The Cool Ingredient Paul Hollywood Uses To Make Strawberry Mousse Set

Paul Hollywood is an occasionally polarizing force on the wildly popular baking competition, "The Great British Bake Off," judging with brusque comments like, "They're awful. They're really bad," when a contestant's best-try baking is sub-par. Yet, even with his steely-gaze persona, Hollywood remains, quite simply, a most phenomenal baker — and his strawberry mousse cake is no exception. Hollywood recently told his YouTube audience that a smooth and creamy strawberry mousse fashioned over a light and fluffy sponge cake is a delicate dessert worthy of a try at home.

His first step to an easy mousse starts with whisking evaporated milk into a firm, peaked cream. Although that air-infused, fresh cream is integral to creating a smooth-textured mousse, Hollywood adds an extra helper to make the mousse set: jelly. In his demonstration, Hollywood shares that his jelly has been pre-melted and is already cooled, which he further explains assists in achieving the desired effect.

Why jelly works as a setting agent for mousse

Jelly is indeed a perfect setting agent for an easy mousse. The pectin molecules in jelly form a mesh-like substance that turns into a gel, so long as just the right amount of sugar is introduced. That sugar absorbs excess liquid to keep the gel from getting too runny. On the other hand, add too much sugar and your jelly turns grainy. (Not that anybody needs to tell Paul Hollywood this.)

Hollywood's strawberry mousse demonstration sees Hollywood folding the jelly — ever so carefully — into the whipped cream. This step is handled gently with as minimal strokes as possible to avoid over-mixing, which will make the blend dense. According to Hollywood, your jelly and your whipped cream will mix nicely so long as you've done the whisking work that integrates the right amount of air into your whipped cream. 

This recipe also calls for evaporated milk, which is a great ingredient that delivers a richer, creamier mousse. With the fat content of the milk contributing to a stable cream, the pectin in the jelly will create a perfectly set dessert that has a creamy texture, but is not too heavy.