Originally called a Bavarian cream in 1910, I’ve renamed it to a mousse: it’s
more accurate by modern standards (this recipe has neither eggs nor custard),
and also frees it from any expectation of a molded shape.
1 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups raspberries (between 2 and 3 of the square plastic containers you’re
likely to find at the market)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1½ tablespoons powdered gelatin
¼ cup cold water
½ cup boiling water
Chop basil coarsely with a very sharp knife, without crushing or bruising
them. Stir basil with cold cream, cover, and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Strain the cream, pressing on the solids (or squeezing with your hands) to
extract as much cream as possible. Discard the solids. Cover and refrigerate
Purée raspberries in a blender or food processer. Strain the liquid to yield
around 1 cup of raspberry juice.
Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the cold water in a small bowl. Let sit for
Add the boiling water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the
raspberry juice and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Refridgerate the raspberry mixture until it begins to firm up, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, whip the the basil-infused cream to soft peaks.
Fold the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture. Pour into serving
container(s) if desired. Chill until set, at least 2 hours for individual
servings and 4 hours for larger dishes. Serve directly from the dish.
Too-strong basil-infused cream can be diluted with more cream; too-weak can
be strengthened by changing the basil and continuing infusion. Do not
strengthen by only extending the infusion time, as that will overextract
the basil and result in unpleasant flavors: instead, strain and remove the
old basil, add the new basil, and continue infusing.
Using more gelatin or sugar will firm the cream; more raspberry juice will
soften it. Balance to achieve your desired consistency.
Pre-moistening the gelatin in cold water in step 2 prevents it from clumping
when the hot water is added in step 3; the hot water is necessary to dissolve
the gelatin. If clumps form, stir constantly until the clumps eventually
dissolve: this can take a long time.
“Soft peaks” are achieved when the whipped cream is thick enough to form
soft shapes/peaks just firm enough to hold briefly as you lift the whisk,
then fall back into the cream. This is the best consistency for folding cream
into other mixtures.