Green Tea Mousse
with Sake-Marinated Dried Cherries
 
This creamy yet light mousse is flavored with green tea. Unlike other tea-flavored desserts you may have tried, this one realty delivers the subtle flavor of the tea. The mousse is presented in a marble sponge cake “case”, and is accompanied by a tart cherry garnish. This delightful dessert is especially nice in warm weather or after a rich meal. Thanks are due to my pastry chef, Manna Brancely, who came up with this winner.
 
Use six 21/2 x 2-inch dessert molds for the mousse.

SERVES 6
1 cup water

8 green tea bags

CHERRIES
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup sugar
2 ounces dried cherries
1/4 cup water

MOUSSE
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
Marble Sponge Cake

To make the tea for the mousse, bring the water to a boil. Steep 6 of the tea bags in the water 10 to 15 minutes; the tea should be very strong. Cool to room temperature and chill.

To make the cherry accompaniment, combine the sake, sugar, cherries, and water in
a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, coot to
room temperature, and chill, about 30 minutes.
 

To make the mousse, combine the milk with the contents of the remaining 2 tea bags in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the stove and allow the mixture to steep about 20 minutes.

Return the milk mixture to the stove and bring to a simmer over low heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the egg yolks. Whisk the milk mixture gradually into the egg mixture. Transfer this mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and coot to room temperature.

Whip the cream until it holds medium-soft peaks and reserve, refrigerated. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to the egg whites and whip until medium-stiff peaks form.

Set up a double boiler. In the top, combine the gelatin with 3 tablespoons of the chilled tea (discard the rest); the mixture will become thick. Cook, stirring, until the gelatin has become liquid, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the gelatin mixture to the milk mixture and stir to combine. Gently fold in the whipped whites, and then fold in the whipped cream just until combined.

Using a dessert mold, cut 6 circles from the sponge cake. From the remaining cake, use a paring knife to cut six 1 x 5-inch strips. Spray the molds with nonstick cooking spray and place them on a cookie sheet. Line the sides of each mold with a cake strip and fit a sponge cake circle into each. It will be a tight fit; trim the sponge as necessary. Spoon about 5 cherries onto the sponge bases and spoon on some of the syrup to moisten them. Fill the molds with the mousse and chill at least 3 hours and preferably
 

To serve the mousse, warm the sides of the molds with your hands. Release the mousse by pushing the bottoms up through the molds with your hands, or rest the bottoms against a soup can and press the rings down. Transfer each serving to a plate and surround with the remaining marinated cherries.

MING’S TIP: IF YOU PREFER NOT TO USE THE SPONGE CAKE. SPOON
THE UNCHILLED MOUSSE ONTO ATTRACTIVE DESSERT DISHES OR INTO
MARTINI GLASSES IADD A FEW OF THE CHERRIES FIRST IF USING THE
GLASSES) AND SPOON THE CHERRY ACCOMPANIMENT OVER EACH
SERVING.

Marble Sponge Cake

MAKES A 12 x 18 x 1-INCH SHEET CAKE
 

11/3 cups cake flour
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
 

Preheat the oven to 350° F and set up a double boiler. Grease a 12 x 18-inch sheet pan and line it with parchment paper.

Sift the flour twice onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and set aside.

In the top of the double boiler, combine the eggs and sugar. Place over, but not touching, simmering water and heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is very warm to the touch [about 110°F). Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and, using a mixer set at high speed, beat the mixture until it has tripled in volume and is no longer warm, about 15 minutes. Fold in the flour and then the oil.

Transfer 1/2 cup of the batter to a small bowl, add the cocoa powder, and blend. Using
a finger, spread the chocolate batter over the sheet pan in a marbleized pattern. Pour
the remaining batter over the chocolate batter and spread it evenly with a spatula to
cover the chocolate batter completely.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean, 7 to 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a large rack, allow to cool, and peel off the parchment.