HomeRecipesFennel Mousse with Fermented Apple by Tara Lewis

Fennel Mousse with Fermented Apple by Tara Lewis

This dessert was inspired by my love of using savory applications in pastry. Fennel is highly underutilized in the pastry world. Adding a touch of fermentation and the sweetness of apple truly highlights the interesting anise flavor of fennel.

Yield: 24 servings

Fennel Cream

  • 448 g heavy cream
  • 288 g fennel, sliced

1. In a medium pot, heat the cream to 170°F (77°C), then add sliced fennel. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low. Cook until cream has reduced by half and fennel is cooked through.

2. Blend on high in a Vitamix until smooth, then pass through a chinois. Chill overnight.

Fennel Mousse

  • 235 g Fennel Cream (above)
  • 4 g silver gelatin sheets
  • 43 g egg
  • 4 3g egg yolks
  • 38 g granulated sugar

1. Whip the Fennel Cream to medium peaks.

2. In the meantime, bloom the gelatin in ice water. Squeeze out excess liquid and set aside.

3. Over a double boiler, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. While whisking, bring the mixture to 135°F (57°C), then remove from heat and whisk in bloomed gelatin. Transfer the egg mixture to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip to full volume.

4. Fold in the whipped Fennel Cream, then transfer to a pastry bag.

Fermented Apple Purée

  • 450 g green apples
  • Salt, as needed

1. Peel and core the apples. Place in a Cryovac bag with 1.25% salt, make sure to coat the apples evenly. Cryovac to 100% vacuum, then let apples ferment at 70°F (21°C) for 5 days.

2. Purée in Vitamix until smooth, then strain through a chinois.

Fermented Apple Caramel

  • 530 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g water
  • 180 g heavy cream
  • 213 g Fermented Apple Purée (above)

1. In a medium pot, combine the sugar and water and bring to a medium caramel (355°F/179°C). Slowly stream in cream while whisking, followed by the apple purée. Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes.

2. Strain through a chinois, transfer to covered container and cool overnight.

Fennel Gelée

  • 261 g water
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 6 g silver gelatin sheets
  • 147 g fennel frond juice

1. In a small pot, combine the water and sugar and heat until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Bloom gelatin in ice water, then whisk into sugar mixture until dissolved. Strain through a chinois and let cool to room temperature.

3. Whisk in fennel juice

Toasted Rice Gelato

  • 120 g brown short grain rice
  • 650 g milk, divided
  • 600 g cream
  • ¼ vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g salt
  • 130 g glucose syrup
  • 25 g cornstarch

1. In a medium pot, toast the rice over medium high heat until fragrant and deeply toasted.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in 600 g of the milk, along with the cream, vanilla, sugar, salt and glucose. Place back over medium-high heat and bring to 170°F (77°C). While the cream mixture is heating, whisk together the remaining 50 g milk and the cornstarch, then temper into the heating dairy. Once at temperature, strain through chinois and cool in an ice bath, whisking occasionally.

3. Transfer to a covered container and process as needed.

Barley Cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g vanilla paste
  • 141 g barley flour
  • 5 g baking powder
  • 0.3 g salt
  • 150 g milk
  • 71 g unsalted butter, melted

1. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla and whip to full volume. Sheer in the dry ingredients followed by the milk, then the butter.

2. Pour batter into a Silpat-lined ¼ sheet tray. Bake at 300°F (149°C) for 6 minutes.

Candied Fennel

  • 100 g fennel
  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 500 g water

1. Slice the fennel on a mandolin into thin strips.

2. In a small pot, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Add the fennel, reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover with a cartouche and cook until the fennel has turned transparent. Remove from the heat and cool overnight.

Compressed Green Apple

  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 200 g water
  • 0.4 g malic acid
  • ¼ green apple

1. In a pot, combine the sugar, water and acid and bring to a boil. Cool completely.

2.  Slice the apple on a mandolin in half moon shapes, making the apple slices paper thin.

3. Combine the apples and syrup in a Cryovac bag and Cryovac to 100% vacuum. Let sit for 5 minutes at room temperature before use.

Charred Apple Skin Powder

  • Peel of 3 green apples

1. Lay the apple peels in a single layer on a piece of acetate fitted on a dehydrator rack. Leave overnight in dehydrator at 145°F (63°C).

2. The next day, char the peels over an open flame until blackened. Let cool.

3. Pulverize the charred peels in a spice grinder. Hold in deli cup with silica packet until ready to use.


  • Marigold petals
  • Fennel Fronds

1. Cut the Barley Cake into 3.5”x 1.25” (8.9 x 3.17 cm) rectangles. Place in rectangular silicone molds, then pipe 30 g of the Fennel Mousse evenly into each mold. Let set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

2. Pour the room temperature Fennel Gelée over the set mousse. Freeze overnight.

3. Unmold the mousse and cut into two equal-sized diamond shapes. Arrange one piece of candied fennel over each mousse diamond. Cut one piece of compressed apple into triangles and place two on each mousse diamond. Put the Fermented Apple Caramel into a squeeze bottle and pipe 1-2 dots onto each mousse piece, then pipe some on the plate, as well. Garnish with fennel and marigold petals. Scoop the Toasted Rice Gelato on the side, tap some charred apple skin powder over the gelato as garnish, and serve immediately.

(This recipe appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)

About Tara Lewis

Tara Lewis, Corporate Pastry Chef at Ava Gene’s in Portland, embraces limitless creativity inspired by mentor Stephen Collucci. Her hyper-seasonal desserts balance sweet and savory, featuring nostalgic flavor pairings. Tara draws inspiration from local produce, experimenting with spices like amchur and hawaij. She emphasizes a clean workspace for focused work and recommends letting fruit flavors shine in sorbetto.

Pastry Arts Magazine is the new resource for pastry & baking professionals designed to inspire, educate and connect the pastry community as an informational conduit spotlighting the trade.