Tuesday, 21 April 2015

White Chocolate & Ginger Mousse with Roasted Rhubarb

Many people grow rhubarb in their gardens and beyond making the odd rhubarb pie or crumble, don’t tend to do much else with it. Although it can be used in savoury dishes, rhubarb is more commonly used in sweet dishes and desserts. Rhubarb can be quite sour but it is important not to over-sweeten it as it will lose its characteristic and unique flavour. It is far better to balance out this inherent tartness with the other sweet elements in the dish.

I planted a few crowns of rhubarb a couple of years after we moved into our newly built house over a decade ago. At this stage it is like a weed in the garden; the more I pick, the stronger it grows back… not that I am complaining because I absolutely love it and easily find use for it in my cooking and baking.

I am incredibly pleased with how this dessert turned out; the white chocolate mousse is light and creamy and goes perfectly with the roasted rhubarb. Ginger has a natural affinity with rhubarb, so I decided to lightly infuse the cream and melted white chocolate with some fresh ginger. White chocolate can tend to be very sweet and normally I find it a little cloying, so I took the decision not to add any extra sugar to the mousse. This was definitely the right course of action and resulted in a mousse that was both rich in flavour, but light in the mouth at the same time. The ginger was definitely present but manifested itself in a subtle way and served to really showcase the rhubarb, which was my main aim.
I was thrilled with how this dessert turned out; it was perfectly balanced and is a wonderful way to finish off a meal – being indulgent but not heavy. The recipe may seem daunting at first, but in reality, the mousse is quite simple to make, so do give it a go.
The great benefit of dishes like this is that they can be made well in advance and require no attention thereafter, other than to place a couple of little shortbread or dessert biscuits on the side. As such, it would make a perfect dessert for a dinner party. I decided to make some simple shortbread biscuits using my basic shortbread recipe and to which I added some pink peppercorns. The faint spicy heat of the peppercorns was lovely against the sweet and buttery shortbread and introduced a playful note to the finished dish.


Roasted rhubarb:
200g rhubarb, chopped in 4-5cm lengths on the diagonal
50g caster sugar
1tblsp water
300ml double cream
175g white chocolate
25g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thick slices
2 leaves of gelatine
3 large eggs, separated


Roasted rhubarb:
1. Preheat oven to 200C/Fan Oven 180C/Gas Mark 6.
2. Place the rhubarb in a single layer in a roasting dish. And sprinkle over the sugar and water. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the rhubarb is tender and releasing its juices but has not disintegrated. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Refrigerate until ready to assemble dessert.
3. Place the double cream, white chocolate and sliced ginger into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl and pour the chocolate mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Discard the ginger which should collect in the sieve. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, place the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water and allow to soften for 5 minutes. Remove the gelatine from the water and squeeze out any excess water. Place the softened gelatine leaves in the warm chocolate mixture and mix in using a small whisk until it is completely incorporated. Add the egg yolks ad mix these in thoroughly. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, but let it go too long so that the gelatine begins to set the mixture.
5. Using a hand held electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to the firm peak stage. Mix a third of the whisked egg whites through the cooled chocolate mixture and then fold in the remainder. Pour the mixture equally into 6 serving bowls, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To serve:
6. Spoon some of the chilled roasted rhubarb and juices on top of each mousse and serve with some shortbread biscuits on the side.

Serves 6.

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