The Taste of Summer

22 August 2006

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…

Food - Sweet        61 comments    Permalink

  • Beautiful Keiko! The best of summer dessert in your plate!

    Posted by Bea at La Tartine Gourmande | 22 August 2006 #
  • Wow I love your site. I check it everyday to see if u made something new. I love to bake everything I make tastes good but nothing looks as good as the stuff you make!!!

    Posted by J | 22 August 2006 #
  • Just beautiful, Keiko. I hope you don’t give up on fruit soon - I, for one, can’t get enough of your fruit posts!

    Posted by melissa | 22 August 2006 #
  • this is so beautiful! can’t wait to see your next creation!

    Posted by Kat | 22 August 2006 #
  • Leaving in a moment for Tipon - 20 minute ride from Cusco - to have roast quy ’a lo artesanal’. Just checking in for inspiration, and now wondering how I’m ever going to make a burnt guinea pig look as appetizing as cassis cake. Thank you, as always, for bringing summer to South America.

    Un abrazote, Keiko!


    Posted by Eric | 22 August 2006 #
  • Brave colors and yummy fruity taste I bet :-) You must be so happy and proud to finally able to create something from your ’own’ backyard...gardening is such a fullfilling and healing activity :-) I envy you for many things ;-) able to cook and able to garden too now...

    Posted by Maya | 22 August 2006 #
  • wow..the colour of these mouse cakes are just amazing! I love the redness of the cake and I could practicaly taste the yummy rebcurrants&blackcurrants in my mouth :) and God, how I just love the pictures! Would like to try this some time ..though, like u said, finding these kinda fruits in Japan is not easy. Maybe I’ll be creative and substitute the fruits with some other fruits available here. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions too!

    Posted by Zacky | 22 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko

    Another edible work of art! I absolutely love the look of redcurrants - they always look like little jewels, and your mousse cakes look like little jewelled boxes. The swirly picture of the puree mix had me drooling long before dessert was finished... I’m also a fan of fruit desserts but I stand in awe of your meticulousness!!

    And as always, love the cat picture snuck into the middle of the recipe :-)

    Posted by Jeanne | 22 August 2006 #
  • marvellous as usual, I’m going to make it, I love the colour andv it seems not so difficult !

    Posted by mercotte | 22 August 2006 #
  • Wow! I could eat that black currant mousse from the bowl! Your photos are extremely appetizing.

    Posted by Catherine | 22 August 2006 #
  • I am speechless. Again.

    Posted by Cenk | 22 August 2006 #
  • Wow, this is so impressive! Love the colors! I’m loving your fruit dessert posts.. keep them coming =)

    Posted by Dianka | 22 August 2006 #
  • absolutely gorgeous!

    looks delish.

    *how long have you been such an avid foodie?!


    Posted by jai | 22 August 2006 #
  • That is absolutely beautiful! Definitely worth all the effort!

    My mom used to grow red currants so we had them in many forms, but nothing like that! For a much simpler red currant dessert, (I don’t even know if you can call it that, it’s so easy) it so pour cream and sprinkle brown sugar over a bowl of red currants, delicious@

    Posted by Brilynn | 22 August 2006 #
  • Keiko,

    Your pictures are the better than the ones in the book:) I love the colors, especially in the batter pictures!

    Posted by Anita | 22 August 2006 #
  • As always, amazing!

    Posted by Mary | 22 August 2006 #
  • Stunning! All creations of yours are unforgettable masterpieces! Bravo!

    Posted by Vita | 23 August 2006 #
  • this cake is definitely worth all that effort!

    And two thumbs up for even attempting such a labourious dessert, you make it look so easy.

    Just beautiful keiko.

    Posted by jenjen | 23 August 2006 #
  • Keiko,

    You never cease to amaze me! Don’t worry about all the fruit desserts, I love it. It is certainly the season to enjoy cooking with fruit as much as possible. I would love to try blackcurrant mousse. Maybe I could attempt just that one component of the dessert. However, like you, I would probably have to grow them myself, as I have never seen fresh ones here in Florida.

    Posted by Julie | 23 August 2006 #
  • Amazing photographs, but even more important, amazing descriptions of process and flavours! It looks a bit difficult for me, but I can live vicariously through this post :)

    Posted by Ellie | 23 August 2006 #
  • Gorgeous Keiko ! Great colors. Harvesting your own redcurrants ? My jealous :-)

    Posted by krithika | 23 August 2006 #
  • agreed with everyone above, the pictures are bee-yoo-te-ful

    but i have a question, can you eat currants raw?

    i saw some at the farrmer’s market the other day and was unsure if they were suitable for salads, etc.

    ps -- sorry about the clams keiko! what about cockles?

    Posted by ann | 23 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,what a pleasure to coming back from holidays and see those amazing creations with so beautiful colours!I want so much to try your recipes but I’m afraid that it couldn’t be so perfect as yours!

    ...I’m hungry!

    Posted by moony | 23 August 2006 #
  • keiko, love the step-by-step pictures and the little sponge-mousse cakes look really delectable!

    Posted by eatzycath | 24 August 2006 #
  • Just so gorgeous as usual. Pure pleasure coming here. Thank you Keiko. Beautiful desert and I love the shape of it.

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 24 August 2006 #
  • forever summer! being made from your harvest, i’m pretty sure this going to be berry memeorable affair :). wonderful food art!

    Posted by slurp! | 25 August 2006 #
  • Mouth-wateringly beautiful! I love your impeccable taste in creating what looks to be gorgeous food not just for the palate, but also for the eye.

    Regarding cookbooks, how do you choose the ones you ultimately end up buying? I look as much here to refer to books as I do for the food entries.

    Posted by Anna Myerscough | 25 August 2006 #
  • hi keiko, your posts always bring new meaning to the phrase eating with one’s eyes, and this is no exception, of course ;) how very gorgeous! as you say, the colours of the finished dessert are simply irresistible...also, with fruit-posts as delectably different and special as yours, please, keep them coming ;)

    Posted by Joycelyn | 26 August 2006 #
  • Love your ’action shots’ keiko. You certainly make it all look easy.

    Posted by eggy | 26 August 2006 #
  • This is just beautiful.I have visited this page so many times I lost count. You are trully gifted. Thank you for such beautiful moment.

    Posted by Valentina | 26 August 2006 #
  • Wow! Gorgeous photographs as always. I’ve been away a while, I really like how you worked in some intermediate shots in this post.

    Posted by SD | 26 August 2006 #
  • You are a genius, Keiko, and a true artist. Your blog is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, in any subject area.

    Posted by Laura | 27 August 2006 #
  • When I grow up, I want to be just like you!


    Posted by ivan | 27 August 2006 #
  • Ouaouh !!!!! That’s AMAZING, is there a place in your kitchen for me Keiko ??!! ;)))

    Posted by elodie | 27 August 2006 #
  • A and I can always count on you for some much needed inspiration. :) Hope you are doing well.

    BTW, your cat is looks cute.

    Posted by J. | 27 August 2006 #
  • Oh my goodness. These look amazing...not in just that they are beautiful photos (because they are) but also every step is so full of colour and flavour.



    Posted by Jasmine | 28 August 2006 #
  • Keiko, another masterpiece! It looks so beautiful...the colours alone make it absolutley striking...a perfect summer dessert. I only wish I was a guest at your dinner table, what treat that would be!

    Posted by hag | 28 August 2006 #
  • Wow Keiko, these look beautiful The perfect summer dessert.

    Posted by mandira | 28 August 2006 #
  • Keiko - I am just speechless! These photos are gorgeous. I can’t believe how beautiful that swirl of fruit and cream is.

    Posted by L | 29 August 2006 #
  • Magnifique.

    Posted by Lucy Vanel | 29 August 2006 #
  • so beautiful !! Thanks for this delicious idea !!

    Posted by estelle | 29 August 2006 #
  • Hi keiko

    I loved it .. its so yummy its so georgeous.. I like to try this, but where can i get doese cups?

    Posted by Hale | 29 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko! The swirling colours are just phenomenal - not to mention the end results of your labours! It truly does look like the ultimate summer treat!

    Posted by gilly | 29 August 2006 #
  • Keiko, the colours on this blog exudes so much passion! I love the dark maroon red of your pictures. And as usual, your Miroir Cassis looks too perfect to be eaten...

    Posted by steffles | 30 August 2006 #
  • mmmmm, delicious. so delicate and mouth watering. the flavors are wonderful and it;s so pretty :)

    Posted by aria | 31 August 2006 #
  • I mean can i order online?

    Posted by Hale | 31 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, comment fais-tu ? C’est toujours plus beau ! Et ces couleurs... Quel talent !

    Posted by Camille | 1 September 2006 #
  • I love your site Keiko. It’s beautiful and I love to check in everyday. And it’s an inspiration...just started my own food blog and I have much to live up to...!

    Posted by Nicola | 1 September 2006 #
  • i have been undergoing an unusual phase wheReby sweetdesserts just turn me off,

    while upon looking at urs, my mouth starts to water!*cant resist sinking my teeth into that fat blackcurrant!lols!

    great photography, u ought publish ur own boOk on baking! :>

    Posted by shuyii.chin | 1 September 2006 #
  • Now I can’t wait for summer to be upon us so that I can get my hands on berries. I love the fruit posts so keep them coming, Keiko!

    Posted by Cin | 2 September 2006 #
  • Stunning! Simply Stunning!!

    I love the moulds you’ve used. Unfortunately there’s a severe lack of the right shops for the fun kitchen stuff like that, down where I live.

    Posted by bron | 8 September 2006 #
  • This is just amazing. Really good stuff. The pictures and the professional results speak for itself. My question is about the top. You talk about leveling it with the mousse but do not explain how you got the top looking shiny like that. Is there a gelatin layer on the very top and if so, can you give instructions on how to make that layer?

    Thank you very much,


    Posted by MS | 8 September 2006 #
  • Thanks so much for all your kind notes!

    Hi Ann – yes you can eat currants raw :)

    Hi Hale – I assume you’re talking about the moulds, you should be able to find them online or any good kitchen shops.

    Hi MS – hope you received my email :)

    Posted by keiko | 12 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko
    my husband just bought me blackcurrants and looking in the internet for a recipe to use them, i saw your picture and i’m sooooo craving for your little miroir. So please please could you mail me the recipe.. please please please!!
    thank you so much!!

    Posted by avital | 3 August 2007 #
  • Hi Avital – sincere apologies for taking so long to get back to you. It’s from one of my Japanese books and I’m afraid I don’t have time to translate at the moment, I will try when I can!

    Posted by keiko | 22 January 2008 #
  • hi keiko
    i am working has a head chef in france and came up to your website and i am just amaized to your savoir faire bravo carry on you are doing a worderfull job i will be very proud to have you in my kitchen salut

    Posted by christian manolios | 17 March 2008 #
  • Looks extremely delicious.I wish there was a easier process for that. I’m a naive when it comes to cooking and an expert when it comes to eating !
    I’m sure its as tasty as it looks. Pictures are amazing.

    Posted by Debalina | 25 April 2008 #
  • hi….i love your recipes and your site.Its beautiful. I wanted to know though what camera do you use to capture all these wonderful shots?

    Posted by reena | 28 May 2008 #
  • Hi Christian and Debalina, thanks so much for your kind notes.

    Hi Reena – I use a Canon 5D now, but this shot was taken with Canon 350D.

    Posted by keiko | 1 July 2008 #
  • mmm i love miroir cassis! it’s my favourite cake i learned to make at school. and your little indiviual ones are SO BEAUTIFUL!! but what’d you glaze the top with?!

    p.s. i’m in LOVE with your site!

    Posted by tennie | 12 December 2008 #
  • Hi Tennie – sorry for the late response! I normally make glaze with syrup and a little gelatine, but i believe you can use fruit jam also.

    Posted by keiko | 27 April 2009 #

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