Friday, March 9, 2012

Yogurt Mousse with Hibiscus Berry Gelée

The winter’s earth tones of chocolate, caramel and nuts are supremely delicious but every year right about this time I feel the urge for a splash of color. My calendar tells me that the first day of spring is March 20, so there is definitely something in the air. And as the new season approaches, it’s exciting to anticipate the bright palette of fresh strawberries, apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, figs and plums. So, in search of that brilliant spectrum, I bought some berries to brighten our table.

I love the lightness of yogurt mousse in combination with a cool gelée. This particular colorful mix incorporates the natural deep red hue of hibiscus flowers, also known as flor de Jamaica, to make a strong sweet tea. Then I just toss in a few raspberries and blackberries to brighten the flavor, add to the texture and deepen the color. In combination with a creamy mousse, it's a good way to transition to the longer and brighter days ahead. Incredibly simple to put together, it delivers a good dose of sunshine as the last days of winter fall away.

Here’s to the rapid approach of a gorgeous and fruitful spring!!

Bench notes:
- The hibiscus tea needs to be pretty sweet to counteract the tartness of the berries.
- When blooming gelatin, sprinkle the gelatin powder slowly into cold water rather than pouring water onto powdered gelatin, which causes the gelatin to form clumps that will not dissolve and will ruin the texture of the final product. Once you’ve added the gelatin to the water, do not stir. The gelatin and water mixture will turn opaque and look sort of like applesauce. When ready to proceed with incorporating it into the recipe, heat gently to liquefy so it can be combined smoothly and thoroughly with the dessert mixture. So it goes like this: gelatin powder sprinkled slowly into cold water becomes gel and then is transformed into liquid and combined with the ingredients, which are then chilled to set up.
- I don't recommend liquefying bloomed gelatin in a microwave because it will have a tendency to boil, which ruins it.
- To avoid splashing or spilling, I use a large glass measuring cup to pour the hibiscus gelée into the glasses.
- When you add the berries to the gelée, nudge them with your fingertip so they’ll submerge.
- Substitute your favorite colorful juice or tea for the hibiscus, such as rooibos tea or pomegranate juice. As always, adjust sugar to taste.

Yogurt Mousse with Hibiscus Berry Gelée

Serves 4 - 6

Yogurt Mousse

2 T cold water
1 1/2 t gelatin
2 C (16 oz) plain yogurt
1/2 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1 t lemon juice, to taste
1 C heavy cream

Hibiscus Gelée

3 T hibiscus tea leaves
2 C boiling water
1/4 C sugar
2 T honey
1/2 t lemon juice
1 3” strip of orange peel
2 T cold water
1 1/2 t gelatin

6 oz package of raspberries or blackberries or a mixture of the two

For the Yogurt Mousse, bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it into a small cup containing 2 tablespoons of cold water. Do not stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes until the water fully absorbs the powder.

Whisk together the yogurt and sugar. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and combine thoroughly.
Whip the heavy cream just to a very soft peak.
Liquefy the gelatin by placing the bottom of the cup in a small saucepan with about an inch of simmering water.
Add the liquefied gelatin to the yogurt mixture and blend thoroughly.
Fold in the whipped cream.
Pour into 4 – 6 serving glasses or cups.
Chill for about 2 hours.

When the Yogurt Mousse has set up, begin the preparation of the Hibiscus Gelée.

Place the hibiscus tea leaves in a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the tea. Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice and orange peel and steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a clean bowl.

Place 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small dish. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom. Liquefy the gelatin by placing the bottom of the cup in a small saucepan with about an inch of simmering water. Add the liquefied gelatin to the hibiscus tea and whisk thoroughly. Pour onto the set Yogurt Mousse and distribute the berries in each serving. Refrigerate about 2 - 3 hours or until set.


Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful.
And so simple.
Happy Spring,

pastry studio said...

Hello and a very Happy Spring to you!!

Elly McCausland said...

I love how the jelly is slightly cloudy and you can just see the berries peeking through - beautiful!

Victoria said...

This is so beautiful and looks cool and delicious. It's splendid to have your careful instructions on the proper way to bloom gelatin. Thank you.

What kind of plain yogurt do you use? Do you use thick yogurt, like Greek yogurt? Do you use full-fat yogurt like Brown Cow?

And, really, did you have to mention apricots so early in the year? I try not to feel apricot deprived until summer.

pastry studio said...

Victoria, I've used Greek yogurt and other plain yogurts, both full fat and low fat, and they all seem to work well. Pick one that you especially love and you'll probably enjoy the mousse.

I can't help but wonder what kind of fruit season we'll have - I think it's just in my blood!!

Eileen said...

Your Yogurt Mousse with Grapefruit Gelee is so delicious, I wasn't looking for a variation, but oh my! This needs to go on my "must try" list.

pastry studio said...

Eileen, this one is a bit different. The hibiscus tea has a more tannic element to it and the berries are very tart. But it's still creamy and gooey.