This mousse is another one of my forever favorites. It comes from what I remember as being a Brigadoon-like town in the Scottish Highlands on the shore of Loch Broom and surrounded by the mountain An Teallach to the south. The name of the town, Ullapool (or Ulapul) is Gaelic for Wolf Farm…or Norse for Wool Farm. It is known for its art and culture and has been the location for many a film since it has changed little in 100 or so years (thanks to the railroad not going through) and for having been designed in 1788 by the noted bridge builder and architect, Thomas Telford (nicknamed the Colossus of Roads). *
Apple mousse has been a favorite in one form or another in the British Isles for a very long time. The Elizabethans had the wonderfully named Dyschfull of Snowe that had whipped cream and egg whites, sugar and rosewater and the apple in the center of the dish stuck with evergreen. Here is the original (I know I’ve been at this too long when I read Elizabethan English smoothly!) from The Proper Booke of Cokerye, a 16th c cookbook.
To make a dyschefull of Snowe
Take a pottell of swete thycke creame and the whytes of eyghte egges, and beate them altogether wyth a spone, then putte them in youre creame and a saucerfull of Rosewater, and a dyshe full of Suger wyth all, then take a stycke and make it cleane, and than cutte it in the ende foure square, and ther with beate all the afore sayde thynges together, and ever as it ryseth take it of and put it into a Collaunder, this done take one apple and set it in the myddes of it, and a thicke bushe of Rosemary, and set it in the myddes of the platter, then cast your Snowe uppon the Rosemarye and fyll your platter therwith. And yf you have wafers caste some in wyth all and thus serve them forthe.
The Germans have something similar made with egg white named aptly apfelschaum which is apple foam in English and which is what it is like… light sweet and delicious. This recipe is not light but it is fabulous and so delicious. My memories of Scotland are fond indeed although I haven’t been back in many a year. Every time I taste this mousse I'm back again!
When I looked at the apple mousse, my first thought was “It is beige”. I always tell my art directors that 'beige = death' on film… it’s a personal prejudice, I know. So I used my Bristol Blue Rummer for an antidote to beige and then I had this crazy idea in my head to do a riff on a Victorian tortoiseshell comb.
The hitch is that the caramel melts so don’t stick them in till you are ready to serve if you decide to try them! They are pretty easy to do simply but if you are feeling inspired you can go nuts! You can make two batches of caramel… one dark and one light and combine them on the silpat to give a real tortoiseshell look. Otherwise, let’s face it… apple mousse isn’t a stunner visually (but wait until you taste it!!). Use a cup of sugar for each color.
Apple Mousse – Based on a recipe from Royal Hotel, Ullapool, Scotland
7 c apples ( I used a combination of sweet and tart from Salt Point, NY's Terhune Orchard via Union Square Farmer's Market) peeled and cored in 1” pieces ** you can add spice to the applesauce if you wish… a pinch of cinnamon and star anise is lovely (but make sure to remove the anise before pureeing). I find with the madeira that it is best without spice. Use 2 cups of apple puree.
2 T butter
l ½ tsp. gelatin (2 T water) *** for you vegetarians, just make the applesauce a little thicker and skip the gelatin… it is still great… I have done this when I made it and realized I had run out of gelatin!!!!
1/3 C honey-mild as you can find it. (I use Champlain Valley Apiaries)
1 C cream (Milk Thistle Farms is the best cream ever!)
1 -2 T scotch or 3 T madeira (Boston Bual or NY Malmsey)
½ C pecans or walnuts
2 T butter
2 T maple syrup
Melt 2 T butter, add apples and 3T water and cook covered for 15 minutes until apples are soft. Puree.
Sprinkle gelatin over 2 T water and soften 5 minutes. Add honey and Scotch (or Madeira) to the warm apples with the gelatin and cool. Beat cream till stiff and blend into the apple mix. Add to glasses and chill.
The topping is my addition to the recipe: Sauté nuts in butter till fragrant. Add maple syrup (and another splash of liquor if you would like) and sprinkle on top of the mousse and serve. It’s nice if the mousse is cold and the nuts are warm.
I’ve made this with Scotch forever… but I tried it with the Madeira and was crazy about it. I got to use a tiny bit of The Rare Wine Company's 1922 Bual in a serving and it was amazing.
*Many of the facts are from Wikipedia or the Ullapool Tourism Bureau
Bristol Blue Rummer, 1820's