Monday, January 2, 2012

Grand Marnier Mousse--Something Special

In the Polish New Year's Day tradition, having a table abundantly filled with rich delicacies on that day was a promise of a prosperous and plentiful year ahead. Also in my parents' home, on the first day of January, the table was always full of the most exquisite dishes, made with the ingredients that were expensive and often very hard to get.

These days, especially here in the US, where almost any kind of food is available all year round, if you are lucky enough to afford it, it is somewhat difficult to grasp the true meaning of this tradition and make this day feel special. To face this challenge, I decided to make yesterday Grand Marnier Mousse, an exquisite dessert made with my favorite orange liqueur.

Just by reading the ingredients list I imagined that it must taste exceptional. The only concern I had were the raw eggs, which I try not to use these days. But the recipe advised to add hot sugar syrup (instead of sugar) during the process of beating eggs, which perhaps lowers the risk of any salmonella contamination. Also, I always use organic eggs, and first wash them with hot water and dishwasher liquid.

Surprisingly, this elegant and delicate dessert is very easy to make. I served it in small, Belgian chocolate shells, decorated with orange segments on the side and grated orange peel. If you do not have chocolate shells, you can serve it in glass goblets and then decorate it with chocolate. Either way, Grand Marnier Mousse certainly is a wonderful dessert, and it did fulfill my desire of preparing "something special" for this special day.

Grand Marnier Mousse
(Makes 6 portions)

3 egg yolks (preferably organic),
1/3 cup sugar,
2 tbsp water,
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream,
2 tbsp Grand Marnier Liqueur,
2 oranges
candied orange peel and mint leaves to decorate.

1. Wash oranges well, dry and grate the peel. Cut out the white parts and cut out the segments without white membranes.

2. In a small pot mix water and sugar. Bring to boil and cook vigorously for about 2 minutes, until the syrup thickens a little bit.
3. Using and electric mixer beat egg yolks with orange peel. With mixer working on the high speed pour in slowly hot sugar syrup. Continue beating for about 3-5 minutes, until eggs change color from yellow to almost whitish and double in volume.
4. In a medium bowl beat heavy whipping cream until almost stiff. Fold gently in yolks mixture. Add 2 tbsp of Grand Marnier and again gently mix.
5. Transfer mousse to chocolate shells or goblets. Chill for at least two hours.
6. Before serving decorate with candied orange peel, mint leaves, and serve with orange segments.