Here is the recipe for this French classic just as it's prepared at the Cordon Bleu school.
Apple Mousse GâtinaiseServes: 6–8
Ingredients:1kg (1 1/4 lbs) dessert apples (eg pippin, Blenheim, Cox, Laxton etc)
45g (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
finely-grated zest of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp thick honey
15g (1/2 oz) powdered gelatine, dissolved in 5 tbsp water with a squeeze of lemon juice)
300ml (1 1/4 cups) double (heavy) cream
12 walnut kernels, halved
sugar syrup made with 115g (4 oz) sugar and 300ml (1 1/4 cups) water
Method:This dessert is traditionally made with a moule à manqué (about 22cm [9 in] in diameter), a metal mould with sides that slope inwards, but it works just as well with a similarly-sized silicone mould.
Lightly oil your mould. Take 2/3 of the apples, peel and core them then chop the flesh.
Rub 15g (1/2 oz) of the butter around the sides and base of a shallow pan. Add the apples and cook over fairly high heat until they reduce to a pulp. Stir in the lemon zest and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the apples have reduced to a thick purée.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the honey until melted. Now work in the dissolved gelatine. Set the pan aside to cool. When the contents are almost cold partially whip the cream so that it just holds its shape. Carefully fold the cream into the apple mixture and immediately turn into the greased mould.
Prepare your sugar syrup with the proportions given above. Heat the syrup until it is warm then peel and core the remaining apples and quarter them. Add to the syrup and poach gently for about 10 minutes, or until just tender. Set aside to cool in the syrup (with the lid on the pan) then drain the apples (reserve the syrup) and set aside.
Place all the remaining butter in the syrup. Put back on the heat and bring to a rapid boil. Continue cooking until the syrup is reduced to a dark caramel. Take the pan off the heat and dip its base in a bowl of cold water to stop any further boiling.
Drop the walnut halves into the syrup. Turn them round to coat then quickly lift onto a sheet of greaseproof (waxed) paper.
When the mousse has set, you can dish up the dessert. Carefully turn the mousse out onto a serving plate. Garnish round the edge of the top by alternating the poached apple quarters and the toffee-coated walnuts.
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