Salted caramel mousse with pistachio crumble

The crunch of the toasted pistachio crumble pairs perfectly with smooth spoonfuls of the lightly whipped caramel mousse.
The crunch of the toasted pistachio crumble pairs perfectly with smooth spoonfuls of the lightly whipped caramel mousse. Photo: William Meppem

I approach dessert like I would savoury food, tasting and adjusting along the way. In large part, this is not how you should approach desserts. However, this mousse is an exception. It may stress you to make a caramel but I promise that as long as you are careful, you will be rewarded.

Ingredients

200g castor sugar

500ml (2 cups) cold pouring cream

1 tsp powdered gelatin

1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp essence)

½ tsp sea salt flakes

8 ripe figs or fresh raspberries, to serve

Pistachio crumble

90g (½ cup) brown sugar

85g (⅔ cup) plain flour

80g (¾ cup) chopped pistachios

2 tbsp white sesame seeds

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp sea salt flakes

pinch of ground cloves

pinch of ground allspice

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Combine the castor sugar with 100ml water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the water dissolves and the sugar begins to caramelise. When the sugar reaches a dark amber colour, turn the heat off and very carefully add 100ml of the cream, a little bit at a time, whisking to combine. Set aside to cool almost completely.

2. Mix gelatin and 2½ tbsp water in a small bowl. When the caramel is just warm to the touch, mix in the gelatin mixture, vanilla bean paste and salt and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whip the remaining chilled cream until it becomes light and fluffy, stopping before it becomes stiff. Using a spatula, fold the caramel mixture into the whipped cream, bit by bit, until fully incorporated. Pour the mousse mixture into ramekins, or a loaf tin that you can scoop from once set. Cover the top of the mousse with baking paper and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours (ideally overnight), until the mixture has chilled completely and set.

4. To make the pistachio crumble, preheat oven to 175C (155C fan-forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl, leaving a few big chunks. Spread mixture on prepared tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. The crumble will look dry and toasty and the whole mixture should be fragrant. Allow to cool completely.

5. To serve, sprinkle some of the crumble over the mousse and serve with freshly torn figs or fresh raspberries.