Vegan white chocolate mousse with strawberry compote
POSTED ON April 26, 2016
The fact that the flavor origin of this mousse is elusive, makes it that much more enticing. The almond milk, vanilla and cardamom make it fragrant while the texture is delicately enriched with raw cacao butter. Since everyone who got a sample agrees it’s delicious, I thought I’d share the recipe with you. The secret ingredient here is cooked pears. Though you may not expect to find pears in a white chocolate mousse, I discovered in the process of making this that they provide a wonderful creamy texture and a gentle sweetness that marries perfectly with the other ingredients. They also make the dessert satisfying yet still refreshing and healthy since there is no other added sweetener. Yes, you read it correctly, this really is a mousse you can feel good about.
Cacao butter adds a velvety richness to desserts while delivering a very subtle cacao flavor without the brown color. Here, it is melted into almond milk—which is first infused with crushed cardamom pods and vanilla beans. Everything then gets well blended to emulsify in an upright blender. This is an important step as the cacao butter needs to be thoroughly blended, otherwise it will be gritty once it’s chilled.
Good quality cacao butter is made by fermenting and drying cacao beans which are then peeled and cold pressed into a paste before separating the fiber from the oil. The oil solidifies at 95 degrees Fahrenheit and becomes 100% cacao butter. Raw cacao butter that hasn’t been treated with chemical solvents is high in antioxidants and omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand for enriching hot drinks, especially hot chocolate made with cacao powder. Just add a few shavings and stir to dissolve or blend for a foamy texture. Delicious!
This mouse lends its self well to any topping, I can imagine roasted stone fruits or any berry compote would be great, as would a chocolate or caramel sauce. I used frozen strawberries and added a touch of maple to sweeten the compote; however, once the local strawberries arrive you could just slice them and enjoy them fresh.
I hope you get a chance to try it soon!
Vegan white chocolate mousse with cardamom and vanilla and strawberry compote
Since cacao butter can be found molded into different shapes, I have used a weight measurement. I recommend using homemade almond milk here as the flavor is naturally sweet and delicate and won’t overpower the other subtle flavors. Since strawberries are not yet in season, I opted for using frozen plus I like the way the cooked compote mingles with the rich vanilla flecked mousse.
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk, divided
1 tablespoon agar flakes
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds reserved
10 cardamom pods, crushed
¾ (3 1/2 oz/100g) cup raw cacao butter
2 cups peeled and diced pears
¼ cup filtered water
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 10oz package frozen strawberries (about 2 cups), defrosted
2 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon arrowroot
1 teaspoon filtered water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the mousse:
Add almond milk, agar, vanilla bean pod and cardamom to a small pot and bring to a simmer over high heat, whisking frequently. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until all the agar has dissolved. Whisk in cacao butter, re-cover pot and set aside while you prepare the pears.
Add pears, water and salt to a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until pears are cooked through. Dissolve arrowroot in remaining tablespoon almond milk and stir into simmering pears. Once mixture has thickened remove from heat and add to an upright blender along with vanilla extract and reserved vanilla bean seeds. Stir almond milk mixture to be sure the cacao has melted then strain it into the blender with the pears. Discard the cardamom and vanilla bean pod. Blend mixture on high speed until completely combined. Pour into a bowl and place in the fridge until completely cool and set, at least two hours and up to overnight. Remove from fridge and whisk until smooth. Return to fridge until ready to serve.
Make the strawberries:
Cut strawberries in half and add to a small pot along with any liquid that forms when they are defrosting. Add maple syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, stir and cook for one minute. Dissolve arrowroot in water and drizzle into simmering strawberries, once mixture has thickened remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool before serving.
Spoon mousse into small bowls, glasses or teacups and top with a generous spoonful of strawberries, serve immediately.