How do you make your mousses/cake fillings?

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Joined Jan 15, 2001
I was reading the Arlequin thread and started wondering how most pastry professionals at this site prefer to put a mousse together. Eggs or no eggs? Meringue or just straight cream?
For fruit mousses I tend to go for straight puree with gelatin and whipped cream folded in(except passionfruit, which I use a pate a bombe). Sometimes I use a cold set neutral mousse powder instead of gelatin like Braun's Alaska express.
For most mousses that I use for filling on cakes I tend to use pastry/vanilla cream as my base(since we always have some at the shop), flavor with appropriate flavoring compounds, add gelatin and fold in whipped cream. Replace the vanilla cream with mascarpone for tiramisu or caramel cream, etc. I usually don't have time to make Bavarian-style creams since creme anglaise really isn't something we keep around all the time, so I sort of modified it so I could use pastry cream. :)
 
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The Chocolate Mousse I serve uses whipped cream, merangue, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, Callebaut chocolate, ruby port, and a locally-brewed stout.

Peace,
kmf
 
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Chef Kurt, your choc. mousse sounds interesting. What does the stout do for the flavor?
 
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It's all about depth, there. The ruby port adds a fruity edge that some say Callebaut is lacking, but the stout adds a certain personality that is distinctive. I probably get more comments about this mousse than about any other menu item.

Since you on the west coast, try using Rogue "Shakespeare Stout" out of Newport Oregon, or Arrogant ******* Ale from Stone Brewery in San Diego.

Peace,
kmf
 
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Oh, c'mon. That's silly. The server censored the name of that beer. Lemme see if I can get around the censors with a few carefully place spaces.

It's Arrogant B a s t a r d .

Peace,
kmf
 
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Hey Wendy, it's d. I've been using the neutral mousse powder to speed things up. Just mix it into the puree and then fold whipped cream. No need to hydrate gelatin and melt. And less bowls to wash. It's a good product in an emergency, and it doesn't set as rigidly as gelatin does. I still do prefer using sheet gelatin in most of my recipes.
I don't use meringue in any of my mousses/cake fillings, just a flavored base with whipped cream folded in.
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Hum, I use different techiques for different flavored mousses. I started listing things but it's too much info./thoughts to list.

Not as a filling, I like the lightness of whites added.

With fruit mousses' in cakes I go with whipped cream with gelatin only.

But chocolate mousse I go several ways...generally chocolate mousses always add egg whites with cream (lightness) but for white choc. mousse techniquely I make a bavarian. It's richer/less grainy than a straight white choc. mousse. But with chocolate mousses adding nuts I usually add butter and fruit mousses with chocolate always add whites.

See if were talking mousse, I think of no gelatin...once it has gelatin in it falls into bavarian (to me), although many recipes dissagree with this. So this all gets complicated doesn't it.

Although I've never used a neutral mousse powder...I can't even tell you how it works...so how and why do you use it?
 
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d. I usually post pretty earily while I'm trying to wake up or very late after a long day so that's my best attempt at an excuse for being so dumb. "Hi Wendy it's d." DAAAAAAAA, Gosh I feel stupid.

I had never really thought about this topic until you asked this question. It's stayed in the back of my mind since you wrote it and I need to think this through better. Having only myself as my educator (and what a poor job I do sometimes)I never really stopped to think I could go about making my mousses easier then I'm currently doing. (I just came back here to reread and rethink and I find you saying "hi" to me and my thoughts dissapeared to embarrasment for my stupidity.)

As I progress becoming a pastry chef I've had my light bulb going on moments...this subject has that potential... I'm not nearly the experimentor that you are...I don't have the chemistry knowledge the way you do.

But your question is really a good one...it's simple and huge both at the same time.

I've never thought about having a "base" on hand and working out from there daily. It seems like a great idea, kind of obvious. But I'm a slave to my recipes and make an anglaise or pate a bomb multipe times a day, because each recipe varied, instead of seeing the larger picture of making my own anglaise and working from there.

But to do that, you have to have a basic proportion guideline so you don't wind up with a weak mousse when you need a strong one or visa versa. If your like me, you really want to keep the gelatin as low as possible....Through trials I could come-up with my own formula (more of stealing what I like from the great chefs), but I don't really have the time or opportunity to have failures as I test. So how are you working, do you have a base formula you work off of or are you just winging it (so to speak)? or was this something I would have learned at culinary school?

I'm always humbled as I work someone greats'(like Michel Rouxs')recipes. They seem to hit the proportions so well and then they'll do something different that makes me wild with enthusism. I'm finding this with Joel Bellouets' recipes too. Then I think about working thru the series of Death By Chocolate where I have never seen anyone put together mousse so simply....I have mixed thoughts about that now. I so rarely get to eat my completed product as my customer does that I don't even know what I'm serving sometimes. How can I make the judgement that a more complex mousse is any better then the quick one when it's in a completed torte (is it worth the effort)? Do you really ever get the time to taste your product assembled?


Since I've never used the neutral mousse mix I can't judge it but it seems one dimensional (which is fine sometimes when your really busy).

Where to begin?

P.S. I've gotten sleepy so I'm not sure if I've made any sense?????????
 
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Good points you've brought up. I didn't go to culinary school --- have I given you that impression? I'm kinda in the same boat you are, self-taught and doing lots of reading(which has its own limitations and frustrations). When it's slow at work I can get to try out a couple of ideas, or I brainstorm on how I can make things easier on myself without sacrificing flavor and texture.
I agree with you on the gelatin --- the less, the better. Nothing worse than rubbery mousse/fillings, UGHHH!
Most of the recipes I use or come across use either a creme anglaise, pastry cream or eggyolk cooked with sugar syrup as the base for the mousse. Then you cool either one down, add the flavorings then fold in the meringue(if using) and then the whipped cream. What I'm working on is trying not to make a pate au bombe or anglaise 4x a day for a different flavored mousse. Once your flavoring is mixed into the base(with the gelatin), I taste to see how intense the flavor comes through. Let's say I'm working on a espresso toffee mousse. I taste the flavored base to see how strong the espresso shines through, add the toffee chips and then weigh carefully and write down how much cream it takes to get it to the perfect lightness and flavor I want. It takes about 2 tries of small batches, more on adjusting the sweetness and the gelatin quantity. That's why I really like to use flavoring compounds in mousses, it really heightens the flavor. As a guideline, I use the new Professional Baking plus 2 or 3 other recipes from good chefs. I look at the proportion of base(whichever it may be)to whipped cream in these recipes as guidelines to point me in the right direction. I am currently changing the cakes we are selling so I am testing out several cake fiiling like a peanut butter choc. mousse and a dulce de leche filling.
I would not recommend Desaulniers book for his mousses because I have a tried a couple that I have not been happy with, they did lack complexity of flavor and were just too blah. I do like his cake component ideas and presentation. I still don't have the other books you mentioned.
As for the neutral mousse mix, I think its advantages are if you are doing really big volume of cakes. I only use it for my lemon mousse.I find myself not using it these days.
 
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Yes, I really thought you did go to culinary school. You know the tech. stuff so much more than I, it's hard to beleive you hunkered down that hard on your own to get the science down. When I seriously try reading the tech stuff I start to fall asleep (literally).

Please tell me where you learned bakers percentages? I know I need to (and I want to) learn this but I haven't come across it in any books I've got.


I bought some compounds from driedopple when we were all talking about it at "web." so far I haven't been very happy with them. I got pistachio, raspberry, lemon, almoretto (can't spell). I was hoping that I could use them in my mousses and frostings to shortcut the process etc...but by the time you add enough to taste they thin down your product too much and I still wasn't so happy with the flavors they weren't clean/natural. The pistachio has a perfuminess to it.....

Are you using these? Previously I was using Karps lemon emulsion (I really like it in frostings!)and almond emulsion. My pistichio paste I think was from karps too, which was far more intense than driedopple.

I don't own Professional Baking (I'd be happy to get it so
 
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Sorry, my key board froze up and I just hit "add reply" before I lost that too.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is we don't have the same books so it's hard to talk about recipes with-out the other being able to see them to know what your speaking about. I don't mind buying books, but it will take me a couple of days to locate them. In the mean time we can post recipes....

I mostly make mousses that have chocolate or white chocolate in them. For fruit mousses (I never have any exotic fruits on hand) I have to stop by the grocery store myself to pick these items up...and they don't have much in the mid-west. I'm always going with strawberry or raspberry mousses only, since we always have both on hand and my clients seem to always go with what they know.

I get shy about experimenting because I've had a couple failures with my consistancy when I've played around. I had one mousse that was so strong you could have built a house on it and others that wouldn't hold with-out freezing to slice it. I can see adjusting your flavoring, whipped cream and meringues but playing with gelatin scares me, I just don't have a basic figure in my head to work off of, like : I'll need 4 sheets of gelatin with 1 lb. whipped cream to 10 oz. meringue and 6 oz. of flavoring, etc...

Which ties into many of the European pro books (like Hermes, Bellouet, Roux...) they seem to work as your proposing but they aren't pre-slicing their cakes. They would be a good place to start but as I read them I fear their strenght. I need to re-read the Roux Brothers book, I really think he works this way. Hears another thought, how do you stop from making 4 meringues a day?....I've used instant meringue powder and found it to work pretty well, have you ever played with it?.

It all would be o.k. if I didn't have a chef watching my every move waiting to find fault in me so he could tell me how to do it right....I have to play with products I have on hand because if I get in something like passsion fruit in he'll be all over me waiting to tell me how no one will ever buy that, all the other pastry chefs made that kind of stuff!


Can you post your base recipe from Professional Baking so I can compare it to a couple that I frequently use? Plus where you've gone from there.

P.S. I make a peanut butter mousse, then combine it with a layer of ganche in my torte or a layer of chocolate bavarian. But I haven't made a mousse with both choc. and peanut butter....add peanut butter (or any nut butter to your ganches they work well).

I'm stuck on dulce de leche s' popularity right now in all the publications. Where does it differ from Carmel?
 
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Here's a nifty little formula for figuring out gelatin amounts. Mix 1 oz powdered gelatin with 5 oz of water. You can keep this in the fridge, but since it' all protein it won't last forever. 1 oz of this mixture is enough to gel 1 lb of mousse. You want a little firmer, add 1/4 oz more and a little less for less firm. To convert to sheets...I figure the gelatin above is one part in six. If there are 10 sheets to an ounce, then one part in six is 1.6 sheets. You could use that as a starting point..1.6 sheets per lb of mousse.
Have you ever used Hero products? All of their flavoring compounds that I have used have been high quality. I use lemon, orange, raspberry and coffee. They also make bakery jams I use on the Danish.
 
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BigHat:
You mentioned Hero products in the preceeding post. Have you or anyone else out there ever tried their preserves? Ooohhhh, the best I ever had. 'been buying them for 26 years. :D
 
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Okay, lemme add my mousse's 2 cents worth.

Baker's German Chocolate, melted and folded into whipped cream. The preceeding mixture is then folded into a meringue. Chill. It's a recipe from Raymon Oliver's LA CUISINE.
 
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We buy from a company called Sid Wainer's, one of the premier food service suppliers around here. They have anything you can think of. They recently started carrying bakery jams and confitures with their own label. The apricot confiture is to die for. The smell of apricot to me is THE smell of the bakeshop, just like the smell of bordelaise reduction brings me right back to the kitchen. I'm not positive, but I think I've seen Hero stuff in the grocery store.
 
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dolce 'd leche is caramelized sweeted and condenced milk done right in the can! use caution as it can explode. I just do it in a sauce pan on very low heat for 'bout two hours. Also done with goats milk for more intence earthy flavor.


Mousses can be made so many ways, just be sure to cook your eggs either by making swiss, italian meringue and zabaglione style or pate a bombe yolks.

I like to keep pate a bombe in the freezer and whip up a mousse whenever I want.

Flavor compounds and mousse setting powders have come a long way and are very helpful. Don't be afraid to try either, they may make your life a little easier!

(not always a bad thing)

;)
 
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I was making dulce de leche in chocolate cups last year and watched in stupified amazement as the cups began to melt as I piped in the too-warm stuff. Also made Pierre Herme's creme brulee ice cream with caramel swirled into it and called that dulce de leche ice cream for an Argentinian wine dinner. That was good stuff.
 
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At the bakery were I used to work they used Dreidopple compounds. I use Braun(i think) and I have used Hero before too. When I make a fruit mousse, aside from using the puree, I add a dash of the compound(it really intensifies the straw. or rasp. flavor, kinda giving it a punch).
You don't need to know baker's percentages for mousses and fillings, just for breads and cake baking. It is a useful thing to know, it helps you understand the difference in textures/flavors of any baked good and how to correct things if something goes wrong. I taught myself and eventually got used to doing it automatically. I really recommend you get Professional Baking, 3rd edition by Wayne Gisslen. This 3rd edition which I just got is so much better than the older edition I have. Le Cordon Bleu collaborated with him and made the recipes and styles more "hip". I haven't tried most of the recipes yet(the muffins really **** and so do the quickbreads) but use the percentages as guidelines and his frozen mousse recipe is very good. Go to a store like Barnes and Noble and check it out before you decide to get it. That's what I do --- I just got Spago's chocolate book and Bread Alone.
Yeah, most of the mousses I get asked to make are mostly chocolate. Strawberry, raspberry and lemon come in second. That's why I want to make samples for the sales managers to try. I made a white chocolate passion fruit mousse today which was pretty tasty(I just added a dash of the fruit puree to my standard white mousse but increased the chocolate a wee bit to compensate for how tart the passion fruit is). I don't get fresh exotic fruits since they are expensive and I'm not familiar with the seasons, so I just get Perfect Puree products. Since I've never really had a chance to work with more exotic fruit, now's my chance to try out some recipes and hopefully standardize them.

Here are the recipes from the book:

Fruit Bavarian
Fruit puree 8-10 oz.
sugar 4 oz.(adjustable)
lemon juice 1 oz.
gelatin 1/2 oz.
water 5 oz.
Cream 12 oz.

Basic Bombe Mixture(Frozen bombe)
sugar 8 oz.
water 2 oz.
eggyolks 4 oz.(6 yolks)
Flavorings: melted chocolate,liqueur,instant coffee, praline paste, fruit puree.
Heavy cream 12 oz.

Boil sugar and water to 240F while whipping yolks until light. Pour syrup into yolks. Mix until cool and thick. This mixture will keep covered and refrigerated for up to a week. When ready to make mousse/dessert, proceed with next steps. Stir in desired flavorings into pate a bombe. I add gelatin if I am not freezing the mousse. Whip the cream to mediumfirm peaks and then fold into base mixture.
This is just the gist of the recipe, it's a bit more detailed in the book.
Bighat has a good tip on the gelatin.
 
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Ditto on the "Hero" compounds. I use raspberry, lemon, and pistachio.
Braun mocha
Flachsmann Passion Fruit from Albert Uster is fabulous, don't get Dohler, not good!
Braun Neutral for mousses. Easy.
 
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I guess I'm abit slow but we have so many topics going now it's a bit confuising. Hope this makes sense....


We are talking compounds, purees and preserves....I use the hero preserves too and braun mocha compound. Actually I don't choose what I use, since my chef does all the ordering and doesn't listen to my imput... occasionally I order my product when he's willing to admit he doesn't understand or is too busy. I find this most frustrating!! Some of the stuff he gets me is just horrible. (Sorry, sometimes I just rant...needing someone who understands)

The frozen bombe recipe looks very much like what I've been doing for Frozen Souffles, even like the tortoni in the choc. spago book. Explain more please....what are you doing with the frozen bombe? Are you using this in your tortes or selling it as it's own item? We don't sell "mousse" they won't buy it, I make and use mousse in other desserts not as a seperate item. Is that what you were refering to?

d. I've done alot of work out of the Spago book if you ever want input...it's a very good book. Did you read us talking about it under the book thread at this site?

I have seen Gilsens book many times. I own Practical Baking (5th addition) by Sultan. The Modern Patissier by William Barker and Bo Friebergs book. We've kind of talked about his before...many of us are not thrilled with pro-book recipes because they don't always taste great. BUT< BUT they do help with knowledge and some recipes are very good...it's just hard to weed through all of them. I'm also most interested in the Amendola book m.brown mentioned on another thread, where can I buy it? It would be very nice to have some real imput on a couple probooks, that saves alot of time and confusion! I will get the Gilsens book asap...but that will be a week or so.

I'm open to the mousse mixes, absolutely. But I need some dirrection because I don't really understand how you use them. Could anyone offer a sample recipe using it so I could understand what your doing?

I've never heard of keeping pate a bombe in your freezer? Hum....just defrost and fold in? Really? O.k.... so do you have a base formula you use m.brown or do you just wing it to taste?

So are you using that formula day in and day out thebighat? How did you learn that proportion? I hate to sound so stupid but I get frustrated/nervous just relaxing and following your instructions with the gelatin(which I trust is good advice). It just starts to get confusing because (maybe I've read too many recipes) I can't find that standardized proportions when I look at all my favorite mousse recipes. I get crazy worrying that it won't hold up to slicing, but not be grossly firm. EEK! I don't know why I'm so bothered by this, I take risks everyday all day long. I rarely get burned by a recipe anymore but I still can with gelatin proportions.
 
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