Maple & Anise Mousse with Salted Pistachio Brittle

The gastronomic romanticist in me likes to believe that every ingredient has the potential to be delicious.  That an aversion to a certain food is merely the result of poor preparation rather than the ingredient itself.  

Though I know that this philosophy is in many ways strictly fanciful, I do believe that this theory is often reasonably accurate.  

Maple and Anise Mousse with Salted Pistachio Brittle  {Pedantic Foodie}

Meet Illicium Verum, or, as she is more commonly known, Star Anise.  She is the darling of the spice cabinet, yet so often she is unfairly disregarded.  

Let me take a moment to say that black, sticky, sugary candies have ruined many a palate’s appreciate for the delicate flavor of anise.  I was one such victim, until my eyes were opened by a small bowl of fluffy, creamy, oh-so-light, mousse in which anise made an appearance.  In short, please give anise a second chance. 

Maple and Anise Mousse with Salted Pistachio Brittle {Pedantic Foodie}

After trying that wonderful mousse I knew I had to recreate it and, after much recipe testing and reconstructing, success was achieved. 

Maple and Anise Mousse with Salted Pistachio Brittle {Pedantic Foodie}

This mousse is fragrant with the deep, rich, flavors of maple syrup and the anise provides a lovely, spicy after note.  It is light and not too sweet, making it the perfect dessert amongst the numerous pies and doughnuts this season offers.  I am already planning your Thanksgiving menu.  Too soon?

Maple and Anise Mousse with Salted Pistachio Brittle {Pedantic Foodie}

This mousse is topped with our incredibly addicting and versatile salted pistachio brittle.  The brittle adds a much appreciated textural element as well as a hint of salt.

I cannot begin to describe how phenomenal this mousse truly is.  Each flavor is perfectly balanced in a mousse so light and airy that you really cannot stop eating it. 

Maple and Anise Mousse with Salted Pistachio Brittle {Pedantic Foodie}

Let’s give gastronomical romanticism a chance, shall we?  

Sincerely, 

   Pedantic Foodie

 

 

 

Maple and Anise Mousse 

makes 6 

- 1/2 cup amber grade B maple syrup 

- 2 stars whole anise, depending on your taste

- 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

- 2 tablespoons filtered water 

- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, divided 

- 4 fresh egg yolks 

- 2 fresh egg whites, cold

- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 

- pinch of kosher salt 

- salted pistachio brittle, for topping 

In a small bowl combine water and gelatin.  Reserve for later use.  

Combine egg yolks and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Beat on medium speed until the yolks begin to lighten in color, about 1-2 minutes. 

In a small saucepan combine maple syrup and star anise and place over medium high heat.  Bring the syrup to a boil and cook for 5-7 minutes until the syrup has darkened slightly in color and reduced to about 1/3 of a cup or has reached 225 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and remove star anise.  

With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour syrup into the egg yolks.  Return the emptied syrup saucepan to the heat and place gelatin in the pan.  When the gelatin has melted, remove from heat and add to the mixture in the stand mixer.  Beat on medium high speed for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is thick and fluffy and has tripled in volume.  

Gently fold the whipped maple mixture into a large bowl.  Clean the bowl and beater of your stand mixer and place egg whites in the cleaned bowl.  Beat on high speed, and slowly sprinkle in granulated sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form, then transfer egg whites to a separate bowl and reserve.  

Beat 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream on high speed until thick and fluffy.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the maple mixture, rotating the bowl as you fold.  Fold in egg whites in two additions, working gently.  

Divide the mousse amongst six ramekins and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill in the refrigerator for two hours, until set.  

Beat remaining whipping cream to soft peaks and crumble brittle into small pieces.  When the mousse has set, top with whipped cream and brittle and serve.  Enjoy!  

 

Salted Pistachio Brittle

I firmly believe that when it comes to the world of sweets, salt should be present ninety percent of the time.  Salt is a powerful little crystal, it elevates and deepens flavors, it balances sweetness and, combined with sugar, is utterly irresistible.

Salted Pistachio Brittle {Pedantic Foodie}

Crunchy, buttery nuts are cooked and covered in sweet, crisp sugar - brittle is a nothing-can-go-wrong situation. 

Peanuts are not exactly my first choice when it comes to nuts.  Perhaps that is because peanuts are not actually nuts, but that’s another subject all together.  Pistachios, however, have always held my particular regard.  Their flavor is buttery and unique and I never get tired of their stunning chartreuse hue. 

Salted Pistachio Brittle {Pedantic Foodie}

Pistachios and flaky sea salt take this brittle to the next level.  The ratio of salty, to sweet, to crunch is ever-so addicting. 

Salted Pistachio Brittle {Pedantic Foodie}

While downloading the pictures for this post I sat at my desk and enjoyed a small piece of brittle.  I then walked back out to the kitchen and grabbed two pieces of brittle, and this situation repeated itself a large number of times.  It is positively delicious and nearly impossible to walk away from.  You have been warned. 

Happy Wednesday friends!

Sincerely, 

  Pedantic Foodie

Salted Pistachio Brittle

recipe adapted from bon appetite

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • flaky sea salt  (I used a Cyprus sea salt, but whatever strikes your fancy will do.)

Liberally grease a nonstick baking sheet with butter; set aside.  

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of water - whisk to combine.  Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cook until the thermometer reads 290 degrees, about 3-5 minutes.  

Using a wooden spoon, stir in pistachios, butter, and kosher salt.  This will cause the syrup to seize at first but it will melt down.  Cook the syrup, stirring often, until the syrup has reaches 300 degrees and the pistachios have browned slightly, about 2-4 minutes.  The caramel will be a golden brown.  Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda.  As soon as the baking soda has been stirred into the caramel, pour out onto the greased baking sheet.  Use a heat-proof spatula to spread the brittle out.  

Before the brittle hardens, sprinkle the top with sea salt.  Once the brittle has cooled completely, break the brittle into pieces.  Store the brittle at room temperature in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper, this will keep the brittle from sticking together.  Brittle will store for up to a week, but honestly, there is no way it will be around for that long.  Enjoy! 

Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini

I have a minimalistic philosophy when it comes to appetizers.  When trying to time a multiple-course dinner, complicated appetizers are completely absurd.  In my opinion, a simple starter is like a secret weapon to keep the dinner guests content while you are putting the finishing touches on your second-course masterpiece. 

Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini {Pedantic Foodie}

This appetizer should definitely go in your dinner party tool kit.  It is no-fuss, yet elegant and it is the perfect opening act for your next gastronomic symphony.

Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini {Pedantic Foodie}

We begin by roasting our grapes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a hearty amount of freshly ground black pepper.  The sweetness of the grapes pairs really well alongside the tangy vinegar and spicy pepper.  

I love the depth of flavor that roasting brings out.  I really want to roast just about everything this time of year. 

Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini {Pedantic Foodie}

You can even roast the grapes ahead of time and warm them up just before serving. 

Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini {Pedantic Foodie}

Though this is the perfect way to begin your dinner party, that is not to say that you necessarily need a crowd to enjoy a delightful appetizer.  If you would like to sit on the sofa and call this dinner I will be the first to applaud you.  

Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini {Pedantic Foodie}

It's Wednesday and I think we all need some mid-week simplicity.  

 

Sincerely, 

  Pedantic Foodie

 

Balsamic-Roasted Grape Crostini 

makes 16 

for the grapes

- 2 cups red grapes 

- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

- 1 tablespoon olive oil 

freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  

In a small bowl combine grapes, salt, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and black pepper.  Toss to coat.  Spread the grapes out on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the grapes have begun to wilt and the vinegar has thickened to a syrup-like consistency.  

toasts and assembly

  • 1 fresh baguette 
  • olive oil
  • 2 oz chèvre 

Turn oven to the broiler setting.  

Slice the baguette into 16 slices, about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Brush each side with olive oil.  Toast under the broiler for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.  

Spread each toast with chèvre and top with warm roasted grapes.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!