Why I love it: This gourmet dessert has a complex and sophisticated flavor but the recipe is very easy (foolproof really) and the preparation is quick (~20 minutes, plus about an hour of chilling).
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I got the idea for this flavor combination from a biscotti recipe I saw recently. While I am not a big fan of biscotti I did like the sound of almond, orange and anise together so I used them in this dessert. It’s a very creamy, light and fluffy mousse that is a perfect finish for a gourmet dinner. I built the mousse on an egg yolk and sugar base that I flavored with orange zest, almond extract and ground anise seeds. After that I folded in whipped cream and whipped egg whites and stiffened the whole thing with gelatin. It’s a dessert that tastes like a lot of work went into it but in reality it’s very easy to make and just about impossible to mess up. I suggest you eat it by taking a bite out of an orange slice, then follow up with a spoonful of mousse and repeat.
- 2 eggs, separated
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon ground anise
- orange slices
- finely chopped almonds
- Whip the two egg whites to stiff peaks. Put in the fridge.
- Whip the cream with 1 teaspoon sugar to stiff peaks. Put in the fridge.
- Add gelatin along with 3 tablespoons of cold water to a saucepan. Let sit for about 4 minutes.
- Whisk the egg yolks with ⅓ cup sugar, orange zest, almond extract and anise in a bowl until creamy.
- Heat the bloomed gelatin just until dissolved.
- Whisk the gelatin into the egg yolk mix.
- Fold in the cream.
- Fold in the egg whites.
- Cover and chill in the fridge until set (about 1 hour).
- Scoop the cream onto individual plates and serve with orange slices and chopped almonds.
Food Photography and Styling: I think of this dessert as very fancy so I wanted to create a modern, elegant look. The dish is my matte black candle holder and the surface is just a plain black poster board. Even though the spoon is antique I thought it worked here because of its elegant shape; I liked how its pointy tip mirrored the tip of the piece of orange slice. I “glued” the spoon in place with tacky wax, without it it kept falling over on its side. To follow the rule of thirds I made sure to place the spoon on the right vertical line that divides the frame into thirds.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/7.1, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.