Creme Fraiche Blancmange and Plum Mousse Cake… and Petit Suisse Part Trois

Let me start by saying that I have made blancmange many times before, but this time, when I decided to add creme fraiche to it, I realized that I found a really good substitute for the petit suisse I have been craving for so long.

For those of you who have never had blancmange, it is similar to panna cotta in the sense that it is sweetened heavy cream that is stabilized with the addition of gelatin. This recipe however, does not warm the heavy cream, it is whipped instead, resulting in a very light, mousse-like layer. The addition of creme fraiche adds that richness and bit of tang similar to petit suisse.

I have always liked a dollop of creme fraiche with roasted fruits so I decided to use it in the blancmange. After I spread some on my mousse cake, I had some leftover that I piped into shot glasses. That was going to be my mid-afternoon snack. When I tried it, I realized it tasted just like petit suisse and then the lightbulb turned on in my head… “That’s right! It makes complete sense!”.

After my first attempt to make petit suisse, which resulted in a nice fromage frais, I started reading more about the petit suisse making process. It’s very similar to the fromage frais but then at one point, after the milk has curdled, extra heavy cream is added. I wasn’t clear on how to proceed with those instructions so I left it at that, but this blancmange tastes just like petit suisse and now I know why. It is a cross between a fresh, soft cheese and sweet cream.

I built this cake with an almond and roasted plum sponge as the base. Then the roasted plum mousse is thinly spread over it, the vanilla bean creme fraiche blancmange and it is all topped with burnt swiss meringue. I also made some bubble sugar as decoration. I know it might seem very intimidating to work with sugar at home, and it can be, but this decoration is really easy to make and I think it’s a nice touch.

Plum and Almond Sponge
makes half a sheetpan

175 grams egg whites
90 grams sugar
150 grams almond flour
55 grams powdered sugar
30 grams flour
40 grams plum puree

In a bowl, sift together almond flour, powdered sugar and flour. Set aside.

Whip the egg whites to almost a full meringue. Slowly add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle a third of the sifted dry ingredients and fold. Add another third, fold and add the rest. Fold gently. Add the plum puree and fold.

Spread the sponge batter on a half sheetpan with an offset spatula. Spread evenly.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the top starts to turn color but not brown.

Plum Mousse

200 grams plum puree
20 grams sugar
2 gelatin sheets
200 grams heavy cream, soft peak

Warm the plum puree with the sugar. In the meantime, soften the gelatin in an ice bath. When the gelatin has softened, add it to the plum puree. When the plum puree is slightly cool, add the whipped cream into the base and fold gently until all ingredients are incoporated.

Spread the mousse evenly over the plum sponge and freeze right away.

Creme Fraiche Blancmange

350 grams heavy cream
2 vanilla beans
75 grams sugar
3 gelatin leaves
250 grams creme fraiche

Whip the heavy cream, vanilla and sugar to soft peaks. In the meantime, soften the gelatin leaves in ice water for about 5 minutes. Add about 3 Tbs of the whipped cream to the gelatin and melt it over a double boiler. Do not over heat it though. Stir so all the gelatin is dissolved.

Add about a cup of the whipped cream to the gelatin mixture and whip. We are tempering the gelatin. If we were to add the melted, warm gelatin to the entire batch of cold whipped cream, the gelatin would set right away and we would be left with chunks of gelatin in the cream. So temper a little bit of the cream into the gelatin and whisk. Then fold in the rest.

Finally, fold the creme fraiche into the cream base. Evenly spread the blancmange over the plum mousse with an offset spatula. Let it set in the refrigerator or freezer.

Swiss Meringue

75 grams egg whites
150 grams sugar

Mix egg whites and sugar in a bowl and place over a double boiler. Whisk them together until sugar starts to melt. It will be hot to the touch and the color will change to white.

Transfer the bowl to the mixer and whip to a stiff meringue. Place the meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe some meringue on top of the blancmange. Burn the meringue with a blowtorch.

Bubble sugar

180 grams sugar
90 grams water
30 grams glucose

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook to 317F degrees. In the meantime, take a piece of parchment paper and make it into a ball with your hands. Open it up and flatten it but we want to keep the texture. Rub a little bit of alcohol on the parchment paper and when the sugar reaches 317 degrees, pour a little bit of sugar on one edge of the paper. Lift it and let the sugar run down. The alcohol will make the sugar bubble up creating the bubble effect.

This is very hot so be careful when you handle it. Once the sugar has hardened, peel the paper off carefully. Store the bubble sugar in an airtight container.

This is obviously not how petit suisse is made, so there will be more coming on this subject. Stay tuned… I have an accomplice on this!


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42 Responses to “Creme Fraiche Blancmange and Plum Mousse Cake… and Petit Suisse Part Trois”

  1. Peabody says:

    Mmm, plum mousse. Never had it but I can just taste it. It bet it is fabulous.

  2. Christy says:

    When i looked at your sugar shard i thought you mad it out of isomalt! I wish I had half the time, patience and commitment you put into making beautiful sweets…

  3. Tartelette says:

    Bubble sugar makes me happy :) and makes me feel like a rocket scientist in the kitchen! Yes for plum under blanc manger and blanc manger over plum!

  4. Meeta says:

    So extravagant! I love the flavors. YOu dazzle me Aran!

  5. Vera says:

    Absolutely fantastic!

  6. Aran this is just amazing! Everytime I see a new recipe here I think it’s my favourite so far, but you keep amazing me and the new ones you post! Eres la mejor!

  7. Ann says:

    Decadent and beautiful… and a little sexy, too!

  8. I hope that someone is courting you for a cookbook deal, because you’re talented and your creations are sublime, not to mention the fact that you’re generally a lovely person.

    Someone get this lady a book deal!

  9. Bridget says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!

  10. Gorgeous pulled sugar!

    inerestingly, when I was a kid blanc mange around here was soft pillowy meringues cooked in milk which was then used to make creme angalise….I’m intrigued to check out the history of this dessert to see where the naming went in different directions.

    Gorgeous post as usual, Aran!

  11. Mobula says:

    Sencillamente genial!!!! Y lo bueno que tiene es que se puede variar la mousse de ciruelas por otras frutas!!!!

    Con ésta me salto la dieta y la hago…..

    Ana

  12. Aran, wow, divine, amazing. this looks absolutely fantastic, you’ve made me want some so badly I can almost taste the flavours!!! HEAVEN!

  13. Y says:

    Sounds so beautiful and love the photos. I can just imagine the mousse must be so light in the mouth, and the combination of flavours, perfect for that hot weather you’re experiencing :)

  14. Elra says:

    Aran,
    I always put off by the idea of making anything with plum, because its tendency of getting more acid after cooking. But, I would love to try your recipe.. maybe I peel the plum to make it less acid. Do you think it will still taste good?

  15. Veron says:

    Aran, you never cease to amaze me. This is gorgeous, such lovely details!

  16. You amaze us.

    Love,
    TasteSpotting

  17. You are so brilliant in the kitchen Aran! Every post you blow we away!

  18. Mrs.French says:

    Amazing…I have never seen anything quite like this…I would love to taste it! Your photos keep getting better and better…perfection!!!

  19. Aran says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words…

    Elra- to answer your question about the plums… i roasted them with a bit of demerara sugar for about 10 minutes. the skin softened so I was able to peel it off really easy. the plums are a bit acidic but they go well with the really sweet meringue and blancmange. Try it!

  20. Astrid says:

    I haven’t had time to read yet but must leave a comment: this dessert is visually stunning! And your photos are great. You are an artist!

  21. Astrid says:

    Two questions, if you have the time to answer (if not, no worry):
    - how do you make the plum puree? Simply cook down the plums in a few tb water?
    - how do you make such neat slices of dessert: slice frozen cake with a hot knife?
    Thanks for this very inspiring post! And good luck for your search for the perfect Petits Suisses recipe. It’s crazy, it’s like a world-reknown concert pianist desperate to play Chopsticks or something (sorry, but Petits Suisses are baby food where I come from! But a craving is a craving, I respect that).

  22. Aran says:

    Astrid-

    That’s hilarious! yes, I know it’s baby food. It was baby food for us too but maybe that’s why I crave it. I crave that memory of it. And… it’s super rich and delicious!

    Regarding the plum puree… what I did is I roasted the plums that I cut in half with a bit of demerara sugar for about 10 min. This softens them. I skinned them and cut them and pureed them with a hand held mixer (or in a food processor).

    About the cuts… yes, keep the cake almost completely frozen. Not all the way otherwise you might break your hand and the cake might crack. But yes, the cake very, very cold and a hot knife. Clean the knife after each cut so there is no colors mixing, etc.

    Hope that answers all your questions!

  23. Thank you for this lovely recipe, and especially for the straightforward instructions for making bubble sugar!

  24. palm beach says:

    Hi Aran

    what a nice blog
    congratulation
    Jerome LT

  25. giz says:

    Aran, I was going to make this but I can’t even pronounce it so I decided to let you do it…DUH…like I could even come close – it’s amazing – unbelievable and I’m jealous. But I see that you found recipes for Petit Suisse.

  26. Cakespy says:

    I’ve really got to try this one–it looks like a great alternative to panna cotta, and even possibly tastier!

  27. Vida says:

    Hello Aran, I cannot believe I have not discovered your site until now!! You are my dream come true!!! I LOVE all things sweet and you do the most amazing sweets!! The presentation is phonomenal!!! Adding your instantly to my favourites and subscribed already!!! Vida x

  28. linda says:

    Another beautiful and delicious dessert! You’re like a lean mean dessert machine ;) I love the look of the bubbly sugar, never seen it like that.
    I love that you make mousses without raw eggs. I’m always very apprehensive of using them.

    Two small questions:
    1. is the glucose you use the liquid form or the powdered form?
    2. is the alcohol for the bubbly sugar 70% alcohol or just something like whisky?

    ps I’m repeating myself and Mevrouw Cupcake but how about writing a book on desserts?

  29. ainara says:

    Kuku… Qué bonito todo! las cositas de arriba horneadas me recuerdan a ésas galletitas pequeñitas con formA de titie que comía de pequeña en casa de mi amama en Butrón… eran una pasada!

    Tengo una idea de un proyectito que podríamos hacer juntas, aunque fuera a distancia ;) hasta que podamos vernos… Te la comento por email y me dices qué te parece.

    Un mosu muy potolote!! ainara

  30. Aran says:

    Hi Linda-
    To answer your questions…

    1) I use both liquid and powdered glucose depending on the recipe. For the bubble sugar it is liquid. I always specify if it is powdered or atomized as it is called.

    2) It’s rubbing alcohol, like the 70%. I suppose you could use a clear high percetnage alcohol such as vodka as well but I used rubbing alcohol.

    Thank you!

  31. pea & pear says:

    This is the next cannelle et vanille recipe I am going to try. Looks so good I can’t wait for an excuse!!!!
    Ali

  32. Dédalus says:

    Es una pena que mi nivel de inglés sea más bien medio (yo estudié franchute), porque la cocina me encanta y tus reposterías tienen una pinta extraordinaria. Por sólo verlas fotografiadas, ya me ha merecido pasarme por tu página.

    Besos, Aran… (¿tza?)

  33. Astrid says:

    Thank you Aran for your answers to my questions as well as Linda’s, now all I have to do is make this!

  34. Aran says:

    Eskerrik asko Dedalus… y si, es Arantza o mejor dicho Arantzazu.

  35. Christine says:

    Your blog is amazing, your photographs and recipies; stunning. This is one breathtaking food blog:) (also left a comment on the hazelnut maccaroons, and linked to you on both my blogs;) I’m a fan:)

  36. sara says:

    your bubble sugar is crazy wonderful!

  37. Gloria says:

    Aran esto se ve precioso realmente y delicioso como siempre , ¿Còmo has estado??? Muchos cariños, Gloria

  38. Mary Ruth says:

    Your photography is amazing and the food is TDF!

  39. C.L. says:

    I have tried bubble sugar before and it was a different techinque and I failed…(I seem to do that a lot..good thing I am stubborn) I will have to try your technique. Man you kick a*#!

  40. Inne says:

    Oooh, so pretty Aran. Never heard of bubble sugar before but it looks wonderful!

  41. Anonymous says:

    if we cant find creme fraiche, what can we do to substitute it? in the states, the highest cream we got is heavy cream….no matter where i go, i cant find creme fraiche, specialty stores, farmers markets, supermarkets, and international markets….all fail. anyways, hope you see this, i realize this is an old post

  42. My Whole Foods and regular supermarket both sell creme fraiche but if you want to make your own, it is super easy.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/how-to-make-creme-fraiche.html

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