In the last ten days I made 25 different kinds of Christmas cookies. You might expect that I got tired of making Christmas cookies but that is not the case. I am loving it and I also love sharing my cookies with others. On the weekend I visited a reception center and gave 250 of my homemade Christmas cookies to unaccompanied minor refugees. It was a very emotional moment meeting young teenagers from Afghanistan, Eritrea or Tunisia who fled to Europe by themselves. These young people are lonely, helpless, their future remains uncertain in a foreign country and many of them are traumatized from their long journey to Europe. In such a situation cookies do not help (at all) but I wanted to show these teenagers that they are welcome and that there are strangers that care about them.
I have a few Christmas cookie recipes that I made for these strong and brave teenagers and I want to sharethe recipes in the next few days. But today I want to share a cake recipe that I make every single year during the holiday season. It is a rosemary mousse cake with a baked apple purée and a shortcrust cookie bottom. I love the pairing of rosemary and apples and it is a wonderful change of the classic combination of apples and cinnamon. Ever since I made the recipe by the pâtissier Matthias Ludwigs for the first time a few years ago I make the rosemary mousse cakes at least three times every Christmas sesaon.
Notes: There will be some leftover shortcrust dough. You can freeze the leftover dough. I usually use the leftover dough in order to make some simple Christmas cookies which I decorate with chocolate.
You can also prepare the cakes ahead of time. The shortcrust cookies last up to two weeks in an airtight container and the rosemary mousse can be prepared a few days ahead of time.
Makes 6 mousse cakes (6 cm Ø )
2 g gelatin
100 ml milk (full-fat)
30 g granulated sugar
3 rosemary needles (roughly chopped)
20 g almond flour
1 egg white (30 g)
125 g heavy cream
115 g unsalted butter (cut in cubes)
100 g powdered sugar
1 egg (medium)
250 g all-purpose flour
Baked Apples Purée
2 tart apples
70 g granulated sugar
1 small branch of rosemary
Six hemisphere silicon moulds (6 cm Ø )
A good kitchen scale
Mix gelatin with 1 tablespoon of cold water in a small saucepan. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
Combine milk, 10 g of granulated sugar, rosemary needles and almond flour in a small saucepan. Boil up the mixture and then set aside. Let the mixture infuse for 10 minutes (cover your saucepan while infusing).
Heat the gelatin gently and pour it over the rosemary milk mixture and stir well. Strain the rosemary milk through a fine strainer in order to remove the almond flour and rosemary needles.
Beat the egg white until almost stiff. Add gradually the remaining sugar (20 g) to the egg white and beat until stiff.
Whisk heavy cream until creamy.
Fold in egg white and whipped cream to the rosemary milk mixture.
Fill the rosemary mousse into hemisphere molds (6 cm Ø ). Freeze the mousse cakes for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Mix butter and powdered sugar. Add the egg and mix until all ingredients are well combined. Add the flour and knead to a dough quickly. Wrap the dough into clingwrap and let the dough rest for 1 hour in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
On a floured surface or between two parchment papers roll out the dough until 2 to 3 mm thick. Cut our circles (6 cm Ø ). I use a wavy-shaped cookie cutter.
Transfer the cookies onto a baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are slightly golden in color.
Baked Apples Purée
Peel and core apples; cut each apple into 8 wedges.
Caramelize sugar in a oven safe pan until it has a dark and amber color. Take the pan from the heat. Add the apple wedges to the caramelized sugar. Let it infuse for 2 minutes and then mix. Add the rosemary branch. Cover the pan with a lit or aluminium foil and cook the apples for 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are very soft in the oven at 160 °C. Remove the rosemary branch and let the apples cool. Purée apples.
Generously spread the baked apples purée on top of the cookies. Unmould the frozen rosemary mousse cakes and place them on top of the cookies. Let the cakes defrost for 30 minutes.
The recipe is slightly adapted from the book "Törtchen, Törtchen - Himmlische Versuchungen" by Matthias Ludwigs. Matthias Ludwigs is a well known German pâtissier; he was "Pâtissier of 2009", awarded by Gault Millau.