Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Orange Flower Crème de la Crème


It’s a week past Easter now, and I am still nostalgic about white chocolate and casting about the kitchen for something to catch my eye. Some sweet, of course, to replace the last wedge of glossy cheesecake I scrambled to create on the holiday. I love a well-stocked larder; it feels secure and cozy to know you’ve laid in provisions, especially when you’ve planned ahead for the Nor’easter and you sure as hell don’t want to have to go out into that cold, sloppy mess for any reason. So while the world outside is wet and wild, I am thinking ahead to the May flowers these savage April showers will ease into bloom in the coming weeks. There will be the blinding Bradford pears, the clusters of crabapples, and the canopies of powder puff pink cherries.

As I poke around the cluttered contents of my baking cupboards, I am now fixated on flowers. I know I have some essences somewhere, bottled up like genies desperate for release and eager to grant three wishes to their liberator. I find the rosewater and the orange flower water. The rosewater has been half drunk, liberally enchanting tall tumblers of the iciest Indian lemonade. The seal of the orange flower water, however, has yet to be cracked. Orange flower water is even more of an acquired taste than rosewater, powerfully perfumed to the tongue, a little goes a long way. I twist and break the cap off the bottle and ask for my three wishes: something sweet, something simple, and something to cure my white chocolate wantings. The genie is generous with me today.

White Chocolate and Orange Flower Mousse - Adapted from Waitrose

(Despite the title, this dessert does not have the pillowed pouf texture of a traditional mousse, but more that of a gleaming, eggless pot of crème, dense, decadent and delicious nonetheless.)

Ingredients

9 ounces white chocolate (I used Lindt bars, but there are other fine quality brands available.)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered or confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons orange flower water
Decorator sugar to garnish (optional)

Method

Melt chocolate with 5 tablespoons of the cream in a double boiler atop simmering water. Set aside, keeping barely warm and fluid. In a medium bowl, beat remaining cream into a soft, rounded thickness, taking care not to create stiff, dry peaks. Incrementally sift and beat the powdered sugar into the whipped cream. Carefully fold the melted white chocolate into the whipped cream. It will put up a bit of a fight which you can correct by lightly and patiently twirling a wire whisk into the mixture. Pour into ramekins or small glass stemware and chill for 20 minutes. It sets much faster than the recommended chill time. Garnish if desired. Serve with tiny espresso spoons, the better to savor in small, sweet bites.


This post is being submitted to Monisha of Coconut Chutney, who is hosting Sugar High Friday #30 for event creator Domestic Goddess.

10 comments:

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

This sounds truly delicious. I haven't had white chocolate in a long time, but you're making me fancy some now!

Susan said...

Scott,
White chocolate has never enjoyed the popularity of its dark, rich relative. Too bad, though, because its flavor is unique and warrants its own fan club.

Lucy said...

Lovely recipe. The scent of orange flower water always makes me feel instantly happy.

I've made something similar using crushed cardamom pods, steeped in the slightly-warmed cream.

Gorgeous. Glad to have found you.

Susan said...

Thanks, Lucy. Orange flower water, and cardamom for that matter, are excellent for aromatherapy. I'm pretty mad for cardamom, too. I've made it in some milk-based Indian desserts and it never fails to thrill.

Monisha said...

Thanks for participating! You sure did it get it right - 'something sweet, something simple, and something to cure my white chocolate wantings', the only problem is that, now I crave for some!

Susan said...

I was happy to join in. These blogging events are too much fun. They can get as addictive as the blogging itself. Thanks for hosting the very sweetest one.

A Foodie Froggy in Paris said...

Your mousse "sounds" great. I, too, love orange blossom

Susan said...

Orange blossom is a nice way to kick off Spring, Foodie Froggy. I wish there were more recipes available to take advantage of its charm. Welcome to my blog.

Maria said...

Wow! I love the idea of orange blossom with white chocolate! Fabulous! Looks and sounds delicious. I too made a dessert with orange blossom water.

Susan said...

Thank you, Maria. The white chocolate has such unique flavor that it can really stand up to the sometimes lusty perfume of the orange blossom. I'll go stop by your blog to see what you've been up to.