The French word ‘mousse’ simply means ‘froth’ or ‘foam’ and speaks to the lightness of this delicious dish typically made with fresh cream and egg whites. Mousse can feature sweet or savoury ingredients, but this mousse from Chef Travis Mindle at PEC’s The Waring House is not only sweet, but a truly local marvel of flavour and texture. The house-made candied pecans push this dessert over the top, but we warn you: it’s tough not to eat your first batch before the mousse sets!
Chef Travis says...
"Prince Edward County has many dairy farms and sugar shacks. In early March you can take a drive in almost any direction and see the steam rising from the sugar shacks as they boil the sap to make the mapley gold! This recipe gave me a chance to combine the two ingredients into a light fluffy dessert! With the added crunch of the candied pecans it makes an excellent finish to any meal."
Make the mousse…
In a small sauce pot, bring the maple syrup just to a simmer on medium-low heat.
Whisk a small amount of syrup into the egg yolks (2 tbsp at a time) until it is all added and whisked together. Be careful not to add too much of the hot syrup to the mixture at a time or it will cook the egg yolk.
Return the mixture to the pot and place back on the stove with the burner set to low and continue whisking until it starts to thicken (around 3 minutes).
Place mixture into a large bowl and set aside to allow to cool (you can use an ice bath to speed this process up).
In a bowl, whisk 2 cups of whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Whisk the egg whites until small air bubbles start to form (about a minute and a half) and then add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
Fold the whipped cream with a rubber spatula into the maple mixture until evenly mixed.
Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture with a rubber spatula until evenly mixed.
Spoon the mixture into your serving dishes and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour. *Pull from freezer 15 minutes before serving.
Chef’s tip: The mousse can be kept in the freezer for up to one week, if needed.
Make the candied pecans…
Whisk together the white sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, toss the pecans with the egg whites until evenly coated.
Add the sugar mixture to the pecans and continue tossing or stirring until evenly coated.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you may need to use 2 so the nuts cook evenly and don’t stick together.
Place in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 35 minutes.
At the 20-minute mark, remove the nuts from the oven and toss them around the tray, then return to oven for another 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes (it is hard to wait, but worth it!).
Once cooled put the nuts in a sealed container (dump the little bits of sugar that fell of onto the baking tray into the container as well).
Chef’s tip: These will last in the sealed container for quite a long time, up to a month.
Pull from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.
Drizzle 1 tbsp of your favourite maple syrup over the top of the mousse.
Break the pecans into pieces and sprinkle over the top. Remember the little sugary bits I told you to keep from the baking tray? Sprinkle some of those on the top as well!