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.