Silky mousses with a stable structure: a few tips and tricks
The mousse is quite possibly one of France’s most international and adapted dessert. Its texture is becoming more and more popular and chefs are using it in all kinds of recipes. Aside from the quintessential chocolate mousse, it is now quite common to find foams in savoury recipes. Its silky texture, creamy and soft, can enhance the flavours of the dish and add a unique twist.
What can go wrong?
At first sight, a mousse can seem like an easy dessert to make, but a small mistake can ruin the whole recipe. One of the most common mistakes is to not emulsify as needed at each step of the recipe. If the emulsion process is not right, some of its components could not be integrated in a uniform manner; the mousse will be too soft or have a sandy texture. An insufficient aeration of the emulsion is another common mistake; the mousse will be too heavy and thick. In this post we will show you a few tricks to help you obtain the perfect mousse structure and texture every time.
How to make the perfect mousse
Use the right ingredients
The quality of the ingredients is very important if you want to obtain a mousse with a perfect organoleptic profile (visual, taste, aroma and texture). The better the ingredients, the better the end result will be. It is important to differentiate between two types of ingredients:
- Structural ingredients: they will provide structure to the mousse, such as egg whites to supply aeration or cream to emulsify, add texture and also aerate. These have to be as fresh as possible.
- Distinctive ingredients: they add the distinctive flavour, texture and aroma of each type of mousse, such as chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. When choosing these ingredients you must take into account their composition, such as their water or fat content, so they don’t interfere with the structure you have created. Their organoleptic profile also has to be perfect and have a rich flavour that lasts after it has been combined with the structural ingredients.
If you are using dairy products, such as cream or cheese, make sure they have an adequate fat content. To obtain a stabilised and firm mousse, a fat content of at least 30% is recommended. Bear in mind that if the fat content is too high, the mousse will be too heavy.
A mousse is a multiple food emulsion with air bubbles. Protein is what holds that emulsion and air together, so you must work with products with the right fat/protein balance. This means the mousse structure will remain stable, holding the aeration, even after freezing.
Temperature is important
To achieve a perfect mousse, each ingredient has to be at a different temperature. Some of the most important ones to remember are:
- Egg whites: Due to their composition, egg whites should be at room temperature before whisking. They also have to be carefully separated from the egg yolks. Even the smallest trace of yolk can prevent the egg whites from foaming properly, as their fat content acts as an antifoaming agent.
- Cream: It must me whipped or partially whipped as chilled as possible (without freezing) as the cold improves its aeration.
To avoid deflating the whipped cream and egg whites, all other ingredients should also be cold, although some, such as cream cheese, are best at room temperature, when their texture is softer and easier to fold in.
The whipping step
The whipping process is also very important, as it can impact the texture and stability of the mousse. Some ingredients take longer than others to whip:
- Egg whites: If whipped for too long, egg whites will be too stiff and will be harder to combine with other ingredients.
- Dairy products: If we whip cream or butter for too long, the structure will be less stable, the emulsion will be lost and the texture will be grainy and unpleasant.
Mixing the ingredients
The order in which the different ingredients are combined is crucial, as they have to be folded in according to the similarities in their texture. For example, to make a chocolate mousse (when the ingredients are whipped cream, meringue and a cold chocolate cream) we would have to whisk the chocolate cream to soften it, add the meringue a little at a time to match the texture and then the whipped cream.
The best way to combine the ingredients is to do it by hand with a spatula, folding in slowly and carefully to avoid deflating the aerators. The lightest ingredient has to maintain its structure when combined with the heavier base. This will also stop any lumps from forming. To keep the mixture as light as possible, instead of making a thick and heavy cream, it is important to work minimally.
Portioning and refrigeration
All mousses have to set in a fridge for more than 2 hours before they can be served, as their structure and texture becomes more stable when cold. According to the EU health legislation, mousses can be kept for up to 5 days, but they must be stored in a fridge (around 5 °C) and in an airtight container to avoid cross-contamination.
Quescrem: a healthy and simple alternative
More and more, consumers are asking for natural products with a very low content of preservatives and artificial additives. This is one of the reasons why cream cheese has gained popularity as a mousse ingredient: as you can obtain very stable formulas with it, it is the perfect substitute for gelatine and other stabilisers or thickening agents. Cream cheese also adds a different touch to any mousse, enhancing not only its natural flavour but also that of the ingredients it is combined with. The different types of cream cheese (regular, goat, mascarpone and many more) can offer a unique and original quality to any recipe with the same silky texture.
In Quescrem’s professional range we can also find its culinary yoghurt, a perfect ingredient when making yoghurt-flavoured mousses thanks to its high fat and protein content (26% and 7.2% respectively). Because of its fat and protein balance, it can be whipped on its own and become an additional aerator for the mousse. It also has a strong yoghurt flavour even after combining it with the cream and egg whites.