Passion-Fruit Mousse

From Nelson’s Kitchen

This is my own version of a very popular Brazilian dessert. The most common and simpler version of this dish simply mixes sweet condensed milk, whipped cream and bottled passion fruit juice. Here I start with a custard base and omit the heavy clean for a much more complex and interesting dish. This version is dairy free. It can be prepared with milk and butter instead of almond milk and margarine. The custard base for this recipe is the cream that I learned to make from Bebe Brown, Scott’s grandmother, in her kitchen in Oklahoma in the 1990s. She always made perfect cream pies. In one of the Christmas holidays I stood behind her and took notes as she prepared a pie from memory. Later I replaced the milk and butter for almond milk and margarine, added the gelattin, passion-fruit juice, beaten egg whites, to transform it in this dairy free mousse.

  1. Mix the base for the cream
    • In a heavy saucepan mix with a whisk the flour, corn starch, salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar
    • Measure the almond milk in a microwave-safe measuring container.
    • Add droplets of cold almond milk into the flour mixture stirring with the whisk until you have a thin paste.
    • Warm the remainder of the almond milk in the microwave until it is very hot.
  2. Prepare Gelatin Base
    • In a small dish sprinkle the gelatin over the passion fruit pulp and let stand.
  3. Temper the Yolks
    • Separate the eggs putting yolks in a small dish and whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.
    • Break the yolks with a fork
    • When the almond milk is very hot, add droplets of the hot almond milk into the yolks stirring constantly so that they do not curdle
    • Add enough hot almond milk to make the yolks fluid — about 1/3 of a cup.
  4. Cook the Mousse Base
    • While mixing vigorously with the whisk, pour a stream of the hot almond milk over the flour mixture and then pour all the hot almond milk in.
    • Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly initially with the whisk and later when it gets thicker switch to a flat wooden soon.
    • Continue cooking until the mixture is bubbling gently.
    • Turn off the fire.
    • While constantly stirring pour the mix of egg yolks and milk in a slow stream.
    • Mix the passion fruit pulp and gellatin into the base.
  5. Strain the Mousse Base
    • Place a large coarse strainer over a large bowl.
    • Pour the mousse base on the strainer and use a rubber spatula to push it through the strainer.
  6. Finish the Mousse Base
    • Add the margarine and stir until it melts.
    • Add the vanilla to the mousse and stir.
    • Let the base cool, stirring from time to time, until it is only warm to the touch.
  7. Beat and incorporate the Egg Whites (1) — simpler way
    • Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites.
    • Beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
    • Continuing beating while slowly pouring the remainder 1/2 cup of sugar into the egg whites.
  8. Beat and incorporate the Egg Whites (2) — variation for a more stable mousse
    • Mix the egg whites with the sugar in the bowl of a mixer.
    • Either put over the fire or over a pot of boiling water.
    • Beat the egg whites and sugar with a wire whisk over the heat until the mixture is very hot. If you are using the same whisk that you used for the base, make sure to wash it carefully before you use it in the egg whites. Even small amounts of fat may prevent the egg whites from gaining volume.
    • Transfer to the mixer and beat into a merengue until it forms soft peaks.
  9. Fold Egg Whites into Mousse Base
    • First add about one cup of the egg whites into the mousse base and stir with a spatula to lighten the base.
    • Add the remainder whites and fold into the base with a spatula making a sequence of moves where you pull the base from the bottom of the bowl and rotate the bowl until the whites are completely incorporated.
    • Put either in individual serving dishes or in a serving platter and let it chill before serving.