I had guests for lunch today and, although we only had carry-in sandwiches for lunch, I wanted to fix something new for dessert. I remembered seeing a rather simple “mousse” recipe in Food & Wine and I decided, two hours before my guests were to arrive, to see if I had the necessary ingredients. I did, with one exception – creme fraiche.
My small local grocery doesn’t carry such things, and I didn’t have time to drive to a larger store. I remembered reading somewhere, sometime that one could make a reasonable substitute for creme fraiche. Google came to the rescue, as it often does. A quick substitute is 1 part sour cream and 1 part heavy cream, both of which I had. Problem solved. It took about 5 minutes to put the mousse together and it was in the frig for nearly two hours.
It was a big hit. In fact, my two guests copied the recipe at the table in order to be able to make it at home. It is one of those rich, satisfying desserts that belies its simplicity.
So, here is your gift for the day, compliments of Food & Wine. Be warned, however. The recipe makes a pitifully small amount, supposedly for four servings. We had three servings. I suppose four would have been possible and would have made a sufficient dessert after a large meal. We only had sandwiches, so it seemed rather scimpy. I would double the recipe to make adequate servings for 6. I served small cookies for the crunch factor that is missing in mousses.
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut paste, (Nutella)
1/4 cup creme fraiche (1/8 cup sour cream mixed with 1/8 cup heavy, whipping cream)
1 1/2 t. brandy or hazelnut liqueur
1/2 c. heavy cream
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the chocolate-hazelnut paste with the creme fraiche and brandy at low speed until smooth. In another bowl (smaller) beat the heavy cream until firm peaks form (about one minute). Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate-hazelnut mixture until no streaks remain. Spoon the mousse into small bowls and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Serve with cookies if desired.
(The author, Grace Parisi, suggests spooning the mousse between chocolate wafers and freezing overnight to make ice cream sandwiches.)