White Chocolate-Basil Mousse and Strawberry Parfait


Strawberry sauce:
8 ounces fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
4 -5 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, or to taste

White chocolate-basil mousse:
1 cup loosely packed sweet basil leaves (about 3/4 ounce package, stems removed and discarded), coarsely chopped
3 cups heavy cream, divided
5 teaspoons cold water
1 teaspoon powdered unflavored gelatin
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Garnish (optional):
Strawberry quarters (at least five)
Small fresh basil leaves (at least five)


1. Clean and dry five 8 to 10-ounce wine glasses. Set aside.

2. Make sauce: Combine berries, orange zest and half of confectioners' sugar in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Process until very smooth. Add more confectioners' sugar, as desired.  Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to use.

3. Make mousse: Combine basil leaves and 2 cups heavy cream in stainless steel saucepan. Bring to scalding point over medium heat. Turn off heat and let basil steep in warm cream for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, pour cold water into top bowl of small double boiler. Sprinkle gelatin uniformly over water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until gelatin has completely absorbed water. Then melt over low heat on top of double boiler. Turn off heat once gelatin has melted.

5. Whisk yolks and sugar together in medium bowl. Whisk in flour. Using stainless steel sieve, strain cream mixture into yolk mixture to remove basil. Press any excess fluid from basil through sieve. Whisk cream and yolk mixtures to combine. Add chopped white chocolate.

6. Pour mixture into clean stainless steel saucepan and cook over medium heat. Using a stainless steel spoon or whisk, stir slowly and constantly in a figure-eight pattern until chocolate has melted, and mixture just comes to a boil.

7. Using stainless steel fine-mesh sieve, strain chocolate mixture into large bowl.  Immediately whisk in warm gelatin, grated orange zest and vanilla extract. Cover surface flush with plastic wrap. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes.

8. Combine remaining 1 cup cream and confectioners' sugar in bowl of electric mixer fitted with whip attachment. Whip cream to soft peaks.

9. Once chocolate mixture has cooled, but not set, gently fold in whipped cream.

10. Assemble with sauce: Pour mousse into large glass measuring cup or container with pouring spout. Pour reserved sauce into another glass measuring cup. Fill wine glasses halfway with mousse.  Refrigerate until mousse is partially set, about 20-30 minutes. Pour or spoon 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on top of each dessert. Allow sauce to flow completely to sides of glass. Top off with remaining mousse, cover with plastic, and chill until completely set, about 6 hours. Garnish with strawberry quarter and small basil leaf, as desired. Serve immediately.

This recipe developed by Julia M. Usher