Friday, October 8, 2010

Plum Jelly and Yoghurt-Aniseed Mousse on an Almond-Walnut Dacquoise Base

We've spent last weekend in Vetren – a small village near Silistra. Ivan's parents had built their summer house there several years ago and now they live there from april till november. This was a great milestone in their life that changed them thoroughly. Hoeing the garden, planting fruits and vegetables, nipping off tomatoes' side shoots, mowing the grass, weeding, cultivating the soil – all this was a total outfield for them. But now they have a compost heap in the backyard all kinds of fruit trees, berries, herb beds and veggies. There are two huge flower beds in the front yard and a lovely meadow, where I love to walk barefooted. It's a really trim garden.

I love going to Vetren. Working in the garden, weeding, picking up fresh vegetables, swimming in the pool, reading or writing surrounded by pure nature. And it's so relaxing and refreshing. The only thing I miss there is internet but it's not that big deal after all. And even the huge populations of mosquitoes don't bother me when there is such a peace of mind.

Last saturday it was Ivan's mother birthday party and there was plenty of work to be done in the kitchen so we went a day earlier to give them a hand. Ivan helped his father with the baking of a whole stuffed suckling pig into the wood-fired masonry oven(for photos see the Facebook page), then he decided he could bake some bread there. We are baking bread all too often but this one was a totally different thing – flavour, taste, crust – everything was different and radtastically awesome(so it's understandable why it disappeared as soon as it was served).

It was our honour to make the birthday cake. With raspberries – freshly picked from the garden and free range eggs from our kind neighbour Iliika, who always sends us loads of fresh products. Unfortunately there was no time for taking photos, since the cake was quickly devoured as well.

But we have another cake to share with you - plum jelly and yoghurt-aniseed mousse on an almond-walnut dacquoise base with a coconut hint (wow, maybe it's easier to give it a name instead of writing such a long title).

We made these cakes the day before heading for Silistra and there was no time to write about them. But since they were goloptious they are worth sharing.

Plum Jelly and Yoghurt-Aniseed Mousse on an Almond-Walnut Dacquoise Base Recipe:
Makes 6  7cm mini cakes

For the Almond-Walnut Dacquoise:
  • 2 egg whites(room temperature) – around 60 grams;
  • 50 gr granulated sugar;
  • 25 gr ground walnuts;
  • 30 gr ground almonds;
  • 10 gr all purpose flour;
  • 15 gr coconut milk powder (it gives a slight coconut hint but it's not necessary to include it) ;
  • Butter and flour for the baking pan.
Preheat the oven to 150º C and place the rack in the middle. Line with paper, butter and flour 24x18 cm baking pan.

In a bowl mix the ground walnuts and almonds, flour and coconut milk powder. Set aside.

With an electric mixer beat the egg whites to a foam. Gradually add the sugar and beat till stiff and glossy peaks. Remove the beaters and carefully fold in the other ingredients. Bake for around 12 – 15 minutes.

For the Yoghurt-Aniseed Mousse:
  • 150 gr whole milk;
  • 1 heaped tsp aniseeds;
  • 60 gr granulated sugar;
  • 5 gr (1 tsp) powdered agar agar;
  • 300 gr yoghurt (we used 2%);
  • 180 gr whipping cream
Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the aniseeds and leave to infuse for half an hour. Pass through a sieve, discard the aniseeds and bring the milk to a simmer once again. Combine the sugar and the agar agar powder (in order to prevent forming of jelly lumps) and add them to the simmering milk stirring constantly. The temperature should be above 85º C for agar agar to melt. When the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, remove from the heat. Add in the yoghurt and mix to combine. Whip the cream and mix it well with the yoghurt mix

For the Plum Jelly:
  • 800 gr pitted plums (we used Golden plums but any others plums(berries, pears, mangos, etc) will work too;
  • 80 gr granulated sugar (you can adjust it to your taste);
  • 10 gr powdered agar agar(if using sourer fruits more agar agar needs to be added);
  • 30 gr rum.
Puree the plums in a food processor, then pass through a fine sieve. Pour the plum puree into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Combine the sugar and the agar agar powder and add them to the plum puree.(the temperature again should reach 85º C for agar agar to melt) Add in the rum. Stir a couple more minutes till all the sugar is dissolved. Let slightly cool before using, but be aware since the agar agar starts to solidify at around 40º C.

To assemble:
Using a 7cm ring cut out 6 rounds from the dacquoise. Place all dacquoise rounds in their ring (here we used 3 cm tall rings) then pour over the yoghurt mousse leaving 0,5cm to the top. Place in the fridge for an hour to set. Then pour the plum mixture to the top of the rings. Again, place in the fridge to set. It's better to let the cakes rest several hours (or overnight) before eating.


  1. What an impressive looking dessert. The layers are so pretty. It just invites you to eat more and more of it.

  2. Wow these look amazing. I love your account of Silistra too. It's so restorative to slow down to the simple life for a while isn't it.

  3. yumm! Un dessert davvero chic!
    Love the colors... Have a nice week!



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