I’m always thinking about food, at least new items for breakfast here a the William Miller House Bed and Breakfast. Last week I was out planting some vegetables and herbs for the season and while planting the basil it occurred to me that I always plant too much basil. While I do use some for pesto for our vegan guests I rarely make it for Pat and myself, mostly because Pat does not really care for it.
So what to do this summer when the basil is in full swing? How about a new first course, so with the basil I have on hand, store bought, I embark on a crazy idea, making a basil mousse, now I do not think the idea of making mousse from herbs is new, but it is for me and our guests as well. The dish is actually a Basil white-chocolate mousse over a layer of strawberry (did I mention that its strawberry season here in Virginia) greek yogurt. After they finished the dish and licked the glasses I suggested that they have the honor or coming up with a name and the name they chose was a “June Bug”, sort of a play on a grasshopper, the cocktail made with creme de menthe.
The process. Because I knew that this would not be something to whip up in the morning I decided to make it the night before. Besides the gelatin in the mousse really needed time to set up.
The first step was to puree some of the fresh strawberries that we had picked at the local berry farm. I always lean towards fresh local ingredients if at all possible and it is the beginning of the strawberry season here in Virginia. Following the pureeing of the berries I grabbed some of my favorite Greek Yogurt and added some of the pureed strawberry to the yogurt and stirred it to combine and placed it in the bottom of 4 - 9.25 ounce martini glasses. I then place the glasses in to the fridge.
The next step was to make the mousse. I grabbed a pot and put some heavy cream into the pot and then brought it up to a slight simmer and added the basil leaves and removed it from the heat. I allowed the mixture to steep for 10-minutes, then pureed in my Vita-prep. I got mine several years ago when Jimmy Snead of the restaurant The Frog and the Redneck closed his restaurant and was selling of his equipment.
I then strained through a fine china-cap and returned to the heat, brought it up to a boil and poured the mixture over some Callebaut White-Chocolate and let it melt and then made the mousse (see actual recipe). I tasted the the mousse and it was a bit strong, but it was still warm so I was confident that chilling would make the basil a bit more subtle, which it did.
The results are 4 happy guests with expanded palettes and one chef with a new knife in his drawer. If you make the recipe please comment on this blog so it can be shared with our guests.
For the Basil Mousse:
284 ml heavy cream or about 9.6 oz
30g or 1-oz basil, leaves only
150g or 5-oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
2 leaves of gelatin
100 ml water or 3 1/2 oz
1 medium egg plus 1 egg yolk
- Warm cream gently to about 100 degrees, add the basil leaves and stir to ensure they are submerged. Remove from heat and let leaves steep for 10-minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender and strain.
- Place white chocolate in a bowl and reheat strained cream to just boiling and then pour over white chocolate and let sit for about 5-minutes, after about 5-minutes whisk mixture until creamy.
- Break up the gelatin into a small bowl with 100 ml of warm water and let it soften.
- Put the egg and egg yolk in a medium bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until thick and creamy, this should only take a few minutes. Add the softened gelatin, and the white chocolate and basil creme mixture and stir well. Strain the final mixture again and pour in to 4 prepared martini glass with the strawberry greek yogurt.
For the Strawberry Yogurt
10 oz greek yogurt
118 ml or 1/2 cup
- Fold the strawberry puree into the greek yogurt. and divide equally into the 4 9.25 oz martini glasses.
Note: This could be converted to a dessert by adding a bit of sugar to the strawberry puree.
Chef and Co-owner of the William Miller House