1. The Crunch
Because this dish is composed of a light mousse, adding texture can improve mouthfeel and add new dimensions to flavor.
“I think you need a crumble component,” LeSage says. “When you eat something soft and it has one texture, it’s mushy and lacking in flavor.”
To combat this, LeSage uses candied pistachios to add texture to this recipe, but he notes that nuts, brittle, chocolate, or cookie crumbles can also be used for a similar effect.
2. The Sauce
This element serves multiple purposes. First, it adds visual appeal, and second, it adds depth to the flavor profile of the dish.
“Sauce looks beautiful, and in this case,” LeSage says, “it’s bright red, and raspberry goes well with white chocolate. The peach gives you a wet component.”
LeSage also notes that sweet sauces, like fruit, or savory sauces, such as basil or mint, can be used to create a a balanced dish.
3. The Main Component
The delicate layer of white chocolate mousse is the central piece of this dessert. With no added sugar, the mousse is sweet, but not overly so. It serves as a delectable, yet simple backdrop for other flavors.
“The main component is really traditional white chocolate mousse cream, and it’s really soft and really fluffy,” LeSage says. “A lot of people like white chocolate, and it’s plain so you can use all kinds of flavors with it. It comes off as light, and it’s not a heavy dessert.”
4. The Balance
Sweet element on top of sweet element can quickly become tiresome to consumers, so adding an acidic component can keep the sweetness of a dessert from overwhelming diners.
“To counteract the sweetness of the white chocolate mousse and to give the dessert a bright punch we added an acidic component,” LeSage says. “I’m using lemon curd. We made several from key lime to passion fruit orange. With our curds, we can change the viscosity, but this is thinner so that it can be served as a sauce or a center filling.”
5. Cake Base
Like sauce, this element also serves two purposes—both for flavor and practical reasons.
“We’re trying to get at one of the most popular dessert trends, using buttermilk, which provides extra sweetness and makes the dessert really moist,” LeSage says. “Additionally, the mousse is very delicate and airy, so lifting the cake up with a spatula would damage the mousse without the cake. It serves as a protective bottom base.”
Serving balanced desserts may seem like a challenge, but when broken down into key components, a signature dish like this Raspberry Buttermilk Cake can be extremely easy to make.
“I think some chefs might be overwhelmed by the picture but it’s a simple dessert, and it can be made ahead of time and pulled out for service and served with one sauce,” LeSage says. “It’s pretty easy, especially when you have companies like us that make these sauces and curds premade so you thaw and put ingredients on the plate, and it elevates the dish.”
By Peggy Carouthers