Time flies. Let's face it, the only time when it doesn't is when we twirl our thumbs. And even then, I have seen people twirl they thumbs long enough to realize how time flew by - along with life - as they were doing so. The only thing I've twirled this week were my hair while sitting at the computer to edit pictures and lastly the spoon in my verrine of Honey Yogurt Mousse with Raspberry Coulis. And cookies! I have twirled a cookie around my little finger. My life is now complete...
Ok, you know that's sarcasm. There is more to life than mousse and cookies... although...Simplicity has been the motus operandi lately around the house and will remain for a little while (more on that later) and as such, these fit the bill perfectly. I could not help but giggle as I was spooning the different layers in the glasses. I kept thinking of my niece Camille who looked at me with wide open eyes one morning I was twirling honey and yogurt for my cereals.
She's at the age of food discoveries and adventures. Foods that look good touching, separated, stacked. Textures that play well together. Or not. Colors. Foods that fly on spoon to get into your belly. Those especially rock. And I was happy to oblige and fly that spoon for her. I'll always treasure those moments alone just as much as those spent with her sister or with her sister alone. These two are just beautiful inside-out and I am proud of my brother for that. Awesome parenting.
The little things that are second nature to an adult like mixing honey and yogurt mean a great deal to her right now. Other food related questions were pretty entertaining too. How do you make the air bubble up in a mousse? Why do you turn your spoon in your cup as you eat? Our morning rituals were about the essentials of food. Came four o'clock and we were into Disney Princesses and their lack of fashion sense. Go figure.
All these moments came rushing back in my head as I was making these and taking great care in separating the layers of yogurt mousse and raspberry sauce. Why? No idea since it would all turn into a giant swirly twirly mess once we'd start digging. It reminded me of the day Camille spent 15 minutes separating her steak from her tabouleh salad only to mix it all up in the end. It's food. It's fun. And if you don't mind eating cold, play along.
When I say we have to do simple these days, I am not exaggerating. I don't usually talk a whole lot about work here (that's what the "tear sheet" section of my portfolio is here for - needs an update too) but the next few weeks, months, will be trying my energy to come here to post. Right before leaving for France I signed a contract with Gibbs Smith Publisher to do the photography and styling for Holly Herrick's new book on Tarts. Holly is wrapping up the writing and I have started the photography as we speak (Fall/winter 2011 release). I am completely psyched about it!
It's Holly's third book as an author, my second as photographer & stylist and our first together. With a blog titled Tartelette, I also think it was kismet...
It is as rewarding as it sounds. It's a lot of hard work too. I am doing the shopping, cooking, styling, photographing, post processing, etc... Holly is an accomplished recipe writer (and food stylist - team work!) so I do work with the assurance that the recipes will work. I just take extra steps since we only have one shot to tell you a thousand thoughts. So yes, there is necessary tweezer action in pulling that piece of tomato forward to even out colors or tucking that slice of peach sticking out like a cowlick on a baby's head.
Some of you have emailed wondering about another book. I can tell you that Carrie's book that I styled and photographed, Deliciously Organic will be released in November. I just got the chance to look at the final manuscript and I got such a strong pinch in my heart. I am so honored to have participated in Carrie's vision and message and at the same time worked with such a professional team. And the food...ah the food! It will knock your socks off!
Just thinking about the pile of work ahead makes me reach for one of those yogurt mousses. Soft, creamy, tangy from the raspberry and with that soft touch of honey through and through. Exactly what the doctor should prescribe on a Friday night. Make mine a double!! The cookie is a necessary icing on the cake so to speak. Trust me. Makes it even better...
Honey Yogurt Mousse With Raspberry Coulis:
Makes 4 to 6
Notes: the gelatin amount used in the mousse is small enough to help stabilize the whipped cream and prevent the liquids from separating but is not enough to gel it completely so the texture remains soft and silky.
You can use 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour instead of the rice, millet and potato flour used in the gluten free shortbread recipe.
For the coulis:
2 cups (500gr) fresh or frozen raspberries
a few springs of lemon thyme (or lemon verbena, lemon balm, mint, lavender, etc...)
1/4 cup honey
For the mousse:
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1 cup (250ml) Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (60gr) honey (I use a lavender honey from the Hautes Alpes)
1 cup (250ml) heavy whipping cream
For the shortbread cookies:
1 stick (115 gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (95 gr) powdered sugar (unsifted)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup superfine white rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 potato flour
(or replace the rice, millet and potato flour with 1 1/2 cups all purpose)
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of salt
Prepare the raspberry coulis:
Place the raspberries, lemon thyme and honey into a heavy saucepan. Cook on medium heat until the raspberries start to break down, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool and discard the lemon thyme if using. Set aside until ready to layer with the mousse.
Prepare the mousse:
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt and honey. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the cream to medium stiff peaks. Set aside.
Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 12 seconds or melt on top of a double boiler. Working quickly, pour the melted gelatin over the yogurt and whisk thoroughly. Gently fold in the whipped cream until everything is blended.
To assemble: layer about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mousse and 2-3 tablespoons coulis in glasses and repeat the layers one more time. Serve with shortbread cookies if desired.
Prepare the shortbread cookies:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy on medium speed, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flours, milk and salt and mix briefly to incorporate. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between sheets of plastic wrap to about 1/4 - inch thick. Cut out rounds with a pastry ring or cookie cutter of your preferred size. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.