There is so much to talk about with this mousse. It started off as two separate culinary experiments – one with mousse made with seaweed as a thickener (yes, seaweed and no, it’s not agar) and another with a savory vegan shortbread. Each was really amazing on its own, but the cookie was not the cookie I wanted. I did not want to waste the dough. The creative kitchen witch came out and I combined the two. O. M. G. Bob Ross once said, “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.” This was a magnificent accident. The two together form the perfect bite. The mousse is chocolatey, creamy, rich, yet light with a subtle hint of mint. There is a crunch with cacao nibs. The crust is textured, salted with subtle hints of rosemary and citrus. The whole dessert is sweetened only with dates. My mouth waters as I write this. I think I will have a slice while I type.
This whole endeavor started out with the desire to use Irish Moss. A red algae.
A different red algae has been in the news lately because apparently it tastes like bacon when fried. Then I discovered Irish moss. Irish moss is a seaweed that has been used for centuries in – you guessed it – Ireland but it can be found in oceans of Asia and North America. It is used to thicken raw foods and has numerous health benefits. Unlike other gums and thickeners, it provides additional protein, fiber, trace minerals and other nutrients to your raw food. It is a seaweed. It smells like a seaweed. It feels funny, rubbery and sticky.
But I promise you, none of this funniness and smelliness ends up in your final dish.
No one will have a clue that you used seaweed. Not only has this recipe been tested in two dinner parties and through visiting guests, it has been picky toddler verified. My mini-sous ate it “all gone.”
The seaweed must be washed thoroughly. It is dried fresh from the sea and has twigs and sediment. I washed the Irish Moss at least 10 times picking out the twigs and until the water ran clean and there was no sediment left at the bottom of the bowl. Pay attention to the tiny barely visible black sediment at the bottom of the bowl…make sure all of it washes away. I washed a quarter cup of the moss.
The moss must be rehydrated over night. I used one cup of water, made sure the moss was fully covered with water, covered the bowl and placed it in the fridge. It will double in size.
Add the moss and the liquid into a food processor or high speed blender and blend until broken up and slightly gummy/liquidy. Add in vanilla bean paste, tapioca starch, cacao powder, coconut cream, date paste (or maple syrup if you have not made the date paste), coconut butter, coconut oil, fresh mint and blend until consistency is smooth – about 5 minutes depending on your food processor.
To make date paste, I soak pitted medjool dates overnight and blend them with some of the liquid. Using whole dates provides fiber and reduces the sugar impact on the body.
It is important to use coconut cream and not coconut milk as the cream adds to the creaminess of the mousse. Also coconut butter is made from the meat of the coconut and unlike the oil, it contains more than just the fat of the coconut. The coconut oil rounds out the texture.
I like using high quality cocoa powder as it makes a difference in the chocolate taste, but the choice is up to you.
Mint is so easy to grow and has taken over our yard. I suggest plating some. My daughter loves to chew on it when we garden. It is great to freshen the breath. And to make libations or cook with.
The blended mixture is liquid, smooth with air bubbles. Mix in the cacao nibs. Pour it into a large deep dish. I poured into two separate containers so I could make one with the cacao nibs and one without. It is beautiful both ways but I like the crunch of the nibs.
Place in the fridge for one to two hours. It will set.
You can eat it as is. Smooth. Rich yet light. The mint cuts through the fat and the coconut oil coats the tongue just right.
The cacao nibs provide an extra chocolate crunch – it added a nice variation to the smooth texture.
The crust came about because we trimmed our out of control rosemary bush and after giving a ton away, I was left with a lot and coming up with rosemary flavored recipes galore. Another herb I suggest you grow as it is a great bush, can be a table top faux christmas tree and smells great.
The crust is made from an almond meal, coconut flour, sea salt, fresh rosemary, olive oil, orange zest and date sugar.
Instead of dates, I used the date sugar to have a more crumbly crust, rather than one that holds too firm. This is why it did not work out as a cookie. It was too dry. But it is great as a loose crust. I pressed it into oiled ramekins and a spring form pan – about one inch thick. Then bake the crust for about 15-20 min at 325 degrees F until slightly browned. Be careful not to burn as it will have a very bitter flavor.
Top with the mousse. And you can eat it as is.
It holds up well.
To make something fancier, I suggest topping with the mousse, dropping the dish onto a flat surface to remove any air bubbles and to settle the surface and refrigerating for another hour.
Now you could pour the liquid mousse mixture onto the baked crust and then set to save time. The wet mousse does help solidify the crust, but you don’t feel the texture of the crust as prominently.
This mousse is great fresh, but the flavors do blend over time, sO I suggest making it one day ahead.
I dusted the mousse with cacao powder. The dusting should be done upon serving.
The crust is salty with a hint of rosemary. The citrus adds a bit of surprise. The texture is a nice sandy texture compared to the smooth mousse. The cacao nibs provide a nice crunch to tantalize all the senses and bring pleasure to the palate. The mousse has the right balance of lightness to contrast with the bold crust and the mint surprisingly pairs well with the rosemary.
This pie went fast. Each bite was delightful. Yet eat small slice was enough. The coconut oil and meat provides the right amount of fat to keep you satisfied with a small piece and yet the mint, citrus and light airy mousse leave you feeling light.
This is by far the best chocolate dessert I have made yet. I highly recommend you try it.
Vegan Chocolate Mint Coconut Mousse with Gluten-free Salted Rosemary Citrus Olive Oil Crust
- 1.5 cup ground almond meal or flour
- 1/2 cup of coconut flour
- 3 Tbs date sugar
- 1.5 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup Irish Moss
- 1 cup water + more for washing
- 1/2 cup date paste (about 6 dates) or maple syrup
- 13.5 oz can coconut cream
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbs coconut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup cacao powder + more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 8 inch spring form pans with coconut or olive oil.
Add almond meal, coconut flour, date sugar, rosemary, and salt to a bowl and whisk together. Add in olive oil and mix together. The mixture will be the consistency of wet sand. Add in the zest of one orange and mix by hand. Form the mixture into a ball. Press evenly into each pan.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly browned. Beware not to burn (better to undercook than overcook).
Let cool and set aside.
For the mousse:
Wash the Irish moss well, removing twigs and sediment. Wash well. Place in a container and completely cover with 1 cup of water, cover and place in the fridge for 8-24 hours. It will double in size.
Blend moss and remaining liquid in container in a food processor or high speed blender until gummy. Add remaining ingredients, except cacao nibs, and blend until smooth – about 5 minutes.
Add in cacao nibs and mix thoroughly. Pour into a glass dish and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and spoon mousse mixture onto crust, evenly distributing between the two. Tap to remove air bubbles and settle the top. Place back into the fridge for at least one hour. 24 hours to let flavors mingle is recommended.
Remove from fridge and from spring form. Dust with cacao powder and serve cold.