Tuesday 9 October 2012

Parfaits - White chocolate mousse, strawberry sauce and learnings

I have a sudden desire for parfaits.  I think I like the layers, just like I like wearing stripey tops and stripey socks.  A few weeks back I made one with chocolate mousse, nutty cherry, strawberry and creamy layers.  It didn't quite work.  Yet it was a great learning process that helped me make my more recent success - white chocolate mousse with strawberry sauce.

Both parfaits began with a glut of strawberries.  Both times they fascinated Sylvia.  The first day I made them was a day that started with feeding her with an airplane spoon.  I told her the spoon had cargo to drop off in her mouth.  The day ended with me frantically pitting dried cherries as fast as I could while Sylvia ate them as fast as she could rather than eating her dinner.  I managed to return her attention to her dinner and then she enjoyed some chocolate mousse and strawberry puree.  I liked how healthy they were, but the sweetest moment was when she told me my cargo was yummy.

The flavours were a great combination.  I loved the chocolate mousse and the strawberries.  However the nutty cherry layer didn't quite work in a parfait but was like a delicious energy ball by itself, if a little gooey.  A cooked biscuit layer would be preferable but I was trying to avoid too much work.  I also disliked the creamy layer.  I it was too creamy and I could taste the tofu.  E (who loves cream) loved it.  As usual, he thought there was too much fruit.

The chocolate mousse in the first parfait was a recipe of silken tofu, banana and cocoa from Tinned Tomatoes.  So simple and healthy that it was amazing just how deliciously creamy it tasted.  Unfortunately the strawberry layer just sunk and ruined my efforts at fancy layering.  I didn't quite get the right balance of quantities and ran out of some layers sooner than others.

When I bought some rice milk white chocolate, I remembered seeing a beautiful white chocolate mousse recipe.  It was made with cream, white chocolate and egg.  I've never been very fond of mousse because of the cream and egg.  Now here was a chance to remake lighter and totally vegan.  White chocolate is usually too sweet for me but the strawberries were tart enough to make it most pleasing.

Sylvia was not so compliant when I made the white chocolate mousse.  It was quicker and simpler.  Yet she didn't take to the white mousse.  Finally she made me cross by tipping some of the strawberries into the mousse layer.  I hurried her off to bed.  When I came back, I was surprised to find that the strawberries were sitting on the mousse rather than mixed in.

I loved this white chocolate mousse with strawberries.  It was thick and slightly grainy.  (I also found that when I left it in the fridge for a few hours the banana in the mousse developed a greyish layer that could be scooped off or stirred in.)  I had learnt from my first parfait that the glasses I used were too big.  I found some smaller wine glasses and didn't fill them to the top.

Sylvia had some the following evening.  She mixed them together and told me she liked the pink icing mousse.  As this tale demonstrates, we all have individual tastes in this household!  But I am confident that I can find more parfaits to please.

I am sending these crackers to Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes for Bookmarked Recipes, an event founded by Ruth's Kitchen Experiments.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Pumpkin miso muffins
Two years ago: Pizza ideas - bases and toppings
Three years ago: NCR: Bean, barley and tomato stew
Four years ago: Milestones and Rissoles

White chocolate mousse with strawberry sauce
Adapted from Berry Simple
Served 4-6

White chocolate mousse:
1 large banana, mashed if your blender needs a little help
200g silken tofu
100g vegan white chocolate, melted (I used Bonvita rice milk)

Strawberry sauce:
200g strawberries, washed and hulled
1 tsp maple syrup

Blitz the white chocolate mousse in a blender until smooth.  Scrap out the mousse into a large bowl to serve from or into individual glasses.  Don't bother to wash the blender and add in the strawberries and blend into a sauce.  Either top the mousse in the glasses or pour into another bowl for serving.

Chocolate cherry berry parfait - work in progress
Parfait inspired by A Dash of Compassion.  Nutty cherry layer inspired by these fruit balls and Chocolate mousse layer adapted from Tinned Tomatoes

Creamy topping:
100g silken tofu
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp agar powder

Blend until smooth and creamy.  I thought it might have helped to dissolve agar in orange juice before blending.

Chocolate mousse layer:
200g silken tofu
1 large banana, mashed
2 tbsp cocoa

Blend until smooth and creamy.

Strawberry layer:
375g strawberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp agar powder

Blend into a sauce

Nutty cherry layer:
1/4 cup dried cherries (without stones)
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp orange juice
1/4 tsp shredded coconut
1/4 cup dates

Blend until all combined and quite stiff.  I thought that leaving out the orange juice might have made it less gooey as this layer should be quite dry to soak up the sauce and mousse.

To assemble:
Layer mousse, strawberries, nutty cherry mix, strawberries, mousse, and creamy layer in glasses or just serve spoonfuls together in a bowl.

On the stereo:
Comic hero - Divine Comedy

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food October 2012.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my Vegan MoFo posts. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa - yes, shame I didn't have a dinner party to show it off to :-)

  2. That chocolate cherry mousse looks and sounds like just my sort of thing. I now can't believe I skipped over tofu in my vegan mousse experiments - I thought it would end up denser than yours look, but these are light and fluffy as mousse should be. I'm liking the layering too. I wish your cargo could fly across to my house!

    1. thanks kari - highly recommend you give silken tofu and banana a go in mousse - the combination works well to make it creamy and thick(ish) but not at all dense. Made that chocolate mousse again last night and sylvia loves it.

  3. Interesting take on a mousse and much healtheir than a standard one. Would love it to try. Dessert you can eat without feeling guilty :)
    The strawberry sauce on top looks lovely too

    1. Thanks Katie - I love the healthier aspect of it and the strawberry works wonderfully with it

  4. I get like that with certain items-I just can't get enough of them! Parfaits are a delicious item to be addicted to :P Rice milk white chocolate sounds intriguing, what is it like on its own?

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I really want to try more parfaits - they are fun and make me feel healthier than baking cake. I liked the white chocolate - I think it might have been a little grainier than regular dairy white choc but definitely would eat it if I was dairy-free

  5. It looks gorgeous, I love the presentation and the top photo looks great! Good on you for giving it another try, well worth the effort.

    1. Thanks Mel - was glad I tried it again and I was pleased with the top photo - am enjoying some photos with flowers around the house lately

  6. I've actually never made a parfait! but I do love these layers of deliciousness!

    1. Thanks Joanne - layers are such fun - am sure there are delicious parfaits ahead in your kitchen

  7. that is healthy ... i would love to have it too

    1. Thanks cquek - easy to make - highly recommend it if you are after a healthy dessert

  8. I miss my Mum's parfaits! They were usually layers of our famous (well, in the family) thick yellow spoonable custard, poached rhubarb and berries, jelly, and toasted sugared almonds.

    Love the dairy free mousse idea!

    1. Thanks Hannah - your parfaits sound almost like my mum's trifles - I love them but can never bring myself to make them but am working up to them

  9. Yum! I can see why Sylvia would be fascinated by such a lovely dessert.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - yes dessert had something for everyone

  10. Oh yes please - I could eat a whole bowlful let alone a glass ;0)


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