light bright + airy pomelo-lime mousse

pomelo lime mousse

Two years ago, I had a dream about this recipe. [Like an awake sort-of dream. Why rely on my subconscious to dream up recipes when my conscious is all hey man how bout this schnazzy somethin’?] Pomelos had appeared in the exotic fruit section of the grocery store, and I was intrigued. I jotted some notes down, but by then I was too late – I had missed my chance to buy any of the mysterious fruit. Last year, I missed my chance again, because I was too busy acclimating to my new life in the woods. But this time around, I sprung into action.

Larger in diameter than grapefruit, but close to if not smaller in edible volume due to a thick spongy membrane, pomelos are juicy and mild tangy, and sweet-not-too-sweet. Shedding them of their thick outer skin is half the fun, though eating them is plenty good too.

pomelo lime mousse

I used to have a violin teacher who also worked in the real estate industry. One of his favorite pastimes during our lessons was debunking realtor slang for me. “Light, bright, and airy” was one of the ole standbys, used to make homes with small plain rooms sound welcoming, large, and nice. Bright and airy could refer to new large windows…. or perhaps old windows that were leaky and drafty.

In this instance, light, bright and airy connotes nothing but the best. This pomelo-lime mousse is creamy yet light, decadent though not cloying, fruity and fragrant but not overly laden with flavor. It is like a grass-is-growing flowers-are-sprouting bees-are-humming birds-are-singing sheer lacy dream in whipped cream+curd form.

Pomelo-Lime Mousse
Serves 8-10. Could be served as is, or as a component in a cake or trifle. Oooh, trifle. <–Look, my conscious just had another awesome idea.

++Ingredients:++

5 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
~3/4 c. pomelo juice (juice of one pomelo)
Zest from 1/2 a pomelo
Juice and zest from one lime
2 c. heavy cream
Additional pomelo and lime zest, to garnish

++Directions:++

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy, light, and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes if using an electric mixer. Set aside. In a double boiler set over high heat, melt butter.  Add egg mixture, stirring very frequently over a lengthy time period until the mixture turns custard- or curd-like. It will likely take the better part of 20 minutes. Don’t leave the mixture attended, however, or gloopy over-thickened bits will form on the bottom of the pan. When custardy, remove from heat.

Stir in juices and zests, and let cool to room temp, 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, whip cream past the stiff peaks stage. Gently fold in the pomelo-limey mixture until just incorporated. Mow down immediately because it is delicious! …or chill 1-2 hours in the fridge first.

Store well-covered in the fridge for one day if you must, but the mousse will quickly lose its dream-like qualities if you abandon it for much longer. It will grow lonely and watery. Don’t let that happen.

pomelo-lime mousse

Everything has been nice lately. It’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a dog. Poor maligned dogs, I should say it’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a sicky. Now I’m just back to being me, scampering about in the woods and loving my incredible life.

Things I’m thinking about:
Gardening! the cute lil seeds that are sprouting in my cabin right now. Yesterday, it was Oregon Spring tomatoes and Heshiko bunching onions. What will it be today??
Activity! after 5 weeks of doing nothing, I feel like a soggy potato without any starch, aka a wimp with no muscles. I’m getting back into my pushup/squat/insert other fitness here routine. I’ve taken to doing quick rounds of tabata youtube videos, sometimes even in the pre-dawn moments before work when I can wake myself up early enough. And last weekend, we went downhill skiing. I’d only been once before, when I lived in France in 2007. This time was much much much better, as I knew beforehand not to solely rely on “the snowplow” to get me down a steep hill.
Material goods! i have had the same face for the past five years. And so, after much contemplation, I have decided to get a facelift! JK, I just have a new pair of glasses on the way. JUST a new pair of glasses you say, beautiful glasses, gorgeous trendy in-your-face, heck, in-my-face new glasses I reply. My face is going to be a new face! A face all my own and yet nothing like me! I am pleased as punch.
A car! every since we broke the last one, I’ve missed having a car. Only having my truck is inefficient and fuel stupid. A car is on horizon – I hope.
– The Treats Sheet in the bottom photo! two pounds of mallowy goodness. Today my boss asked if I could eat the whole thing, and after prefacing with “I don’t even really like Rice Krispie treats,” I hypothesized that yes, I could easily eat all of this. Especially if sectioned off and stacked, to create a rarely-seen triple decker treat (TDT).

fernskiingtreatsapizza

mulled wine mousse with poached pears

poached pears

Today’s offering to holiday cheer is a double wino whammy: Mulled Wine Mousse, served with pears poached in mulled wine and pomegranate juice. As I recently told you, I’ve been listening to a lot Hanson’s Snowed In, and in their words, this dessert is what Christmas means to me.

Deliciousness and decadence.

mulled wine mousse

The concept of an alcoholic mousse makes me think of technicolor desserts in 1960’s cookbooks, and so I’ve tried to present the finished product here in a similar vein. I personally love affected food photos, whether tinged yellow or pink in hue (or both!). There’s something about those 60’s cookbooks – Dinner in a Dish my companion of choice – it’s as if the photos make for instant food memories. And at Christmas time, there’s nothing better than a food memory or two. Am I right?

Yes. I am right.

Speaking of memories, the masses (aka 1 of you) have been clamoring (aka making one chill request) to see my tasteful holiday decorations. Ask and ye shall receive, gentle readers.

xmas decorationsxmas decorations xmas decorationsxmas decorations

We cut down a beautiful balsam fir found on a woods road a few miles from home. It is strung with some lights, popcorn and cranberry garlands, and eight ornaments – plus an American flag bow as a tree topper. I’ve been making a wood-burned ornament for each of the past few years, and it may come as no surprise that this year’s ornament is a tuberific potato plant. Potato Inspector represent!

The crème de la crème of my holiday decorations is my 6-species wreath, which contains fir, spruce, white cedar, white pine, tamarack, and red osier dogwood. I would like to drown it in liquid plastic and let it live forever on my front door. But I’ll settle for two or three months.

mulled wine mousse

Today, I discovered a hint of scratchy throat syndrome. Since I have a (second!!) job interview on Wednesday, I am not in the mood to get sick, especially right before the holidays. So, this morning finds me sitting on the couch……. with onions in my socks.

Old remedies claim that onions-in-socks can cure just about anything. Colds, the flu, a fever, you name it. Probably hunger, too. The smell is a bit unappetizing.

Anyway, how about some mousse?

Mulled Wine Mousse with Poached Pears

Serves 10-12

For the poached pears

++Ingredients++

4-5 pears (I used sweet little Comice pears)
2 c. mulled wine (recipe follows)
2-3 c. pomegranate juice (as needed to cover the pears in the pan)
1-3 tbsp honey, if desired

++Directions++

Peel the pears, leaving the stem. Cut the base to create a flat surface, if needed.

In a small saucepan, bring mulled wine and pomegranate juice to the boil. Add honey, if using. Add pears, fitting them into the pot tightly so that they don’t tip over. If making fewer pears, as I did, there is nothing you can do to stop pears from tipping. In this case, just go with it, occasionally rotating them.

Cover pears with a round of parchment, and a pot lid, if you have one small enough to fit inside the saucepan. I used my smallest pan, so covered the pears with a small plate. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the firmness of the pears. Turn heat off, and allow to remain in the liquid until cool.

For the mousse (inspiration here)

++Ingredients++

1/2 c. mulled wine (recipe follows)
1 packet unflavored gelatin
3 eggs, separated
1 c. sugar (I assume other sweeteners could work equally well)
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp lemon or other citrus zest
1 tsp cinnamon

++Directions++

Put half a dozen ice cubes and a cup or two of water in a large bowl, set aside. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over mulled wine. Let sit for one to two minutes.

In a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water, combine egg yolks and 1/2 c. of sugar. Whisk for several minutes, until mixture becomes thin and pale. Whisk in the gelatin/wine mix, and cook for two to three minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from the heat, and place in the ice bath, stirring occasionally, until mixture has slightly cooled. Remove from ice bath before the mixture chills completely, or it will become too thick to incorporate into the mousse.

Meanwhile, combine cream with remaining 1/2 c. sugar, zest, and cinnamon, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk. Whip until stiff peaks form. Fold into gelatin mixture, 1/3rd at a time. Set aside, and clean out the electric mixer bowl.

In a cleaned electric mixer bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the bowl of whipped cream and gelatin. Scoop into individual glasses, or a large serving dish, and refrigerate an hour or overnight.

Serve with slices of Mulled Wine Poached Pears, and even with cubes of Mulled Wine Gelatin if you’re feeling frisky.

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Mulled Wine

For one regular-sized bottle of wine

++Ingredients++

1/2 c. granulated sugar (or 1/2 c. other sweetener, such as honey or agave)
1 bottle red wine
1/2 unpeeled orange or 1 tangerine, cut into sections
1 cinnamon stick
1 heaping tbsp mulling spices (allspice, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and mace)
1 tbsp brown sugar

++Directions++

In a large pot, combine sugar with a few splashes of wine. Add orange slices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for five minutes. Using a spoon or spatula, flatten the orange slices, exuding the juice and releasing the zest.

Add the rest of the wine, the cinnamon stick, and the mulling spices. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to boil or simmer, as this will reduce the alcohol content. Near the end of cooking, add brown sugar to round out the flavors.

Serve immediately, when hot, or use in recipes such as Mulled Wine Mousse, above.

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