Lientjie Wessels, the renowned South African artist and culinary icon, inherited her passion for food from her mother, who also taught her to think out of the box when it comes to cooking – a lesson that spilled over into Lientjie’s everyday life with her husband, Robert Denton, as they spend their days writing, painting and, of course, cooking on their family farm near Cullinan.
This recipe forms part of our feature on Lientjie Wessels in our September 2018 issue.
Blue-cheese mousse with pecan nut brittle, green fig preserve and wholewheat bread
- 5g gelatine powder
- 100ml quality chicken stock, warm
- 250g plain cream cheese
- 100g blue cheese/Gorgonzola
- pinch salt, to taste
- 1g (1 tsp) fresh thyme + extra, to garnish
- 100ml fresh cream
PECAN NUT BRITTLE
- 60g pecan nuts, chopped
- 70g white sugar
- pinch salt, to taste
- wholewheat bread, toasted, to serve
- fresh spinach, to serve
- green fig preserve, to serve
- salted butter, to serve
For the blue-cheese mousse, mix the gelatine and warm chicken stock together until the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside.
Place the cream cheese, blue cheese/Gorgonzola, salt and thyme in a food processor. Blitz until combined and smooth. Add this mixture to the chicken stock-and-gelatine mix. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
Use a free-standing mixer or an electric hand-held beater to whisk the fresh cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the freshly whipped cream into the chicken stock-mixture.
Divide the mixture among 6 ramekins. Refrigerate until thick, about 2 hours.
For the pecan nut brittle, line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the pecan nuts out in the prepared baking tray. Set aside. Slowly heat the sugar in a dry, non-stick frying pan over medium heat, until it begins to melt. Do not stir. Once the melted sugar starts to darken (look for a dark wood colour), pour it over the pecan nuts. Spread the sugar mixture evenly with the back of an oiled metal spoon. Set aside to cool and harden, about 20 minutes, before breaking into shards.
To serve, place slices of the toasted wholewheat bread and a few fresh spinach leaves on 6 serving plates. Add a dollop of the blue-cheese mousse and green fig preserve. Sprinkle with the pecan nut brittle and garnish with the fresh thyme. Enjoy with the salted butter alongside.