Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Frozen Honey Mousse

Mixed in amongst the stalls at the farmers markets, spilling with summers bounty you're bound to see someone selling honey. This sweet syrup can be found the day the market opens when fruits are still clinging to their trees and vegetables are hiding underground. When the market finally closes in December, honey will be there amongst the squashes, hazelnuts, and kale. This constant staple is my rock. I may never know if the strawberries are quite ripe, but I know honey will be there. When I tire of squashes and pumpkins, I know I can fall back on honey.

It is not only during times of fruit famine that I reach for jars of honey. The byproduct of a bees busy work of pollenating our fruit bearing plants, honey is the perfect foil for the fruits themselves.

With the days growing hotter and the fruit getting riper, I am using honey to make a frozen dessert. Easier than ice cream, this frozen wild flower honey mousse is a delicious cold treat for a hot day, and a great companion for summers fruits. I have covered it with raspberries, strawberries, sometimes tossed in black pepper, cherries confited with their pits, roasted apricots, the list goes on.

This dessert has a stunning purity of flavor, who's secret lies in the inclusion of just 4 ingredients. Because it must set in the freezer for a minimum of 8 hours, preferably over night, it becomes the perfect do-ahead dessert for entertaining. Thanks to honeys versatility and humble sophistication, you will find this an appropriate dessert year round, served on the patio or in a formal dining room.

This mousse can be prepared in a loaf pan or terrine mold to slice servings off of, or in individual molds. I am using a wild flower honey gathered from the Tahuya river apiaries on the Olympic peninsula right now. Seeking out an excellent honey makes all the difference as this recipe highlights every aspect, or flaw, of the honey you choose. The use of vanilla bean rather than extract also makes a huge difference in this recipe, so seek them out. However, if you are to go without, be a miser with the vanilla extract, adding only a few drops.

Frozen Honey Mousse

4 oz honey (just over 1/3 cup)
2 egg yolks
1/2 a vanilla bean, seeded
1 1/2 cups cream, kept cold to whip

1. Prepare a loaf pan or individual molds. A loaf pan can be wetted with a damp rag and lined with plastic wrap or foil for ease in later removal, but individual molds will need to be dipped in hot water and the edges run with a paring knife to remove the smaller servings.

2. Place the honey, yolks, and vanilla seeds in a metal bowl large enough to fit over a pot of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook this mixture over the simmering double boiler until the mixture is thick and pale, and has at least doubled in volume. This takes about 5 minutes. You will know the mixture is done when a stream drizzled back into the bowl holds a little mound rather than disappearing into the mass.

3. Set this mixture aside on the counter to come down to room temperature.

4. In the meantime, whip the cream to soft, thick peaks. Keep cold until the honey mixture has come down to room temperature. If the cream is added when the honey mixture is still warm, it will melt into the mixture rather than fold in.

5. When the honey mixture is room temperature, fold a third of the whipped cream in. When this is incorporated fold in the remaining cream.

6. Pour the mousse into the prepared pan or molds, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the freezer for at least 8 hours or overnight.


Anonymous fiona bizwaps said...

Dana, honey, could you elaborate on the cherry pit confit? I am facinated on how you can use the kernel inside of stone fruit as an ingredient.

Thank you darlin'

July 12, 2006 4:39 PM  
Anonymous L said...

Yum! I've been looking for some good honey recipes... this looks lovely!

July 12, 2006 6:49 PM  
Blogger Adey said...

I've been reading and really enjoying your recipes since The Guardian highlighted your blog a year or when ever back. But for us rententive English folk, could you please post measurements in metric as well? What is a third of a cup... is that 40ml?
And hurry back to the UK!

July 13, 2006 10:09 AM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

grr.. blogger stole my comment. Kudos to you on the great looking dessert. I adore honey and can't wait for a chance to try this out.

July 13, 2006 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Noemie83 said...

hmmmm, this just looks marvellous. I think i'm gonna do it soon. I have a very good honey right now at home..just sounds perfect! your blog is lovely by the way!

July 15, 2006 8:18 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Fiona- I'll put a post up soon expanding on the wonders of the hidden gem inside the cherry pit.

I- Enjoy!

Adey- I looked on the other side of my graduated measuring cup, and it looked like about 80 to 90 ml, and the cream is about 375 ml.

Nerissa and Noemie- Thanks! I hope you like it.

July 16, 2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger rai said...

my favorite summer treat has been half freezing a bottle of heidi honey milk and then shaking it up and enjoying the crystals. this is a bit more complex but I think I'll have to give it a go ;)

January 08, 2007 12:33 PM  

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