White Chocolate Mousse with a Valentine’s Touch

How often have you heard of perfectly competent cooks and bakers saying that they’re too scared to attempt making macarons? Have they got cold feet or something?

Cold feet? Macaron feet, happy feet and a warm heart

When they do finally attempt making them, I love how so many of them post excited messages on the Facebook page. You know the one that appears the most? “My macarons have feet!” You’ve no idea how much I want to dance too, knowing that some of that feel-good-macaron-feet pleasure has been spread.

It may be chilly with sub-zero temperatures outside Paris, but this warms the heart no end. This week some of you asked how to pipe out macaron hearts. It’s easy peasy. Just imagine you’re making a ‘V’ shape in 2 lines. Do it quite quickly: push down a bit more mixture at first at the top of each line and taper off coming down.  As the mixture spreads out slightly on the baking sheet you’ll see it come together.

How to make macaron hearts

Instead of filling the macaron hearts, they’re also handy as a garnish for desserts.

For a romantic dessert, try this Hermé-style simplistic version of rose mascarpone cream served on a giant rose macaron and topped with fragrant raspberries (recipe on p.109 in the book.) There’s only one problem: many of you are lucky enough to have red fruits in season just now but here there are no blooming raspberries around due to these Siberian winds – or at least worth buying them at an extraordinary cost and with no flavour. So I attempted something different.

raspberry rose macaron dessert

With the snow initially as inspiration, I remembered the Merveilleux pâtisserie from Un Dimanche à Paris with Mardi of EatLiveTravelWrite. It was basically a meringue coated with cream, infused with rose and orange flower water (although I didn’t really taste it enough), and rolled in white chocolate. Although I’m not the biggest fan of white chocolate, I chose it because it didn’t just look pretty but it was also deliciously light. Besides, I adore rose and orange blossom.

So with all this in mind, I’ve come up with a light, fragrant, snowy mousse for you that’s not too sweet: it’s a quick and easy gluten free dessert.

What is it about rose that makes it so Valentine friendly?  I adore this addition of the orange blossom. Heating the white chocolate in the pan with a little of the cream makes melting it so much easier – especially if you’re unsure of the quality of your chocolate. The meringue crunch comes from the macaron heart and the dosage of orange blossom and rose counteracts the sweetness of the chocolate and is just enough to send your Valentine into a billowy, romantic cloud. Accompany this with glass of chilled Muscat.

white chocolate mousse

White Chocolate Mousse

White Chocolate Mousse with Rose and Orange Blossom

Serves 4 big glasses or 8 mini portions

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Chilling Time: At least 20 minutes

300ml whipping cream
120g white chocolate (+ 20g grated for decoration)
1 tbsp rose water
1/2 tbsp orange flower water
1 egg white

1. Place a mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes (I just put it outside – brrr!)

2. Meanwhile, break 120g of the white chocolate into a saucepan and heat very  gently together with 50ml of the cream, rose and orange flower waters. As soon as it’s melted (after about 5 minutes), set aside to cool slightly.

2. Using an electric beater, whisk the rest of the cream with the egg white to medium-firm peaks. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture and continue whisking until completely mixed together.

3. Pour into individual serving glasses and sprinkle on the grated white chocolate. Set aside in the fridge until needed.

Halve the quantities if you’re serving just for a romantic couple but this does keep easily until the next day in the fridge.

You could also serve this with macarons; if you don’t have cold feet!

white chocolate mousse

Update: I’m so thrilled to see my recipe tried, tested and approved by Gourmantine’s Blog in her marathon to find the best chocolate mousse:

Well, I think anyone thinking this way should be sent a pot of this white chocolate treat by wonderful Jill Colonna, and I am most certain they will have an epiphany.

When I first saw this recipe posted on her fabulous blog “Mad about Macarons” (and I tell you, her macarons are truly to die for..), I couldn’t wait to make it, and chocolate mousse marathon seemed more than appropriate for it.

To be honest, the dark chocolate loving judge panel put the final fight for the best of the best title between recipes essentially out of dark chocolate, but this wonder was considered a champion in it’s own category and does deserve a special mention…Just for the record, it tastes better than it looks…this one is definitely going to the top of my all time favorites.”

White Chocolate Mousse with Rose and Orange Blossom
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins

The lightest white chocolate mousse recipe with a touch of rose and orange blossom water to make even those who don't like white chocolate love this mousse!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 8
Calories: 211 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 120 g white chocolate + 20g grated for decoration
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1/2 tbsp orange flower water
  • 1 egg white
  1. Place a mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes (I just put it outside - brrr!)
  2. Meanwhile, break 120g of the white chocolate into a saucepan and heat very  gently together with 50ml of the cream, rose and orange flower waters. As soon as it's melted (after about 5 minutes), set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Using an electric beater, whisk the rest of the cream with the egg white to medium-firm peaks. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture and continue whisking until completely mixed together.
  4. Pour into individual serving glasses and sprinkle on the grated white chocolate. Set aside in the fridge until needed.
Recipe Notes

Halve the quantities if you're serving just for a romantic couple but this does keep easily until the next day in the fridge.

Jill Colonna


White chocolate mousse

Mango and Orange Tarte Tatin for Marsha’s Birthday

Tatin! Joyeux Anniversaire from Paris, Marsha!

I just couldn’t make this tarte big enough for my lovely friend, Marsha. You see, it’s her birthday. It’s also her first blogoversary approaching this month, and she has given me the total honour of being a guest on The Harried Cook, to join her birthday celebrations.

Marsha is the sweetest blogger I’ve virtually met. She’s adorable (I’m saying that with a French accent, so imagine it as adorrrraaaaable, with a rolled ‘R’ – it sounds so much better) and fun. Can you imagine her lucky husband and daughter, sampling her latest creations such as honey and sesame bread, and lemon-lime meringue pie? (Another great egg yolk recipe!) Speaking of which, do you remember her guest post with an incredible Strawberries and Cream Mousse Pie, using a Pâte à Bombe method? Marsha says she’s harried, but I admire how she juggles her day job and family life, plus manages to move house like a warm Indian breeze.

What is this for a birthday cake, you ask? Well, in our house we don’t really eat cake. We eat macarons… and right now we’re eating so many tarte tatins. It’s the season, as the humble apple is the basis of the classic French Tarte Tatin. It’s our winter version of eating the recommended daily portions of fruit. I guess it’s healthy, even if there is a touch of butter and sugar – just to carmelise it, you understand.

When I was newly married, my French Mother-in-Law would produce the most sumptious Tarte Tatin for dessert. I was in awe. It sounded grand and looked complicated. How could I possibly return home and make this for Antoine without goofing up? She had given me the recipe and told me it was dead easy. Hey, am I supposed to believe everything she tells me? So, I went home and made anything but Tarte Tatin since I had no courage. Then one day I saw it in a French magazine and saw how quick and easy this French dessert was to make. A no brainer. That’s me. That’s my Tarte Tatin. It’s the same syndrome as macaron-making, don’t you think? Picture Julie Andrews singing, “I have confidence in me”!

The Tatin sisters, who ran a restaurant at the start of last century in Sologne, gave the dessert its name. The story goes that as the apples were cooking they realised they’d forgotten the pastry, so they simply stuffed the pastry on top then flipped the tart upside down and Mon Dieu, look what turned up?

For Marsha’s Tarte Tatin, I picked mangoes, as they’re now appearing on our market stalls, although Marsha quite rightly told me the best ones are from India (these ones are from Peru but that’s all we’re allocated!) And as the oranges are at their best just now, I couldn’t resist adding a touch plus a glow of fresh ginger to spice up our present sub-zero temperatures around Paris.

Mango, Orange & Ginger Tarte Tatin Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: approx.45 minutes
2 mangoes, firm but sweet (chopped into slices)
1 tsp orange juice
125g light brown sugar
70g unsalted butter
1 tbsp zest from an untreated orange
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 ready-prepared round of puff pastry
Utensils: A good non-stick cake pan that can transfer to the oven (I just used a non-stick frying pan with removable handle)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Heat the sugar and butter in a cake pan, adding the teaspoon of orange juice. Peel and cut the mangoes into slices and pack them closely together in the pan. Add the orange zest and the ginger. Cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes or until you see the deep golden caramel forming underneath the fruit.
3. Place the round of puff pastry on top of the fruit and tuck it in around the edges of the pan. Prick the pastry and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly for about 10 minutes. Place a large plate (preferably one that dips slightly in the middle to catch the juices) upside down on the tart and flip it over. Tatin!

Happy Sweet Birthday, Marsha and congratulations on your first blog anniversary!

Come join us over at The Harried Cook, for my Guest Post

and let’s sing Happy Birthday to Marsha at the top of our voice!

Tatin! Happy Birthday

Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with Tartare Sauce

Tintin may still make the odd appearance in French shop windows following Spielberg’s film, but I’m frankly fascinated by Captain Haddock’s nose. It reminds me of a one-liner by Steve Martin in the film, Roxanne (based on the French story of Cyrano de Bergérac by Rostand) referring to ze nose:
“Do you have a license for that?”

Photos are all over the supermarkets to promote the film!

My handsome French teacher at school back in the 80s was also embellished with a nose – or nez, or even pif to be familiar – that was so spectacular that a group of us in class wrote a piece entitled, “Why do Frenchmen have big noses?” We could not have been serious. I was eventually punished for that one when I broke my nose 4 years ago, falling with my complete weight on the hooter. Now I’m constantly reminded of my lesson in this freezing weather when my nose lights up à la Rudolf with its license to glow in the cold.

Do you remember Gérard Depardieu’s legendary nose in Cyrano de Bergerac? As Depardieu’s name suggests, he is a dieu on stage. I saw him larger than life in person recently at the première in Paris of his new Telefilm, Rasputin (in French and Russian). Hang on to your seats, folks. This film is spine-tingling. I can’t think of anyone who could play the part of Rasputin as well as Gérard. You can smell it will be a hit.

I wonder if Captain Archibald Haddock could sniff out these Scottish fishcakes from The Black Island? Although it’s more of a weekday family supper, serving mini portions as a Scottish starter has been a surprising hit with French friends at weekends. I love the smokiness of the fish but what really makes it? The simple, homemade tartare sauce. You know what’s coming, don’t you? It’s another handy recipe to use up your egg yolks for making macarons!

églefin fumé or haddock, please?

You can use any smoked fish or a combination of smoked and plain fish but I personally love making it all with smoked haddock. It took me a while to get the tongue around the French word for haddock: églefin; but did you know that églefin fumé can result in funny looks at the poissonerie? I stand corrected as they say that smoked haddock is just known as…

‘Haddock’ (with a French accent, please.)


Recipe: Smoked Haddock Fishcakes and Tartare Sauce

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes


300g smoked haddock
2 bay leaves
500g potatoes, cooked
zest of an untreated lemon
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tsp horseradish sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1 egg
oat flour (to shape) or plain flour
100g breadcrumbs or panko

Tartare Sauce

2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
200ml olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp gherkins, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon

Poach the smoked haddock

1. Poach the fish in milk (just enough to cover up to 1/3 of the fish) with the bay leaves for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, then strain, skin and flake the fish to ensure there are no bones.

2. Mash the potatoes, mixing in the mustard, horseradish, lemon zest, capers and herbs. Season well then add the flaked fish.

3. Divide the fish mixture into small patty cakes (about 2.5 cm thick for starter/hors d’oeuvres size). Form into a shape then roll into the flour. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, dip the patties into it, then cover in the breadcrumbs or panko.

4. Chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge until needed – this is when I make the tartare sauce. You could freeze the fishcakes at this point, placing them openly on a baking sheet. When frozen, transfer to containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

5. Fry in batches in hot olive oil for 5 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Keep them warm until serving with the tartare sauce.

Make the tartare sauce. Ensure your ingredients are at room temperature to make the perfect sauce. This sauce can keep for 3 days in an airtight jar in the fridge, so it’s handy to make this in advance.

  1. Whisk the egg yolks, salt and mustard with a metallic whisk in a glass bowl. Gradually add the olive oil, dribbling it finely and regularly, whisking all the time. Once the mixture starts to thicken, add the white wine vinegar (use a good quality one.)
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.

I wonder how on earth the Tartare sauce formed the map of Corsica? It wasn’t the Black Island but the ‘Island of Beauty’, as my Corsican husband calls it.

Who nose?