White Chocolate, Rosewater and Hazelnut Mousse

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big dessert guy. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and baking is often too much of a science and not enough of an art for my taste. That said, I do have a certain fondness for mousse. It epitomizes many of my favorite culinary philosophies: it isn’t unduly complicated but does require hard work; it’s easy to learn but requires skill and effort to master; and, most importantly, it can serve as a canvas for a variety of creative flavors.

This mousse recipe brings that final philosophy to bear by combining several unique ingredients to create a winning dish. It starts with a base of white chocolate that provides a delightfully sweet canvas for the rest of the flavor palette. It doesn’t have a particular strong taste in and of itself, but it does resist being overpowered by the real star of this dish: rosewater.

Rosewater is a byproduct of producing the rose oil used in perfume. It has very little flavor by itself – only a slight bitterness really – but smells powerfully of roses (duh). It’s most commonly used in Iranian cuisine, but as far as I’m concerned it ought to be commonplace all over the globe.

The rosewater provides a strong, floral aroma that makes this a strikingly unique dish, while the sweetness of the white chocolate conceals any hint of bitterness. The texture and flavor are rounded out with a sprinkling of hazelnuts over the top. They provide a nutty, lightly roasted and slightly sweet taste while adding the perfect crunch to offset the creaminess of the mousse.

Although delicious under any circumstance, this dish is best served at the end of a cozy dinner for two. If you really want to impress a date, skip the restaurant and serve up this mousse instead!

White Chocolate, Rosewater and Hazelnut Mousse

  • 2/3 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 egg, separated into whites and yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup rosewater
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

 

  1. Set up a double boiler by placing a stainless steel bowl over a pot with 1 inch of water in it. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Bring to a simmer at medium-low heat and place the white chocolate chips inside to melt. Watch them carefully and stir them regularly to ensure they don’t burn. Once they have melted, remove them from heat.
  2. While waiting for the chips to melt, place the egg whites and sugar unto a bowl together. Whisk vigorously until the eggs double in volume and reach soft peaks.
  3. In another bowl whisk the heavy cream until it thickens and doubles in volume. Add the egg yolks to this bowl and fold them into the heavy cream. (It is important to be gentle during this process and fold rather than stir the mixture by scooping under to the bottom of the bowl and moving the contents to the side, up, then back over. Simply stirring it will result in the mousse losing its characteristic fluffiness.)
  4. Add the whipped egg whites, melted white chocolate and rosewater to the heavy cream mixture and fold until evenly distributed.
  5. Empty the mousse into a vessel of your choosing and allow to chill for at least three hours, preferably overnight. To serve, sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top.
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