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French froth

Discover the story and our mouth-watering recipe

12 April 2022

Friends of Erre4m welcome to this new post. Today we are going to talk about the dessert that has literally invaded the world of spoon desserts...the MOUSSE.

Mousse is a sweet or savoury culinary product. Its name betrays its French origin, which translates into Italian as spuma. In fact, in the last century, this was the name given to it.

Mousse is the fruit of the creativity of French chefs; 18th century cookery manuals already attest to its success in the circles of the transalpine elite. Mousse soon became popular among the aristocratic classes, the only ones who had an icebox, which was essential for its preparation.

The name is appropriate to describe its frothy consistency obtained by whipping or melting the basic ingredients, adding an airy element such as cream and egg white or egg yolk, and stabilising it with gelatine sheets. During its tasting, the foam melts and slowly releases its flavour.

The mousse should normally be stored in the refrigerator and eaten at 4-10°C as its stability at these temperatures is due to the presence in the recipe of either chocolate or gelatine in sheets.

We can divide the components of mousse into four categories, let's see them:

  1. THE BASE. This is the part that generates the consistency and sweet fraction of the mousse and its average percentage is 25%. It can consist of Italian meringue,  
  2. THE TASTE. This is the fraction of the mousse that characterises the dessert and its average percentage is 35%. The characterising taste can be given by pureed fruit, various types of chocolate coating, dried fruit pastes (almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc.), flavouring pastes (coffee, amaretto, torroncino, etc.), liqueurs.
  3. THICKENERS. This is the fraction used to adjust the consistency of the cake so that it remains soft but stable for spooning. Its average percentage is 1%. The main thickener is gelatine in sheets or isinglass as it allows it to be used at average low temperatures (35-40°C) and stabilises at consumption and storage temperatures (10°C).
  4. GLOSSY OR SEMI-WHIPPED CREAM. Its average percentage is 40%. Cream is the ingredient that, together with the egg foam, introduces air and thus softness and lightness to the dessert. In addition to these characteristics, cream brings flavour thanks to its good fat content (35%). The term 'glossy cream' refers to the whipping stage in which the product begins to thicken and acquire a slight consistency. At this point, we are halfway through the whipping process and therefore semi-whipped, the surface of the cream is evidently shiny... hence polished cream.  The use of semi-whipped cream has more advantages.

Knowing now the ingredients that make up the body of the mousse, I wanted to analyse with you the end result of combining them.

  1. Italian meringue + pureed fruit or various chocolates or flavoured pastes + gelatine sheets + semi-whipped cream = give as end result a very light mousse, fresh to the palate 
  2. Pate a bombe + various chocolate or fruit flavouring pastes + jelly in sheets + semi-whipped cream = give as end result a very light mousse, fresh on the palate 
  3. Custard cream + Italian meringue + pureed fruit or various chocolate or flavoured pastes or liqueur + jelly in sheets + semi-whipped cream = give as end result a slightly creamy, tasty and structured mousse.
  4. Custard cream + Italian meringue + pureed fruit or various chocolates or flavouring pastes or liqueur + jelly sheets + semi-whipped cream = give as end result a creamy, fluffy and tasty mousse.

As we have seen, the composition of mousses is simple and so is their preparation, which we can divide into three types:

  1. FRUIT MOUSSE: to prepare fruit mousses, gently incorporate the Italian meringue with the fruit purée heated to 40°C without disassembling it; add the gelatine heated to 45-50°C, taking care that it does not 'pull'; finish with the polished cream
  2. CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: melt the chocolate according to the type (50°C dark, 45°C milk, 42°C white); melt a small amount of semi-whipped cream with gelatine sheets at 45-50°C and emulsify it in the chocolate; delicately add the egg foam (meringue or paté a bombe); finish with the polished cream. For chocolate mousse, a decisive factor for success is the temperature of the product when adding the semi-whipped cream. Since the polished cream has a fridge temperature when it is added, we must ensure that the chocolate and egg foam mixture does not have a temperature below 38-40°C
  3. MOUSSE WITH CHARACTERISING FLAVORS: mix the custard or custard heated to 35°C with the characterising flavours (dried fruit pastes or other flavours, liqueurs or spirits); add the melted gelatine at 45-50°C; gently add the Italian meringue; allow the mixture to cool to 28°C then add the polished cream

It is recommended for the success of the mousse that the whipped ingredients are ready to use and that the mixing of all the parts is done in rapid sequence in order to maintain the temperatures.

I leave you with the mother recipe for mousses:

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE for a 20cm diameter mould
147g 70% dark chocolate
108g Italian meringue
4g gelatine sheets
335g glossy cream



Blog by Enrico Gumirato pastry chef