Cool Caramel Mousse with Cinnamon-basted Fruit
There is a lot going on in this dessert, and all of it is delicious. The only difficult aspect of the dish is the caramel cage, so if you are not prepared to make them, just make the other components without the cages. The cake, mousses, and fruit may be prepared 1 day in advance. Refrigerate, tightly covered.
- Raisin-Spice Cake
- Water - 2 cups
- Raisins - 1-1/4 cups
- Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Unsalted Butter - 1/3 cup, melted
- Cinnamon - 3/4 teaspoon, ground
- Nutmeg - 3/4 teaspoon, ground
- All Purpose Flour - 3-1/2 cups
- Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
- Caramel Mousse
- Egg Yolks - 8
- Sugar - 2-1/4 cups
- Water - 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks), melted
- Unflavored gelatin - 2 teaspoons
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Oven-basted Fruits
- Red Delicious Apple - 2, cored and thinly sliced
- Pineapple - 1, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Cinnamon - 1 tablespoon, ground
- Nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon, ground
- Caramel Cages
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Caramel sauce - 1-1/2 cups
- Creme Anglaise - 1/2 cup
- Mint - 8 sprigs
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 300 F. Bring the water and raisins to a boil I a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the stove and let cool. Place the raisin-water mixture in a large bowl Stir in the sugar and melted butter. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then stir gradually into the raisin mixture. Grease an 11-by-15-inch jellyroll pan with butter. Spread the cake batter evenly on the pan and bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown, firm, and springy to the touch. Let cool to room temperature on a rack.
When the cake has cooled, take a 3-inch round cutter and cut out 8 circles or cake. Place the cake circles in the bottom of eight 3-by-3-1/2-inch ring molds set on a baking sheet and set aside. Wrap the trimmings in plastic and set aside.
To make the caramel mousse: Combine the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the yolks are warm. Beat until the yolks are pale yellow and form a slowly dissolving ribbon on their surface when the beater is lifted; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 1-3/4 cups sugar with 1/4 cup of the water, place over high heat, and boil rapidly without stirring until the sugar turns a light amber color. Immediately remove the sugar from the heat and beat the caramel into the yolk mixture, drizzling it down the sides of the bowl as you add to avoid cooking the eggs. Beat the caramel mixture for 1 to 2 minute more, then gradually beat in the melted butter.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a small pan and let sit for 10 minutes to soften. Dissolve the gelatin by placing the pan in a larger pan of simmering water. Add the gelatin to the caramel mixture and mix until well blended.
In a deep bowl, whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold the caramel-yolk base into the whipped cream until well combined. Pour the mousse into the cake-lined molds, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
To make the cinnamon-basted fruits: Preheat the oven to 300 F. Place the apple slices and pineapple slices in separate bowls. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl, then divide the mixture between the apples and pineapple. Toss the apple slices to coat evenly. Heat a medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring frequently, until they are browned and three-fourths cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes. Toss the pineapple with the sugar and spices, then bake in a shallow pan in a preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until caramelized.
To make the caramel cages: Lightly oil the outside a small ramekin or bows and place it upside down on a lightly oiled sheet of waxed paper or a silicone liner. Place the sugar in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat and melt the sugar, stirring constantly as it melts. Once it is melted, stop stirring and cook the sugar syrup until it turns a medium amber brown color. Immediately remove it from the heat. Dip a fork in the caramel and, working quickly, trail long threads of sugar back and forth across an oiled ramekin AND the waxed paper. The sugar will harden quickly. When the sugar has firmed, use a 5-inch round cutter to trim the circumference of the basket so that the finished basket looks like a small rimmed hat. Remove from the ramekin and set aside. Repeat with all the ramekins. Trailing the sugar threads straight across the paper or silicone liner, make a series of long straight threads of sugar; you will want at least 80 long straight sugar threads. Cut the threads in half. Set the sugar decorations aside in a cool, dry place.
To assemble the dessert: Unwrap the reserved cake scraps and trim to create 24 1-1/4-inch or 1-1/2-inch triangles with two long sides and a smaller base side. Put the caramel sauce and creme anglaise in separate squeeze bottles. Invert each mold and remove the mousse and cake with a thin spatula or shark knife. Place one in the center of each dessert plate. Position 3 cake triangles, points up, around each mousse. Squeeze 1-inch dots of caramel sauce between each triangle of cake; top each caramel dot with a small dot of creme anglaise. Invert the caramel cages (“hats”) and press one into the top surface of each mousse. Fill the cavities in the caramel cages with the cinnamon-basted fruits. Individually place 16 to 20 sugar threads into each of the caramel cages and tops of the mousses so that they spray up and outward. Garnish each dessert with a mint sprig.