My latest recipe idea did not go at all as planned, but I ended up making something I really liked—a low sugar Strawberry Cocoa Mousse.
How did I get this idea? Well, my refrigerator held a quart of disappointing strawberries.They were lacking in flavor and much too firm. At first, I had planned on roasting them in Sweet Balsamic Reduction, as we do in the Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts Course, but I also had a pint of homemade oat milk and a wish to use that to make up a Vanilla Cream Pudding. So how did I end up with a Strawberry Cocoa Mousse?
Today, I’m going to take you step-by-step through my process for making this Strawberry Cocoa Mousse. I am ever more convinced that an abundance of better and best vegan recipes are available, and for that I am thrilled, but I believe what we need is more of the “what ifs,” and how to test and fix recipes.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What if the recipe didn’t work the way I expected?
- What if the flavor, texture, consistency, color, etc. is meh or icky?
- Can this dessert be saved?
- Can it be made into something new, or is it time to give up?
Now, I find oat milk can get a bit too viscous as it chills and definitely when it is cooked. This time I had made my oat milk with slightly different proportions: 1/2 cups rolled oats, 2 cups water and 2 pitted Medjool dates. When I strained the milk, there was very little cream in the strainer, since the ratio of water to oats was increased..
Making Strawberry Cocoa Mousse
As this was a test, a half recipe was in order, so I poured only 1 of the cup oat milk into a small saucepan. I added 1/3 cup vegan organic cane sugar, 1 teaspoon agar powder, a pinch of sea salt, and allowed the agar to hydrate for 5 minutes. Coconut sugar would be fine since the oat milk was beige anyway. While the agar was hydrating I made a cornstarch slurry: 1 tablespoon cornstarch: 3 tablespoons water. I heated the oat milk mixture to a low boil. Then, I stir the cornstarch slurry to release the starch that may have settled to the bottom. On lowered heat, I add the slurry, whisking constantly. Now I whisked until the mixture boiled for a further minute. Off heat, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon vegan butter and stirred to incorporate.
I did taste the pudding and found it to be bland, but still, I spooned a small amount into a pinch cup and refrigerated it for 10 minutes figuring I might as well see how it set. I always do a test, and you should too!
Unhappy with both the color and the flavor, I decided to add 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder to the pudding. At this point, I was still thinking pudding. I whisked until the cocoa was incorporated and was happily surprised to like the flavor and consistency. You know what I did, right? I Of course, I spooned a small amount into a dish and refrigerated the test.
While I was waiting for the tests to set, I sliced about 1 cup of the not very sweet and too hard strawberries.
The Finished Strawberry Cocoa Mousse
I mashed about 2/3 cup of the berries into the warm pudding using an old-fashioned potato masher. They stayed chunky. Now, this tasted good to me. Not Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding good, but good still.
The results fo the tests surprised me. The vanilla pudding that I hadn’t liked transformed into something good and it was firm enough to be a tart filling or at least a mousse.
The chocolate version was very good, light, not too sweet at all, and I knew this Chocolate Berry Mash would be a keeper.
Satisfied, I spooned the contents of the saucepan into a measuring cup and got 1 cup. You might have more, or less depending on how many tastes, and tests you do and the amount of strawberries you choose to mash into the pudding.
I spooned a half cup of the pudding into a ball jar, added 2 layers of sliced strawberries on the top, and a sprinkle slivered almonds for crunch. I had a nice, fast, light tasting summer dessert in this Strawberry Cocoa Mousse.
How’d I go from pudding to mousse? It can be either really but the agar gave the pudding quite a lot of body once the pudding chilled, so mousse I decided it was. Not a rich chocolate mousse, this one is a light and refreshing cocoa mousse and it could be breakfast. Actually, it was today’s breakfast. Oats, fruit, low -sugar fueled my weights and cardio and yoga classes.
Strawberry Cocoa Mousse
- 2 cups oat milk, or use almond, cashew, soy
- 2/3 cup vegan cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons agar powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch dissolved in 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter (optional, but recommended)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 cup hulled and chunked strawberries, more or less, plus sliced berries for garnish
- slivered almond, or another nut, for garnish.
- Pour the oat milk into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the agar powder over the top and set aside to allow the agar to hydrate off heat for 5 minutes.
- Over medium heat, cook the oat milk-agar to a low boil. Add the sugar and salt and whisk to dissolve.
- Stir the cornstarch slurry to release any starch that may have settled to the bottom and add to the saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute, whisking frequently.
- Add the vegan butter and stir until dissolved. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until dissolved.
- Add the sliced strawberries and mash into the chocolate.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
- Cool to room temperature and taste the mousse. I like mine better after refrigeration, but you might like yours at room temperature.
- Serve topped with sliced strawberries and a sprinkling of slivered or chopped nuts.
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