MY FAVORITE PEOPLE, MY FAVORITE RECIPES: Carolina Molea
Mon Dieu, the winner of Miami’s best croissant contest is L’Artisane Bakery, the brand-new Surfside shop helmed by my brilliant vegan friend Carolina Molea.
That’s right, vegan croissants, flaky on the outside, light as air on the inside, buttery beyond belief (yet butterless) and voted Miami’s best croissant in a blind tasting.
Croissants are only some of Carolina’s magic. She is classically trained and creates vegan pastries that look like jewels and taste like Christmas. L’Artisane Bakery is so hot, superstar vegan chefs like Chloe Coscarelli have been spotted there.
Carolina was born and raised in Caracas in a home where food was always at the center of celebrations. She credits her grandmother Ana, a professional cook, with teaching her how to use herbs and spices to enhance flavor, pleasure and wellness. “They have the healing power to nourish not only the bodies but also the souls of those we cook for,” Carolina says. That deeper awareness and appreciation combined with flawless culinary technique comes through in everything Carolina touches. She even takes soursop — that underloved fruit with an unfortunate name and looks — and transforms it with love and glamour.
I come from a big matriarchal family, where my grandma Ana was the head of the kitchen, she always made sure we were properly fed before leaving the house. Every day we had fresh fruit juices or smoothies with lunch, from passion fruit, to Andean mora, and anything in between. She was the first juicer guru I ever met!
One of my favorites was soursop smoothie. To me it was a real mystery how this ugly looking fruit could provide this absolutely amazing flavor, sweet and tangy, creamy and sour. The complexity of the soursop has always fascinated me.
So, after doing some research and many trials in my kitchen, I developed the perfect recipe for a soursop mousse that almost brought me to tears of happiness. I use agar powder, a plant based substance obtained from red algae that is commonly used for its thickening properties, and aquafaba, the chickpeas brine liquid that everyone is talking about.
Working with fruit based mousses has many benefits:
- They are naturally gluten free.
- You need less added sugar, because the fruits provide most of the sweetness.
- They are light and refreshing.
- You can buy fruits that are in season and freeze the pulp to be used at a later time. I usually buy my fruit pulps from my local supermarket, in Miami we are lucky enough to have a wide variety to choose from; but you could also order any fruit pulp online.
- You don’t need an oven to make a delicious mousse dessert.
To make this dessert even more appealing, I made a mango fluid gel to pair with the soursop and the result is this beautiful and elegant dessert that can be served in any fancy restaurant. You will taste the flavors of my country, Venezuela, in every spoonful, now that the weather is warming up, this soursop mousse is a refreshing and light option to surprise your family and friends.
Soursop Mousse and Mango Gel
- Soursop Mousse:
- 1 recipe of vegan meringue
- 1 tablespoon/8 g/ 0.30 oz Agar powder
- 1 ½ cup + 1 tablespoon/397g/14oz Soursop Pulp thawed
- ½ cup/115 g/4 oz Coconut Milk full –fat
- 1 cup/225g / 8 oz Organic cane sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 tablespoons/ 33 g/ 1.20 oz Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon/ 9 g/ 0.30 oz organic cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons/ 24g/ 0.85oz of water room temperature
- Mango Gel:
- 1 teaspoon/4 g/ 0.15 oz Agar powder
- 1 cup/ 250 g/ 8 oz Mango Puree
- 1 tablespoon/ 11 g/ 0.4 oz Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon/16 g/ 0.55 oz Organic Cane Sugar
- Soursop Mousse:
- Make the Vegan Meringue.
- In a medium saucepan, pour the soursop puree over the agar; do not stir or heat. Set aside for 10 minutes or longer to allow the agar to hydrate.
- Whisk the coconut milk, lemon juice, sugar, and salt into the bloomed agar. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently until sugar has dissolved. Make sure you whisk the bottom and the walls of the pot, coconut milk burns easily.
- Stir the cornstarch and water with a fork to incorporate the starch. Whisking constantly, add the slurry to the simmering liquid. Bring to a full boil, lower the heat to maintain a low boil, and cook for a minute or so. The mixture will feel thicker almost immediately. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes, or until the gel is very firm. Once firm, cream in a food processor using the S blade, pulse gently until creamy.
- Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add 1 spoonful of vegan meringue, using a rubber spatula, incorporate the meringue into the mixture with folding motions. Repeat the previous step slowly, until you add approximately 1 cup of meringue. Keep in mind that if you add too much meringue, the mixture will eventually turn watery.
- Mango Gel:
- In a small saucepan, pour the mango puree over the agar; do not stir or heat. Set aside for 10 minutes or longer to allow the agar to hydrate.
- Add sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently for a couple of minutes until sugar has dissolved. Make sure you whisk the bottom and the walls of the pot.
- Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes, or until the gel is very firm. Once firm. Cut the agar gel in small cubes and blend the gel cubes thoroughly using an immersion blender until smooth.
- Pass the fluid gel through a fine sieve.
- Store in a sealed container or squeeze bottle in the fridge until ready to use.
- TO SERVE-Transfer the mousse to a piping bag. In a small dessert glass, serve the mango gel, add mousse, more mango gel and garnish with diced fruit of your choice, I recommend dragon fruit, mango, kiwi, and berries. Finish with piped vegan meringue, edible flowers and fresh mint leaves.
- TO KEEP-Store the mousse in an airtight container for up to 3 days.