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!
London friends and readers: I will be signing books at Daylesford Farmshop in Pimlico on Saturday May 7th from 10am to 12 noon. More details here. I hope to see you there!
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.
POSTED IN Dessert, Gluten free
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Cacao butter and pears in such a lovely mouse! This sounds so unique and interesting, Amy! Thank you for the recipe, i am aldready dreaming of it!
Oh my goodness, Amy, this sounds like a totally original and creative winner! I’m not into the usual white chocolate but I could definitely get on board with your version. Love the cardamom and fresh vanilla in here and the pears. Genius!
I must make this!
Plus still not over the fact I will miss you in London. Love your book and cooking style sooooo much. Enjoy the city 🙂
This recipe sounds and looks absolutely divine! You mentioned that you’ve used a weight measurement for the cacao butter (as it is molded in different shapes), but the recipe notes only a volume measurement of 3/4 cup. Could you also list the weight measurement? I have some cacao butter on hand, so I am ready to head to the kitchen 🙂
Yes! I just updated it….thanks for noticing!
Amy, this sounds and looks so delish! I love using cacao butter in creams and drinks, too, so I´m sure I will love this mousse! Just have to get my hands on some pears so I can try it! Thanks for sharing your wonderful creations <3
Thank you for your lovely note Julia! So glad you love using cacao butter too. Have you ever baked with it?
I made cookies with cocoa butter but found it to be easily overpowered by the other flavours…maybe with another recipe I´d try again. I also used it for making the golden ginger cluster granola by goodeatings-blog (it´s so delicious, can highly recommend the recipe). I used cocoa butter instead of nut butter there and it worked well and tasted alsmost too good (that batch disappeared waaay too fast 😉
And I made the mousse from this recipe today and I absolutely love it!!! The sweetness of the pears is just perfectly pairing with the vanilla and cardamom flavours, congrats on this great recipe! And I really like the fact that it´s soyfree and not based on a heavy nut cream like cashew, because I always get digestion issues from those,…so I think this recipe will become a new favourite of mine!
Wow that just looks and sounds so mind-blowingly good!! So inspired using pears 🙂
i made a zillion changes, and it still worked!
i didn’t have enough cocoa butter so i subbed about 25% with coconut oil. also used oat milk i/o almond milk, and used green apples i/o pears. oh, and i added a tablespoon of coconut sugar, as i’d felt it could use a little extra sweetness. oh, yeah, and i used a tablespoon of gelatin instead of agar!!! (blooming it and adding it to the hot apple mixture to melt)
i bet this would make an excellent pie filling.
Thank you Amy – I made this delicious, innovative dessert for my birthday meal (following the amazing Thai curry and black rice recipe from your book – the coconut milk method is great!). This mousse is a lovely option if you are cutting down on adding sweeteners. Don’t be discouraged if the almond milk mixture splits after adding the cacao butter as I found it all comes together when blended with the pears. I loved the subtle, rich flavours of vanilla and cardamom which went wonderfully with fresh local strawberries.
Thank you for your lovely note! I love emails like these 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the unusual dessert and it’s subtleties.
Thanks for following along!
This sounds delicious Amy! Now that it’s the summer, would you recommend using fresh strawberries and would the quantity be the same?
Yes! I would slice them and toss with a few drops of vanilla and let and even a splash of orange juice. Let them sit for 15- 20 minutes then top mousse. You could use the same amount.
Let me know how it goes!
This is one for the ‘to make’ list. Can you tell me how many people this volume would look to serve? Sorry to be a pain. Thank you. TG x
What would the mesurments be for using dry Cardamon that’s already been crushed?
Sorry about the delay, I was having sign in issues! I would use very little crushed cardamom as it is so much stronger and the flavor here is nice as its subtle. Perhaps start with 1/4 teaspoon and you could always add more.
Hope you make it!
Love to try out this vegan mousse idea and wondering – is the pear added for the purpose of pectin/thickening agent or flavor?
Thanks for sharing your creativity as always!
P.S Or is it to act as a natural sweetener? 🙂