

8 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups whipping cream, whipped

In a microwave or double boiler, heat chocolate, 1/4 cup water and butter until the chocolate and butter are melted. Cool for 10 minutes. In a small heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, sugar and remaining water. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat; whisk in chocolate mixture. Set saucepan in ice and stir until cooled, about 5-10 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into dessert dishes. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Lemon Mousse Pie

1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked
1 (.25 ounce) package unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup confectioners powdered sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

In a saucepan, combine gelatin, lemon juice and water. Stir over medium heat until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in grated lemon zest. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat until smooth. Blend in gelatin mixture. Refrigerate 15 minutes until thick.
Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spoon filling into baked pie crust. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Cranberry Mousse

1 cup Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
1 (3 ounce) package raspberry-flavored gelatin
1 (14 ounce) can Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
2 cups frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

Heat cranberry juice cocktail to boiling in a saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in raspberry gelatin until dissolved; transfer to a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cranberry sauce in a small bowl for 1 minute. Stir into gelatin mixture. Chill until mixture begins to thicken, but not set.
Gently mix in whipped topping, using a rubber scraper. Spoon into serving dishes or prepared pie shell. Chill until firm.