The latest series of Great British Menu has been hit and miss. Tweaks to the format were needed, but there’s still too much footage of chefs stomping around damp fields saying things like “lovely sheep, that” and then butchering it. Tad repetitive, no? And a further knockout stage (obviously what was missing, though at least there’s something on the line in the superfluous Monday – Thursday shows) just gives the opportunity for an experienced chef to look superior and aloof.
Anyway, Richard Davies, despite not going forward to cook for the judges and seemingly not bothering to even think about what he was going to cook until seconds before firing up the Aga, put up a lovely looking dessert: a mint mousse. Yummy, I thought. I’ll have some of that. However not being a winner his recipe doesn’t hit the BBC website. So off a-Googling I went.
I couldn’t find a blasted mint mousse recipe anywhere. Plenty of choc-mint mousse recipes yes, and not a bad thing as I could happily devour a gallon of the stuff. But no just mint mousses. So I was left to my own devices. I went for a folded cream/egg white mix, which gave a smooth, bubbly texture, and decided to line them with crushed Oreo cookies. They have a mental image when I eat them, the white icing suggesting they will be mint-flavoured even though they are nothing of the sort. Topped with a sweet praline it was one of the nicest desserts I’ve ever made.
Mint mousse (serves 6):
10 Oreo cookies, crushed well
20g melted butter
3 egg whites
10 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint essence
400ml double cream
10 mint leaves
1 teaspoon caster sugar
For the pistachio praline:
100g caster sugar
Large handful shelled pistachio nuts
- Make the praline first: melt the sugar in a pan with a splash of water. This will take a couple of minutes. Allow the sugar to colour and turn a sticky brown colour. When this happens, stir in the nuts and a pinch of sea salt, and immediately spread out thinly on to a baking tray or flat surface to cool (I recommend a silicone mat if you have one). When cool, blitz to a powder and store until needed.
- Combine the Oreos and butter and layer into your serving dishes. Push down to compact the biscuit and leave a level top. Refrigerate.
- Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the sugar slowly, continuing to whisk. Eventually you’ll get firm, glossy peaks.
- Combine the cream and peppermint and whip the cream until fairly stiff (slowly falls off the whisk when held up). Fold the meringue into this gently. You may want to taste at this point, adjusting the sugar and minty flavours as desired.
- Pipe or spoon the egg/cream mixture into your serving dishes, and refrigerate until needed (it’s OK to eat straight away but tastes much better chilled).
- To serve, pound the mint leaves and a teaspoon of sugar together to make a vivid green pulp. Lightly drizzle this over the mousses, sprinkle over some praline and garnish with a mint leaf.