What’s Christmas like in your respective families? Do you have big family dinners throughout the holidays, or do you prefer a quieter Christmas celebration amongst your closest family?
I am partial to both, I have to admit. My own family is not very big, at least it doesn’t get together on Christmas Eve (which is the main Christmas day here in Germany). Having one pair of my grandparents over on Christmas Eve was already more than enough – I guess we’re just a very loud family, so with seven people in one room making that much noise, I can’t imagine what it’d be like if you threw the other grandparents and my uncle’s family in there as well.
My boyfriend’s family, however, is huge. I’ve told you about that before. When all of them meet on Christmas Day, there are about 20 people crammed into their grandma’s kitchen, half of them standing, half them sitting, with two toddlers trying to move around all the legs and feet without being trampled. And it works so well – I’m surprised every time.
This is not a post to compare and contrast. But I have to say I like the fact that I get to be part of both kinds of celebrations, as both have a certain appeal. In general, I’m not good with huge crowds of people. Not because I’m not extroverted or shy, but because I find it very exhausting being around many people for hours on end. (I sound like a very strange people-phobic person…I’m not, trust me) So kudos to my boyfriend for making me like his family gatherings after all this time!
By the way, if you read my last post, you might be surprised to be reading another post before the end of the year. When I wrote it, I was in that typical “omg-it’s-almost-Christmas-and-the-end-of-the-year-I’m-exhausted”-state of mind, so that explains why I wanted it to be my last post. I should have guessed that that wasn’t going to happen. After all, I had a beautiful Christmas dessert planned, an altered version of my decadent Christmas mousse, which I presented to my family yesterday. I dare say they adored it! But, then again, who wouldn’t?
Yes, the length of the title represents the amount of deliciousness comprised in this great dish. 🙂 It’s completey vegan, excepting the Baby Meringue topping, which can easily be left out, of course.
(Btw, I made two versions of this – one with regular mousse au chocolat, and one with coconut mousse, as my mom and I both have an intolerance to dairy. I will only share the coconut mousse recipe with you today, but don’t be confused by the slightly differing colors of the mousse in the pictures).
Pommegranade Topped Coconut Mousse au Chocolat With Fruity Chocolate Spears, Baby Meringues, And Cashew Brittle
for the coconut mousse:
- 1 recipe decadent whipped coconut cream
(I used 1 1/2 Tbs. maple syrup and 2 Tbs. cocoa powder, making this even more chocolatey than in the original recipe. Also, this recipe serves 2. The other 6 servings I made using “real” mousse au chocolat with dairy and eggs.)
for the fruity chocolate spears:
- 2-3 different types of fruit (I used banana, kiwi, and melon)
- 50-60g chocolate (I used 85% dark chocolate, and milk chocolate for two of my spears, as my dad and brother despise dark chocolate)
for the cashew brittle:
- follow the recipe for walnut brittle, using cashews instead (my mom has allergies, so I couldn’t use walnuts – feel free to use any nuts you like)
for the baby meringues:
- 4 eggwhites
- 50-60g brown sugar
for the pomme granade:
- 1/4-1/2 pomme granade (DUH!)
1. Make the baby meringues, if you’re not vegan, by whisking the egg whites and sugar together. Continue to whisk until a creamy, white, thick mixture has formed. Then fill them into a plastic freezer bag, cut off the tip on one corner, and drop onto a baking sheet in a circular fashion. I made some larger ones as well.
2. Preheat the oven to 150°C, and dry the meringues for about 75 minutes. Make sure they aren’t turning brown – which would mean your oven is too hot!
3. Prepare the cashew brittle following the recipe in the link above.
4. Free the seeds of the pomme granade and cool until serving. You have now finished the toppings for your mousse!
5. Cut up your fruit into dice-sized chunks, arrange them on your spears (you gotta make sure they are thick enough when cutting them) and freeze them for at least 3 hours.
6. Prepare the coconut mousse following the link and ingredient alterations on top. Fill into serving bowls/glasses and refrigerate until serving.
7. Once your fruit spears are frozen, melt your chocolate and sprinkle the fruit in a criss-cross fashion on both sides. Since your fruit is frozen, the chocolate will dry almost immediately, making this step much easier.
8. Now comes the fun part: Decorating your mousse au chocolat with various toppings! Sprinkle some of the pommegranade seeds on top, as well as a bit of cashew brittle, and press one baby meringue into your mousse very lightly. Last but not least, lay one fruit spear across the top of your bowl.
As my family has different preferences concerning the fruit, I had some fruit spears with no banana, some with no kiwi etc. These can be varied according to what your various family members like!
The left one is the coconut mousse au chocolat, hence it’s darker color.
And there it is: pure Christmas delight in a bowl. It’s so easy on the eyes that you may not want to destroy it, but once you’ve tasted the first spoon, you’ll see that it’s impossible to resist.
It was completely silent when everyone started digging in. I think that speaks for itself. 🙂