Mousses

A savory cold mousse, as used for the base of a terrine, is a preparation of puréed meat, poultry, fish, vegetable, or other food, bound with gelatin and usually lightened with the addition of partially whipped heavy cream. (It is true that the terms mousse and mousseline are often used more or less interchangeably, but we use them here in two distinct senses in order to avoid confusion.)

The gelatin used to bind or set the mousse may be added in the form of an aspic jelly or as powdered gelatin softened and dissolved in another liquid ingredient.

Because mousses, like aspics, are not cooked after assembly but merely chilled, they are often prepared not only in terrines but in decorative,irregularly shaped molds.The production of mousses is relatively simple.The procedure consists of four main steps:

1. Purée the main ingredient.

2. Add the aspic jelly or dissolved gelatin.

3. Fold in the lightly whipped cream and season to taste.

4. Pour into the prepared mold.

Molds are usually lined with aspic jelly and decorated according to the procedures on page 853 As with other kinds of terrines, garnish, if any, is either mixed with the mousse or arranged in the mold as the mousse is added.

Although this method is really little more than mixing together the ingredients in a given order, two precautions must be taken:

1. Carry out the entire procedure, including the pouring of the mixture into the mold, quickly and in one continuous process.

If you stop partway through the procedure, the gelatin is likely to set, and you will have a lumpy, poorly mixed product.

2. Do not overwhip the cream.

Whip it only until it forms soft mounds.When cream is overwhipped,it breaks and becomes grainy. This same effect can be caused by the extra beating the cream gets when it is being folded into the mousse mixture. A mousse made with over-whipped cream tastes dry and grainy, not smooth and creamy.

Mousses can also be made without gelatin or other binders. A soft mousse is simply a puréed or ground food with the addition of lightly whipped cream. Although these soft mousses are too soft to be used in terrines, they can be spooned into neat, oval quenelle shapes onto salad plates, garnished attractively, and served as elegant first courses.

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