I like to layer this mousse between crispy white-chocolate cookies, repeating the flavor while playing with different textural elements. Note that this dessert needs to be started two days before serving.
WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate 1⁄2 cup egg whites (from about 4 eggs)
2 tablespoons sugar
Two days before you plan to serve the dessert,
heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately remove from the heat. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, and whisk until melted and smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the mixture from the refrigerator and, using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip it into fluffy, soft peaks. Cover and return to the refrigerator.
In a clean dry bowl, whip the egg whites until
soft peaks form, then add the sugar and continue whipping until glossy and stiff, about 30 seconds more. Fold into the white chocolate mixture, and refrigerate until the next day. Then spoon the mixture (or pipe through a pastry bag) into glasses for assembly.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening, and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg; when incorporated, add vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto ungreased baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake 12–14 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand a few minutes before removing cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Lay 3 cookies on a work surface. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mousse between two cookies, then fan as shown or sandwich. Serve berries on the side or add them into each layer along with the mousse. Garnish with white-chocolate shavings.
The cookies can be made a
few days ahead, as can the mousse. The blueberries can be macerated a day or so ahead of time.
Juice of 1 orange
1⁄4 cup water
1 tablespoon brandy
2 cups blueberries (frozen is fine) 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange juice, water, and brandy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 minute. Add blueberries and simmer for 2 minutes. Add sugar and cornstarch, stirring continuously using a large egg whisk until sauce thickens. The whisk will turn some of the blueberries to pulp and give the sauce a rich color.
WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1⁄2 cup shortening
3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar 1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 13⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts, lightly
This dessert is best suited for spring and summer when berries are readily available and at their peak flavor.
Raspberries or blackberries are perfect variations to this dessert. Instead of white chocolate cookies, you can also use biscotti.