Coconut is pure and distinct in this mousse, which itself is light and creamy. You must use fresh coconut puree to achieve this flavor-anything else imparts an artificial or suntan-lotion taste. We buy our puree from Perfect Purees of Napa, which is the only place we have been able to source a product that has the right flavor and texture. Once the mousse is set, you cannot re-use it. So, when making the Coconut Mousse Cake, it is important to have your other components ready for assembly before you start the mousse procedure.
Pour 3/4 of the puree into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface to soften. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of puree and the sugar over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir the puree and gelatin into the warm puree and stir to dissolve the gelatin. If lumps remain, put the pan over low heat and stir just until the lumps dissolve. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Fold one-third of it into the coconut mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into a bowl (or ramekins) and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reprinted with permission from Miette by Meg Ray with Leslie Jonath, Chronicle Books copyright (c) 2011