A couple weeks ago, we chatted with Tamar Adler about everything from butter vs. olive oil to her favorite way to cook lamb—all celebrating her just-released book Something Old, Something New. There, she digs up, dusts off, and shines up classic recipes, reviving them for modern day. To sticky-note which recipes you want to make right now is, well, to sticky-note most of the recipes. But we had to pick—and this one was a shoo-in. Just look at it:
If we’re being very candid, I was never really a mousse fan—too fluffy? Is that a thing?—but frozen and honey grabbed my attention, pulled me closer, gave me a hug. Adler adapted the recipe from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, first published in 1974. As she writes in Something Old, Something New: “It comes from a roadside beekeeper, and produces a light buttercup-yellow edifice of frozen cream that brings to mind fairy tales and enchanted forests. I can’t image a more fantastical confection.”
Neither can we. Though mousse can seem intimidating, this recipe is straightforward and achievable, the sort of thing you can conquer the first time and feel very proud about afterward. Basically, you cook egg yolks and honey in a double boiler. Separately whip cream. Separately beat egg whites. Then fold everyone together. Smooth the mousse into dishes or glasses and freeze. And that’s it!
That’s it? Should anything go on top? we wondered. Adler says it’s unnecessary, though “if you need something else,” she wrote me, “a toasted nut crumble or some simple oat granola.” This sounds like just the way to turn frozen honey mousse into breakfast. And why wouldn’t you? We opted for another drizzle of honey (you can never have too much honey) and some fresh blackberries because spring is here and we’re here for spring.
Can you substitute the honey for something else? Say, maple syrup or sorghum or even molasses? Maybe! “Maple would be amazing, but you’d have to bring the quantity down,” Adler said. “Sorghum or molasses seem too intense and earthy for such an ethereal recipe.”
Whatever substitutions or toppings you have in mind, do try the recipe just as written first. It’s as dreamy as it gets.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 pinch kosher salt
Have you ever made mousse before? What kind? Let us know in the comments!