White Chocolate, Vanilla Bean Cardamom Mousse and Raspberry Layers
Hugging my mom, joking with my dad. This is pretty much all I have done in the past 24 hours. It had been a year since I last put my arms around maman and two(!) since I was able to share some fun tidbits with papa. It had never been that long but such has been life on both sides of the ocean, with timing, responsibilities, projects and happenings that we have been this long apart since I moved here. After a long delayed connecting flight and one suitcase missing, I was finally able to kiss them profusedly and start planning some fun things to do in between work and more work while they are here.
Once home, we sat down to a simple meal of quiche and salad and talked for almost three hours at the dinner table. Things don’t change. Time slows down a bit when they are here and I am perfectly fine with that. Today felt like a Sunday and I have no doubt that tomorrow will feel like a Saturday…
When they visit, I still cook as I would for B. and myself and try to give my mom a real vacation. They do so much for the rest of the family when they are in France that I enjoy pampering them. My dad can read, walk to the dock and clear his mind of all his responsibilities back home. My mom just sits at the kitchen table and we talk and gossip while I bake or cook. She is my favorite prep cook (she does a mean chopping job) and loves to pick on all the little things that have changed around the house.
For their first dinner with us Sunday night, after hours of airplane and airports, I knew they would appreciate a little something sweet to end the meal. I figured they would be more tired than hungry so I prepared something light. Something that would bring sweet dreams, something almost as soft as crisp bed sheets and as comfortable as fluffy pillows. I layered squares of tempered white chocolate with dollops of vanilla bean and cardamom mousse and fresh raspberries. Crisp, soft, refreshing and light. A good night indeed…
…and the missing suitcase finally got on another flight and is finally here too…
White Chocolate, Vanilla Bean Cardamom Mousse and Raspberry Layers Recipe:
For the white chocolate squares:
1 pound (500gr) good quality chocolate, chopped
( I can’t recommend one good brand over another, just make sure to use good quality. The one I used here was given to me by a sales rep and I found it a little too white and a little too sweet compared to Valrhona or Callebaut for example)
Place the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the bottom of your bowl fits snuggly over the pan and that it is never in direst contact with the water. Stir the chocolate constantly as it melts. Continue stirring the chocolate until is completely melted and registers 110F on a candy thermometer. Remove the bowl from the water bath let it cool to 82F. Set the chocolate over the warm water again and stir it until is reaches 88F. Spread the chocolate on a very clean and even surface in a very thin layer ( I use the back of a sheet pan that I only use for chocolate and caramel applications). Let it cool and harden completely before cutting 3 inch squares in the chocolate layer. Gently lift the squares and set them aside.
For the vanilla cardamon mousse and raspberries layers:
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1/4 cup (25ml) cold water, divided
1/2 cup (100gr)sugar
3 cardamom pods, cracked open
1/2 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
2 cups raspberries
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and the salt. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water, and let it sit while you make the syrup base of the mousse.
Combine the sugar, cardamom pods and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a heavy saucepan. Cover and bring to a rapid boil over medium high heat (prevents crystallization of the sugar on the side of the pan). Once boiling, uncover and cook until the mixture reaches 238F.
Strain the pods and seeds in a container with a spout, it will be easier to add to the yolks. Pour the syrup slowly and into a steady stream into the egg yolks with the machine running on medium high. Melt the gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds or until dissolved. Add it to the yolk mixture along with the seeds from the vanill bean and continue to whisk on medium high until it triples in volume and cools to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Add it to the mousse base and fold the two gently together. Pour the mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (I use Ateco #807).
Place one chocolate square on a plate and alternate pipings of mousse and raspberries, top with a second chocolate squares and repeat. Top with a last square of chocolate and a raspberry and chocolate shavings if desired.
Christy March 3, 2009 um 7:41 am
You read my mind!! I was just about to ask which brand you used because most of the couverture white chocolates I find here are yellowish-white, not pure white as the ones you used. I can tell how happy you are that your parents are finally there with you, and I’m sure that they are very happy that you made the thoughtful gesture that is this dessert. Love how you interpret the crisp sheets and fluffy pillows in this dessert, and I love the lightness of all of it. It’s so perfect! Definitely one of my favourites!
Sara March 3, 2009 um 7:45 am
this dessert looks SO delicious! gorgeous photos–yum!
Finla March 3, 2009 um 7:59 am
I am so going to make this when i have guests? They looks so elegant and delicious.
When i go back to India to visit my mom, we too are in the kitchen busy and catching up withh all the gossips and my hubby is like my my you both are talking non stop…
Living here in belgium we are lucky to have Callebaut, which i always use for my desserts and bakes.
Miette March 3, 2009 um 8:02 am
What a wonderful dessert ! So lovely… and so tasty, I’m sure. I love the cardamom, white chocolate and raspberries combo !
Botacook March 3, 2009 um 8:03 am
Superbe, léger, très printanier, j’adore!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 8:04 am
Yummy!This looks so special, my family would love this.Thanks for making this recipe so easy to do.
Snooky doodle March 3, 2009 um 8:27 am
These look so nice and I vet they re out of this world delicious 🙂
Sunshinemom March 3, 2009 um 8:28 am
Was thinking how good your Mom must be feeling when watching you click:)..after reading your DMBLGIT page! I am just waiting for April when my Parents drop in, but I am lucky that we meet twice a year! Dessert looks so good, as always:)
Sophie Sportende Foodie March 3, 2009 um 8:35 am
Wow, it seems as a lot of work! This is real food art!! 1 it looks so yummie too:)!!!!
[email protected] March 3, 2009 um 8:45 am
Helen hope you have a fantastic time with your parents! This looks fantastically light and scrumptious!
Cannelle Et Vanille March 3, 2009 um 11:24 am
so wonderful to be able to hug your parents again. What a perfect dessert helen. tart raspberries and sweet white chocolate in the most perfect presentation!
Barbara March 3, 2009 um 11:25 am
Your love for your parents really shines through in this post Helene. How lucky you are to enjoy such a loving relationship with your parents. I bet they loved the dessert. It looks wonderful.
Rosa's Yummy Yums March 3, 2009 um 11:52 am
Your beautiful creations never seize to amaze me… You are such a great baker and photographer! This is definitely a stunning dessert!
The Cutting Edge of Ordinary March 3, 2009 um 12:03 pm
So nice that you and your parents are so close. I love stories like that. Enjoy your time with them and that dessert….oh my!
Patricia Scarpin March 3, 2009 um 12:08 pm
I’m so glad to hear your parents are there with you, sweetie! That is great news (as well as the recovered luggage).
What a light and fresh dessert. You do make anything look like a million bucks!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 12:19 pm
I’m happy your parents arrived and that you are enjoying time together… this dessert looks fresh and light… your photos are great as always… Enjoy!!!
La Table De Nana March 3, 2009 um 12:22 pm
Beautiful photos!I bet they are so delicious.Impossible not to be!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 12:26 pm
Beautiful photos, and your dessert looks so delicious… as allways!
Sweet Treats by Dani March 3, 2009 um 12:32 pm
Salut Hélène !
Je t’ai attribué un prix pour avoir un blog adorable. Viens le chercher www.sweettreatsdani.com STP.
À plus tard !
pigpigscorner March 3, 2009 um 12:37 pm
My favourite white chocolate!! THey look so pretty and delicious! I haven’t seen my parents for more than a year! But I am flying home in 2 weeks!
LizNoVeggieGirl March 3, 2009 um 1:03 pm
HOW DO YOU DO IT?!?!?!?!?! You’re beyond amazing, Helen!!!
Joyce March 3, 2009 um 1:41 pm
First, I’m so glad your parents are visiting and their trip was a safe one. Love them up and spend as much time as you can together. I miss my dad, wishing for one more day.
Second, I think I died and went to heaven with your light dessert! Oh I so want to try this one, but all I can see is trying to cut the chocolate and getting pieces instead of sweet squares!
Enjoy and savor the moment.
Hugs to you my friend! xoxo
Bridget March 3, 2009 um 1:44 pm
These look too, too pretty to eat!!!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 2:40 pm
Those are so beautiful! I love how translucent the white chocolate is. It does look reminiscent of a comfy bed. If it didn’t look so delicious I’d want to climb between its sheets and rest my head on its little mousse pillows as I cuddle up to the raspberries.
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 3:02 pm
What a nice picture of you and your parents at the table… and what a happy ending with this dessert!
As ALWAYS, I wanna try this recipe.
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 3:06 pm
Your dessert and description of closeness with your parents are both beautiful!
Maria March 3, 2009 um 4:37 pm
Your post makes me homesick!! But the gorgeous dessert immediately cheered me up!!
Hayley March 3, 2009 um 4:49 pm
Enjoy your parents company! It must be so much fun when they come and stay. These treats really do look like little beds.
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 5:07 pm
This is the most etheral dessert I have ever seen! I would love to rest my lips on one of these pillows!
Enjoy your parents!
Rita March 3, 2009 um 5:26 pm
Oh, I whish I was hugging my mom too….The dessert looks so amazing, your maman ans papa must be very pround of you.
Lucy March 3, 2009 um 5:27 pm
Wow that dessert is gorgeous, and exactly the light and gloriously sweet thing you would want after a long flight. I hope you enjoy having your parents company!
baked in alaska March 3, 2009 um 5:29 pm
This dessert will be made in my house the next time we have family visiting…I know how hard it is not to see family. Mine isn’t overseas but with me down here and them in Alaska.*sigh*
Breadpitt March 3, 2009 um 5:30 pm
the berries looks great…and what’s more the love those berries match with white..and nice pic;-P
Mandy March 3, 2009 um 6:13 pm
oh Helen, I am so happy for you!The joy of spending time with family one hasn’t seen for a year. I honestly know how that feels. Enjoy your time with your parents, and say hi for me. 🙂
Culinary Wannabe March 3, 2009 um 6:22 pm
So glad you are having a nice time with your parents. I love having my around – it fills a void that you usually don’t even know you have. Hope you continue to have a wonderful visit with them!
Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen March 3, 2009 um 6:29 pm
Absolutely drop dead gorgeous. You continue to outdo yourself on each new post.
breadchick March 3, 2009 um 6:40 pm
Enjoy your parent’s visit. I know how much you’ve been looking forward to having them with you!
Hilda March 3, 2009 um 7:41 pm
Je suis ravie pour toi. It really comes through how awesome it is to have papa et maman there (pour moi ce serait surtout mon papa). Et ca a l’air parfait apres tout ce temps de vol etc.. Heureusement qu’ils sont arrives avant la grosse tempete!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 7:45 pm
Oh my gosh! The pictures are just unbelievable, what a great job. What could be more enjoyable than raspberry and white chocolate! Great job!
Ash March 3, 2009 um 8:16 pm
Love the colours!! The pics are once again AMAZING!
have fun with the family!
The Italian Dish March 3, 2009 um 8:18 pm
You are too much! So you just whipped this together for your parents! You make is sound so easy. And this is so incredible! I’m so happy for you that you get to visit with them now. Have a wonderful time.
Cindy March 3, 2009 um 8:41 pm
have fun with your parents!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 8:43 pm
Absolute beauty! Your words, your happiness about being with family and this dessert! Everything is just warming to the soul!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 9:24 pm
You have so much talent, Helen! Bless 🙂
Jenny Tan March 3, 2009 um 9:40 pm
I know the feeling of having your parents over to visit! I miss having mine over here…it’s been 4 years, though we did go back to Malaysia for a visit 2 years ago. Anyhow, I am the lucky one…my mom is always there to cook for us whatever food we miss from home. I’m spoiled! 😛
I too, like the way you describe the dessert 🙂 It looks fabulous! I’ve tempered dark chocolates before, for truffles, but I feel a little bit intimidated to temper the white chocolate!!! 😛 Anyway, you’re making me think twice if I should make THAT instead for my birthday tomorrow?! ;P Thanks so much for sharing!
Anonymous March 3, 2009 um 10:10 pm
SUPER delicate and amazing looking! YUM!
PheMom March 4, 2009 um 12:20 am
Crisp sheets and fluffy pillows indeed. Those are stunning! I am so glad you are getting to spend time with your parents – I’m sure it is precious. They sound wonderful and they certainly have a wonderful daughter!
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 12:22 am
I would have loved to see them again! The boys still talk about your mom’s veal stew that it was the best thing in the world!
Kiss them and hug them for me!
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 12:27 am
I am in love with your photography!
Do you use lights, flashes and umbrella? Do edit them a lot? Sorry to be nosy but I am just in awe!!
Jen Yu March 4, 2009 um 12:41 am
Oooh, welcome to your parents! I hope they will make a guest appearance or something 🙂 Glad they arrived despite the delays. They must be so happy to see you and you them. What a nice way to replenish their energy levels! I hope you have a great time with them. Kaweah just barked (rare event) which means she must be excited that your parents are in the US too 🙂 Give them each a hug from me. And tell them to give you a hug from me too. hee hee. xxoo P.S. Need I even say it? Your dessert is like the most beautiful of dreams.
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 1:06 am
so happy that your parents are here. You must be blissfully happy beyond belief. This dessert is gorgeous, love the layers. And I’m glad that suitcase showed up!
Deeba PAB March 4, 2009 um 1:11 am
Oh Helen, have a wonderful wonderful time with your maman & papa. You are an awesome daughter & it's lovely to see how you spoil them. These are beautiful little desserts; gorgeous pictures as always. xoxo
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 1:11 am
Have a wonderful time with your parents! My father hardly ever seems to manage to arrive in the States with all suitcases. Or content is missing… But the trip always feels sooo worth it anyway (for me definitely 😉 ).
Enjoy the time and may all days feel like Sat/Sun!
April Boyer Modern Handmade March 4, 2009 um 1:55 am
this is absolutely stunning! and looks delicious. beautiful shot.
Helene March 4, 2009 um 2:49 am
I shoot in natural light, no extra lights or umbrellas. I also stay off the auto button on my camera. I do edit them by running them through the contrast feature on Picasa a lot and leave it at that as much as possible. The more editing is done, the more quality is lost.
Thank you everyone!
cindy* March 4, 2009 um 3:59 am
so glad to hear your parents arrived safely…albeit with a little hang up with the suitcase.
lovely as always…and i love the sheets and pillows description, perfect!
Cakelaw March 4, 2009 um 4:53 am
This looks amazing – a "blow your socks off" dessert.
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 7:32 am
Gorgeous! You do whites as well as darks and the flavors of that mousse sound absolutely soft and delicious!
Helene March 4, 2009 um 7:36 am
Jen: hugs have been passed all around 🙂
Thank you everyone! I can’t tell you how many times I am thinking "are they reall here?!!"
Helene March 4, 2009 um 7:36 am
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer March 4, 2009 um 12:02 pm
This is what a I call perfection!!!
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 12:55 pm
They’re very pretty though, well done.
How many of those squares did you break before you got them all so perfectly stacked? 😀
ChichaJo March 4, 2009 um 1:08 pm
That is so beautiful! Looks more like a dream than dessert! I would be hesitant to eat it…at first 😉 Then I would dive right in! I’m sure it tasted as divine as it looks!
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 1:34 pm
Bien content de lire que tes parents sont bien arrives et qu’ils se font deja de bonnes bouffes!
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 1:41 pm
I might be too afraid to attempt this or too afraid to eat it. Although you make it very easy for a novice or an inexperienced baker to go ahead and die in. A beauty once again!
The pictures are so refreshing!
Manger La Ville March 4, 2009 um 4:20 pm
I love getting to see my parents. I love reading this post. After a long airplane flight, this is exactly the type of desert I would want, light airy, sweet. I love cardamon with fruit.
MyKitchenInHalfCups March 4, 2009 um 4:23 pm
. . . as soft as crisp bed sheets and as comfortable as fluffy pillows. . . they are all that.
What a joy to put your arms around your mom! and just chat. . . enjoy do.
(shhhh work. . . your mom will probably fire your energy).
Dewi March 4, 2009 um 4:57 pm
Suitcase missing seem happen a lot, when my sister travel to Bali, she lost her suitcase full of new present for the family, shoes, handbag, clothing, they’re gone. The airlines never found it, and did give her refund but the value was nothing compare to what she spend, both money and the psychological value. I am glad that hey got back their suitcase! And, whoever found my sister’s suitcase is a very lucky person. Really lucky!
I am sure your parent appreciate this gorgeous, light and delicate dessert after a long flight. And I am sure they slept pretty well too.
meg March 4, 2009 um 5:30 pm
They look like something from Alice in Wonderland! And who, I ask, can resist raspberries. Fruit of the gods.
Helene March 4, 2009 um 6:05 pm
Graeme: fortunately I did not break an but a few corners did snap a bit due to my shaky hands.
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 7:00 pm
Could this possibly be more beautiful? Amazing!
The Short (dis)Order Cook March 4, 2009 um 7:00 pm
I haven’t stopped by your blog lately. What beauty I have come back to! Your chocolate cakes were gorgeous and so was your ice cream.
Your parents are very lucky to have a daughter like you to make them desserts like this. I feel like spouting that old cliche that it’s almost too pretty to eat. Mom and Dad must be having a wonderful trip relaxing and eating your delicious desserts.
Hope that lost luggage arrives soon.
Elyse March 4, 2009 um 8:04 pm
I’m so glad you’ve had such a wonderful chance to catch up with your parents! This dessert looks like the perfect celebration/reunion treat!
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 8:42 pm
The cardamom mousse is the winner!
Julia March 4, 2009 um 8:58 pm
This post made me pretty happy 🙂 Everything from the mousse to the stories of loving on your family! It’s so good to see your parents again!
Lori March 4, 2009 um 9:20 pm
What a pretty and pristine dessert.
Sure hope you get to spend tons of time with them instead of working.
laura March 4, 2009 um 11:10 pm
Nothing's better than hugs from mamma & papa!
Anonymous March 4, 2009 um 11:16 pm
I know how you feel about your parents- mine live in the UK while I live in Southern California, so there are months and years between visits.
I love the combination of cardamom and white chocolate. Your napoleon is beautiful. I would love to combine these flavours in ice cream.
limonana March 5, 2009 um 12:46 am
so lovely to see one’s parents…there is nothing like it! i hope that when i have kids they will cook like you do!!
La Cuisine d'Helene March 5, 2009 um 3:18 am
I saw my parents, last week, after 1 year and 2 months. I know the feeling. We live so far apart. I love what you made for them. That shows how much you love them.
Anonymous March 5, 2009 um 3:24 am
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous March 5, 2009 um 3:29 am
I wish I could dream like you do and dream up concoctions as beautiful as yours.
Your blog is a daily source of art, story telling, beautiful photography and style. Keep it up!
Anonymous March 5, 2009 um 6:00 am
Moi aussi je suis expat aux US et je ne rentre pas souvent a cause du travail. C’est vrai que les visites des parents sont toujours un plaisir, apres une corte period d’ajustement.
Ce dessert est absolument magnifique!!
Helene March 5, 2009 um 6:13 am
Thank you all for your comments and visits. I am sorry if I am less than visible on our blogs and sites in the coming week. It’s crunch time + the parents!! I am blessed and I wish there were more hours in the day to do more. Don’t we all?!!
jb March 5, 2009 um 7:21 am
These look absolutely delectable. Vanilla and cardamom sounds like a heavenly combination!
Cuisine Couleurs Saveurs March 5, 2009 um 8:18 am
Je découvre votre blog avec le plus grand des plaisirs… Les photos sont vraiment magnifiques, et tout a l’air délicieux…
Anonymous March 5, 2009 um 1:44 pm
This looks absolutely delicious Helen! Can’t wait to try it out. I’m sure your mom and dad are enjoying every minute of being with you! Have fun!
Vanillaorchid March 5, 2009 um 4:24 pm
This is so fabulous and I love the combination of white chocolate, vanilla bean mousse and raspberry. Perfect!!
Fifi Flowers March 5, 2009 um 4:34 pm
Sitting and gossiping while you bake or cook sounds divine… gossip and a performance by YOU… FAB! This dessert is so pretty!
Anonymous March 5, 2009 um 4:41 pm
pretty perfection!! i’m loving the colours. x
Anonymous March 5, 2009 um 5:29 pm
WOW is all I can say. I would even eat the white chocolate, which to me ain’t chocolate 😀
fantastic food and photographs – as usual!
Vera March 5, 2009 um 5:36 pm
Fantastic, Helen! Delicious dessert and gorgeous photos!
Have a wonderful time with your family!
Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire March 5, 2009 um 6:35 pm
Tes parents ont du se régaler avec ce magnifique dessert. Cela dit de te revoir a du leur faire bien plus plaisir
Manggy March 5, 2009 um 8:51 pm
What a classic combination! (Though I know there are a lot of people out there who are iffy on white choc… I’m not, especially with red, tart raspberries.) And so beautifully presented too 🙂
Missing luggage is a b*tch, isn’t it? I’m glad it came back in one piece!
Nikki Hardin March 5, 2009 um 9:26 pm
your lucky mom! Just found your blog via Design Sponge even though I live in Charleston too. small convoluted world.
Unknown March 5, 2009 um 10:03 pm
wow, lovely dessert, Helen. fantastic presentation and so beautiful photographs.
lynda March 5, 2009 um 11:37 pm
This looks light as a cloud…what a wonderful interpretation! Same with your flourless choc cakes on previous bolg with ice cream and ice cream sandwiches….yum, yum and more yum! Enjoy this special visit with your parents.:)
Anonymous March 6, 2009 um 11:12 am
So all is well that ends well – suitcase and all! But to end the family reunion with this delicious chocolate and raspberry mousse with cardamom hints, is like – having your cake and eating it too! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
Anonymous March 6, 2009 um 12:04 pm
Being a confessed white chocolate fiend, this is yet another one of your desserts that’s right up my alley. I’m amazed at how thin and transluecent those tempered white chocolate squares are – that takes some serious skill, especially considering how tempermental white chocolate can be! Kudos to a stunning, creative dessert once again! Your parenst, outside of being with their baby again, must be in hog heaven when they visit you!
Unknown March 6, 2009 um 3:56 pm
Thanks for your kind words about my macs! Definitely not the last time I’ll attempt making them. 🙂 And my colleagues and I have been absolutely gushing about this beautiful dessert — so mouth-watering!
pastry studio March 7, 2009 um 2:32 am
That really is a super-white chocolate! Your composition is gorgeous, Tartlette.
Although I’m not a big white chocolate fan, I think Icoa is the best. It’s really head and shoulders above the rest.
Hope you make it through your crunch time with time to spare!
Seanna Lea March 9, 2009 um 7:28 pm
This looks amazing! I will definitely have to keep this in mind the next time I want to make a non-pie dessert!
Anonymous March 16, 2009 um 1:04 pm
All of your recipes and photos are so amazing I don’t know where to start. Each and everyone look absolutely luscious. Of all the recipes you have posted do you have a favorite? If so, which one? I’d love to make it. Plus it will give me a place to start.
La cuisine des 3 soeurs March 28, 2009 um 4:19 pm
Trop joli, une fois encore, il y a tant de bonheur à venir chez toi !
Amaryllis @ The Tasty Other August 28, 2015 um 1:04 pm
This looks like a work of art, Helene! So beautiful and intriguing!