No Excuse for Dessert: White Chocolate Mousse with Passionfruit Gelee

This is a bit of a departure for me; there is really no excuse for this dessert. I was brought up with the firm belief that a dessert requires a rationale. If it is a holiday or birthday, you go to town, fix something decadent, have a bit, and make someone else take all the leftovers home. If you are having dinner guests, you may do the same. Otherwise, something sweet should be cookies, or other easily divisible item(s), which you can dole out in small quantities, to have with your tea.

Of late, this last category has been dominated by scourtins, the incredible french olive cookies, about which I could go on and on. I will nip this digression in the bud, except to send you to the Traveler's Lunchbox for the recipe. You won't be sorry if you make these lovelies for yourself. (Note: I have simplified things by treating them as a refrigerator cookie. I form the dough into logs, chill and cut off thin slices to bake. They are so fine, and unlike anything else. Ach, I digressed after all.)

In any event there is no occasion for this dessert. Furthermore, I am not usually a one for mousse(s) and the like. I just thought this looked interesting, pretty and, frankly, easy, because of the yogurt business. I had some leftover nice white Callebaut chocolate from the candy I made, and I was interested in trying another recipe from the New Spanish Table-having been crazy for thepotato/almond soup I found there. So I made me some entirely unjustified and slightly silly-sounding White Chocolate Mousse with Passionfruit Gelee.

If you would like to make some, too, this is what you need:

plain whole milk yogurt 2 cups
white chocolate-finely chopped 7-8 oz
heavy cream 1/4 cup
unflavored gelatin 2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope)
strained passion fruit juice or frozen puree-1 cup
sugar 1/3 cup

Strain the yogurt in a colander lined with cheesecloth or a yogurt strainer to concentrate it. Leave it at least 2 hours. About 45 minutes before it is done, melt the white chocolate in the cream. Cool about 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir the chocolate into the strained yogurt until combined. Divide the mixture into 2 pretty glasses or small glass bowls,cover, and refrigerate, about 30 minutes.

Place the gelatin in a small sauce pan. Sprinkle with 2 tbsps of the passion fruit, and let it stand 5 minutes. Add remaining passion fruit and stir over a medium heat until gelatin dissolves. Add sugar. Cool to room temperature. Take the mousse from the fridge. Pour a little bit of the passion fruit jelly over each mousse. Chill until it sets up-a couple of hours. If you like, top it with shaved curls of white chocolate.

Despite its mousse-hood and white chocolate, this dessert is neither cloyingly sweet nor rich to the point of queasiness. In fact it is , a little surprisingly, a keeper. Both the yogurt and the passionfruit add tang, nicely balancing the creamy, waxy sweetness of the white chocolate. And it is, after all, half jello. I adore the taste of passionfruit, and imagine this bit of frivolity would be even better made with strained fresh juice or pulp. I couldn't find any, so made do with a bottled passionfruit nectar, diluted by the bottler with water and sugar, but with nothing untoward added. Still.

I am very impressed with this cookbook, and may have to buy it. If so, I will need to buy it on line,so that it can be delivered. I cannot possibly carry it home, it weighs a ton-and we're talking about the paperback version here. I may also need Ms. Bremzen's other cookbook, Please to the Table, a pan-Russian cookbook which comes highly recommended per pyewacket. I have no Russian cookbook,whatsoever, unless you count the wonderful memoir, Katish, in the Modern Library Food Series. I can't let this situation continue, now can I?

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