I still remember when I first tasted Miroir Cassis (a typical French blackcurrant mousse cake) a long time ago – the deep red colour and rich flavour seemed somewhat adult to me – and I obviously loved it :) I also remember when I first made the dessert from a Cordon Bleu book, hunted for frozen blackcurrants (I don’t think you could get them fresh in Japan then), trying really hard not to waste even a single currant.
I wrote about the fruit in Japan but in terms of variety we have more choice here – so I am working through my long list of must-try fruit recipes, and this was one of them. It’s yet another dessert from the Hidemi book – a variation of Miroir Cassis and he named this sous-bois. As always, I loved the idea of making individual cakes as well as the look. I started growing red and black currant trees this year – I managed to make a mini tart with my very first harvest of redcurrants, but unfortunately didn’t get enough blackcurrants and had to buy some.
To start, you need to make bavarois for the filling. Make vanilla custard, melt gelatine in, add some kirsch (cherry liqueur, optional) and lightly whipped double cream at the end. Pour onto a tray and freeze.
For the base, make almond sponge (without butter) and when spread on the tray, pipe some blackcurrant jam on top (simmer the fruit briefly in syrup and glucose, then add a little lemon juice) in wavy lines. When baked, dust with some icing sugar (this prevents the jam sticking to the moulds) and cut them into thin strips to fit half the height of the moulds. You need to bake some for the base too (without jam).
For the blackcurrant mousse, follow the same steps as making custard, but substitute the milk with blackcurrant puree (use about two thirds of the whole quantity at this point). Add the vanilla seeds into the puree, whisk into the egg/sugar mixture, then cook until it thickens. Add the gelatine and, when it melts, the rest of the puree. Add a little Créme de Cassis if you feel like it. Make Italian meringue and combine the puree, meringue and lightly whipped double cream together.
Place some fresh fruit (tossed in its own jam) into the sponge base, then pipe the blackcurrant mousse up to about two thirds of the height of the moulds. Take the bavarois out from the freezer, cut them a little smaller than the moulds’ sides and push them into the mousse. Top the moulds with the mousse and level them, then freeze (same technique here). The recipe suggests using frozen fruit puree, but I made them with fresh fruit.
Well, maybe it isn’t the easiest dessert to make, but I’m always happy when the end result looks as pretty as it tastes and I think it was worth it. Luckily my friends loved it too. I liked the combination of the tart blackcurrants and creamy bavarois, the hint of the liqueur was a nice touch also.
I know I’ve been mainly posting about fruit dessert lately but I just can’t help it – there is so much fruit you can enjoy during the summer and I feel yet another one coming up…