And this is it, the goal of the whole meal… or so my inner 5-year old self would say. You might wonder what possessed me to slap a “BBQ” sticker onto a deliciously fluffy and fruity mousse like this one. Sure, I could tell you there’s nothing better than a chilled cloud of fruity creaminess to finish off a hot and heavy evening around the coals, but true as that might be, it’s not my reason for picking this particular mousse to finish off this year’s BBQ special. If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you’ve probably been witness to hubby and me falling in love with the island of Madeira.
Whatever we could wish for in regards to nature, landscape, people, culture and, of course, cuisine, Madeira has it. All of the above are a bit rough around the edges, but once you care to take a closer look, all of them are as beautiful as the multitude of flowers growing everywhere, multi-facetted as the different climate zones turning a small island into a mini-planet earth and rich in every aspect that counts. Madeira’s local cuisine’s bottom line is simple: quality over quantity, no chichi. Fish straight from the hook into the fire, fresh bread, grass-and-herb fed beef, tomatoes, garlic, a handful of herbs and salt. Fire. More fresh garlic. More fire, a potato and lots of wine. And then some. And something involving passionfruit to pop the last resilient button at the end. Since our first trip to Madeira, that undeniably delicious scent typical of basically every BBQ anywhere in the world, the combined aromas of smoldering coals, meat and fish being turned over the flames and roasted garlic, immediately triggers that pesky little travel bug within me and conjures up memories of many a delicious meal on the island. So, with my neurons re-wired like that, of course I think “Madeira” when a BBQ-shindig is about to go down and, of course, I always try to bring something to the table to convey that “Mmhmmadeira” to everyone else at the table. Hence the charred BBQ sticker on the fruit mousse~
Despite not caring that much for desserts, but thanks to my not-so-secret love affair with passionfruits, I had quite the number of different passionfruity desserts in my life so far, on and off the island, but the one that truly rocked my world of desserts was placed in front of me – you’ve guessed it – in a “I want to move in and never leave again” kind of restaurant in Funchal, Madeira’s capital city. The place, appropriately named “Beef and Wines”, had just done an excellent job at pushing my tummies’ limits with the best Rib Eye steak I ever had when the waiter arrived with the dessert I had ordered and immediately forgotten all about. A Passionfruit Mousse. I knew that recreating this one at home – and cut off some of the calories while I was at it – would be one serious piece of work, and I was right. It took several moussey weaklings and lumpy passionfruit soups until I simply gave up on the light(er) and/or cream-version and went with what I had suspected the second my braincells had rebooted after that first spoonful of heavenly dessert hit my tastebuds all those years ago. Condensed milk, sugared no less. That moment when you hit the mark flawlessly and end up asking yourself whether to jump around in shere joy or dig out the most colorful curses hidden away in the “NoNo!” area of your headspace and let rip…? Well hell. For once, screw calories, wish the one who invented them a string of nice future lives as a dungbeetle, whip up this one on a treat-yourself day and enjoy~ Here’s my version of the perfect Madeiran Passionfruit Mousse, best served after a juicy, coal-kissed steak~!
The Passionfruit Mousse
300g Sweetened Condensed Milk
300g Whipping Cream
Enough fresh Maracujas, about 5-6 should do, to net you 250ml Passionfruit Pulp – scrape them out into a sieve sitting on a convenient bowl to catch the juice. A rubber spatula will help you with the task of convincing the seeds to let go of the pulp surrounding them. Once the juice and pulp has made its way through the sieve into the bowl, keep about half of the seeds, discard the rest.
Alt: Maracuja Juice – make sure it’s the real deal and not the juice made from concentrate.
4 leaves of Gelatine
2 fresh Maracujas in addition to the ones you’ve used for the pulp
1 Tbsp Dark Honey
½ Lime, Juice
1) Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 mins.
2) Add 5 Tbsp of the juice to a small pot and set it onto low heat.
3) As the juice is heating up, stir in the honey and lime juice until the honey has dissolved completely.
4) Once that’s done, squeeze out the gelatine leaves and stir them into the contents of your pot until they too have completely dissolved.
5) Take the pot off the heat and allow the mixture to cool down a bit.
6) Meanwhile, place the remaining juice and the condensed milk in a mixing bowl and whirr them into a foamy cloud with the help of electrical whisks. You could also try this in a blender, but a simple bowl is so much easier to clean… This takes a while, so don’t worry if it behaves differently to what you’re accustomed to in the cream-department.
7) Add the gelatine mixture and give the mix another round with the whisks.
8) While you’ve got the magic whisking gizmo in your hands, take care of the cream as well – add it to a second bowl and whisk it into stiff peaks.
9) Gently fold the cream into the milk mixture with a rubber spatula.
10) Pour the proto-mousse into dessert bowls, glasses or whatever else you can think of to underline the color of the mousse, then pop them into the fridge for 4 or more hours.
11) Garnish the servings with the contents of your spare passionfruit and a hint of mint- or lemon balm leaves.
To try and give you the full picture – no pun intended~ – have a spoonful of the mousse, image this scene and …