A delicious and easy vegan Rhubarb Mousse -- the perfect dessert for a lazy spring or summer afternoon. The mousse is sweetened with maple syrup and fruit juice and has hints of vanilla and cinnamon.
Every year, when Spring rolls around, I cannot wait to get my hands on some rhubarb.
Rhubarb apparently grows wild in the mid-west, but here in my part of the United States its popularity makes it a hard stalk to come by. This year, I started looking for rhubarb in just about every supermarket and farmer's market in my neighborhood weeks ago, but everywhere I went I'd be met with empty baskets and apologies. I got so tired of hearing, "Sorry, we're out of it," that I started to resign myself to the idea of a rhubarb-less Spring. And then, lo and behold, I was at this little grocery store not one block from our home and there, right in front of me, was a big basket of juicy, colorful rhubarb stalks.
I squealed with delight and picked one, and a friend from China who happened to be staying with us looked at me, puzzled, and asked, "celery?" She couldn't quite understand why I was so excited.
Truth is, there is just something magical about these ruby-red stalks. Rhubarb is incredibly tart-- so much so that it is hard to imagine its popularity as a dessert ingredient, if you've never had it. And if you never have, well, there's only one way to remedy that.
One of my favorite ways to eat rhubarb is in a Rhubarb Pie, but this time I wanted to make something cool and refreshing and delicious that would be perfect to gorge on during a lazy weekend afternoon. Like this Rhubarb Mousse.
I wanted to make this mousse soy-free, so instead of tofu, which I might have normally added, I chose coconut milk. This is the kind of coconut milk that comes out of a can, and you want to use just the thickest part. Also make sure your coconut milk is fresh and sweet-- this is one ingredient that loves to go rancid on you when you leave the can someplace hot.
To add more flavor to my Rhubarb Mousse, I threw in the seeds of a vanilla bean, some cinnamon, and some delicious, deep, rich maple syrup. Perfect.
Try making this beautiful mousse if you have some time this weekend. It doesn't take long at all, I promise.
- 3 rhubarb stalks, ends trimmed and stalks chopped into ½-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup apple or cranberry juice
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split in the middle and seeds removed, or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½- 1 cup confectioners' or powdered sugar, use more or less based on your taste and the tartness of the rhubarb
- 1 tsp agar powder mixed with 2 tbsp hot water, optional
- Place the rhubarb in a saucepan with the apple or cranberry juice. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook about five minutes or until the rhubarb is really soft and mushy.
- Place the rhubarb with the juice and the remaining ingredients in a blender and blitz until really smooth and airy, about 2 minutes.
- Put the mousse into serving bowls and chill before serving.
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