I’ve never been one for Valentine’s Day. The concept of the day never sat right with me. If there were ever an aspect of a person’s life one should feel absolutely no shame about, it’s their relationship status. Whether you’re single or attached or somewhere in between, it says very little about you or your worth, in my opinion. So organizing a day to celebrate what is celebrated and praised all year round is ludicrous. Diagnosing the health of your relationship based on the displays of affection (or lack thereof) you received on one day – bonkers! And it’s not even a holiday, you still have to go to work. So I’ve decided Valentine’s Day is not a celebration of love. It’s the celebration of the color pink and frothy feminine desserts. So let’s kick the festivities off with these Raspberry Ricotta Mousse Cakes.
Now, let’s get the bummer of this recipe out of the way. You do need special equipment to make these Raspberry Ricotta Mousse Cakes. Yeah, I know. I hate when recipes do this too. But look at how cute they are! These darlings are totally worth the trip to a baking goods store. Obviously, you will need silicon spherical molds and you will need small silicone molds as well. I’m not picky about the shape of the small molds. I happen to find raspberry-esque molds, which I saw as fate. But as long as your smaller molds are a third of the size of your larger molds, I don’t care much what shape they are.
A candy thermometer is less aparent but as important as the molds. We’re going to have a lot of temperature sensitive items in this recipes and short windows of time in which to work in. You don’t want to be left guessing how hot your mirror glaze still is. You just don’t – doubt is not cute. And finally, you’re going to need geling agents, a couple of them. The raspberry gummy center is made using liquid pectin and the mousse and mirror glaze required either powdered gelatin or sheet gelatin. I prefer sheet gelatin because I think it’s more reliable, but I know it can be difficult to find, so I have provided both the sheet and powdered gelatin measurements in the recipe below.
Okay, so I think that’s all the weird stuff, let’s break these Raspberry Ricotta Mousse Cakes down. And the best way to do that is to work from the bottom up. The base of these cakes is a sable cookie, which is more or less the French answer to the shortbread cookie. It is more rigid than, say, a whipped shortbread and it holds its shape, which makes it the perfect base for a cake like this. Oh and they’re a snap to make, which is nice in a recipe like this one, where a lot of the steps are fussy. It’s nice to have one component you can easily knock out of the park. And you can make the cookies up to three days in advance.
Next up we have the raspberry pate de fruit. This is where your candy thermometer really comes in handy. Basically, you mix pureed fruit with a little sugar and bring it up to 140°F, add more sugar and liquid pectin and bring it up to 200°F. Once you get there, you have to try to hold it at that temperature for 2-3 minutes before bringing it up to 225°F and holding it there for another 2-3 minutes. You really don’t want to be guessing your way through this process. So make sure you get that candy thermometer.
Okay, let’s talk about the actual mousse. This portion of the cake is actually pretty simple. You simply gel one envelope or 4 sheets of gelatin in cold water. Bring the juice of one orange to a simmer and dissolve the bloomed gelatin in that. Whip a cup of cream until stiff peaks form and blitz some honey, ricotta, the orange juice and rose water together in a large food processor. Then simply fold in the cream and you’re done. No candy thermometer or super hot sugar required. Honestly, you could just make the mousse and call it a day. I wouldn’t be the least bit mad.
And finally, let’s talk mirror glaze. This is the trickiest part of these Raspberry Ricotta Mousse Cakes, in my opinion. This glaze is very much a “hurry up and wait” scenario. It starts out much like the mousse by blooming gelatin and whisking it into hot water, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. Then it takes a turn. It sort of follows the storyline of a ganache for a bit. And finally, you wind up waiting for the glaze’s temperature to drop to anywhere between 94 – 90°F. The moment that it does, you have to run like hell to quickly pour it over your frozen mousse cakes.
The mirror glaze is the most stressful and time-sensitive portion of this recipe. And, again, you don’t have to do it. If you made it this far, you already have all the most delicious components of these cakes completed. The mirror glaze is like makeup, it’s not wholly necessary it just looks pretty. And once the glaze is on, you can stick whatever decorations your heart desires on these guys. I went with a fairly retro raspberry motif, but you do you.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Raspberry Ricotta Mousse Cakes. Blushing pink and unapologetically feminine, these cakes are the perfect sweet for your sweetie or your own. damn. self.
Raspberry Ricotta Mousse Cakes
- 2 Half Sphere Silicon Molds (see note #1)
- A set of candy molds (see note #2)
- Candy Thermometer
- Imersion Blender
- 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter cut into cubes, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup confectioner's sugar sifted
- 4 egg yolks room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Raspberry Pate de Fruit (see note #3)
- 340g (12 oz) fresh raspberries
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar divided
- 1½ tbsp liquid pectin
Ricotta Rosewater Mousse
- 4 sheets sheet gelatin see note #4
- 1 orange juiced
- 475g (17oz) ricotta
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ tsp rosewater
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
Mirror Glaze (see note #5)
- 8 sheets sheet gelatin see note #6
- 300g (11.5oz) granulated sugar 1½ cups
- 200g (7oz) sweetened condensed milk ⅔ cup
- 150g (5.25oz) water ½ cup
- 350g (12.25oz) white chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- white color gel
- pink color gel
For the Cookies
- Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugars together until smooth and fluffy.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the egg yolk, one at a time. Once the egg yolks are fully integrated, add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
- Add the flour and the salt and mix until a thick dough forms. Form the dough into a ball on a lightly floured surface and divide it in two. Roll each half out to a 1/4 of an inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. Transfer the dough to the fridge and let chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a 3" biscuit cutter, cut out 5 cookies from each half. Press the scraps into a log, wrap and freeze for future cookie emergencies. Transfer the cut cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar and pop them in the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden.
- Once the cookies are golden, leave them to cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in a resealable container for 1 week.
For the Pate de Fruit
- Place the raspberries in a large food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour the puree into a fine-mesh strainer and stir to force the juices through until nothing is left but the seeds.
- Pour the juice into a saucepan and add the lemon juice and a ¼ cup of the sugar. Place over medium heat and heat to a temperature of 140°F, stirring constantly.
- When the mixture reaches 140°F, add the remaining sugar and the liquid pectin. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 200°F. Reduce the heat to low and keep the mixture at 200°F for 2-3 minutes.
- Once the time is up, increase the heat to medium once again and heat the mixture to 225°F, stirring constantly. This will take some time. Once the mixture reaches 225°F, return the heat to low and hold the mixture at that temperature for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a heatproof vessel with a spout and carefully pour into the silicone mold. Let cool on the counter for 30 minutes before transferring the candies to the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
- Once the candies are set, extract them from their molds and roll them in granulated sugar and set aside.
For the Mousse
- Place the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water to bloom. Pour the orange juice into a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Once the juice is simmering, take it off of the heat. Take the softened gelatin sheets out of the water and give them a squeeze to wring out any excess moisture. Place the gelatin sheets in the orange juice and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the ricotta, honey, rosewater, salt, and orange juice in a large food processor and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the cream on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture.
- Spoon the mousse into the half-sphere molds up to the top. Press a pate de fruit into the center of each mold. Top with a cookie. The cookie doesn't have to go inside the mold, but try to ensure it lines up with it.
- Transfer the cakes to the freezer and freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight.
For the Mirror Glaze
- Place the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water to bloom. Pour the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and water into a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and take it off of the heat. Take the gelatin sheets out of the water and wring out the excess. Place the gelatin in the condensed milk mixture and stir until it dissolves completely.
- Pour the white chocolate chips into a large bowl. Pour the condensed milk mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract, a splash of white color gel, and as much pink color gel as you like. Use the immersion blender to mix once again.
- Place a candy thermometer in the mixture and wait until the mixture drops to at least 94°F before pouring. Be sure to give the glaze a stir every now and then because it tends to form a skin.
- When the mixture hits 99°F, take the cakes out of the freezer. Place a series of objects that are narrower in diameter than the mousse cakes onto a large baking sheet and perch the cakes on top of them. Once the glaze registers 94°F, pour the glaze over the cakes in a circular motion. Try to glaze all of the cakes before the glaze falls below 90°F.
- Leave the cakes to drip for 10 minutes before removing the drips with a palette knife. The glaze should still be slightly tacky, so this is the time to decorate with raspberries, sprinkles, or whatever your heart desires.
- Transfer the cakes to the fridge and let chill for 1 hour before serving.