I was looking through my recipe collections for inspiration for a dessert recipe, something I could make mostly in advance and ideally light enough to follow a full-on dinner. This recipe sounded like a deconstructed apple crumble, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The lightness of the mousse and complexity of the cinnamon and lemon together elevated it to a dessert far more refined. I also found the perfect excuse to use a jar of some fragrant lavender honey, acquired on our last trip to France. It seemed perfect for this recipe, as the flavour of the honey is key.
Honey Mousse with Caramelised Apples & Charred Almond Crumble
The combination of a softly set fluffy mousse, with the apples and crunchy crumble works very well. I would eat this over an apple tart or crumble any day. It's wonderfully easy to prepare the different components beforehand and just put it together before serving. Do read the recipe notes before starting. The recipe is for 6, but I made 1 1/2 times as I had 8 to feed. I found the crumble makes more than you need, but the extra is lovely to eat with ice cream or sprinkled on a smoothie.
For the charred almond crumble
For the caramelised apples
To make the mousse: Place the gelatin in a bowl and cover with cold water to soften. Once soft, remove from the water and set in a small dish. Prepare bowl with a fine sieve ready for the mousse base.
Heat the milk with the cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. In a separate bowl, mix the yolks with the honey. If you are using a set honey, add it to the milk, rather than the eggs to help it dissolve. Don't let the milk boil, else you risk curdling it, and then it's really tough to make a smooth mousse.
Once the milk has boiled, pour over the eggs, whisk well and return to the heat to cook slowly until the mix thickens - like making custard.
Remove from the heat, add the gelatin, mix well, then pour through the sieve, discarding the cinnamon stick and retaining the custard.
Let it cool at room temperature for about an hour. Lightly whip the cream until just thick but still holding its shape. It's important not to over whip it. The consistency should be soft enough for it to fold easily into the honey custard. Fold it in gently into the egg honey custard.
Transfer to a storage container, cover and place in the fridge for a few hours and up to a couple of days.
To caramelise the apples: Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the cinnamon stick and lemon peel, add the apple wedges and fry on a high heat until the wedges are a nice golden colour. Remove from the heat, drizzle with the honey and mix well. Finally, add the lemon juice and set aside until serving. This can be done in advance, and the apples refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
For the crumble: Mix everything together and bake in the oven at 190C or 170C fan for 10 minutes. Remove, mix well and return for a further 4- 5 minutes. Remove and let cool before breaking into a rough crumb.
To serve - Scoop out the mousse onto serving plates. Arrange the apples on the side and sprinkle the crumble generously.
- Using gelatine can be fraught. I have tried both powder and leaf, and much prefer the latter. There are no lumps and it's really foolproof to use. The only tricky bit is that gelatine leaves come in different sizes and strengths and if you have a different brand / strength then the recipe will go awry. In the UK, generally 1 leaf should be stated to set 100ml. If you live elsewhere, check what the manufacturer recommends, and if it's a different ratio, adjust the quantity used. Note that although the mousse quantity is much more than 100ml, this recipe calls for a lower amount of gelatine to obtain a soft wobbly set. The package instructions are normally provided to obtain a firm set.
- All the 3 components of the recipe can be made ahead. Remember to take the apples out of the fridge beforehand, as they aren't nice to eat cold.
- I was out of dark brown sugar, so used light brown instead, and that does yield a lighter coloured crumble. I would recommend the darker sugar as the "charred" flavour is more pronounced.