Mousse is a light, airy food made with a combination of eggs, whipped cream, gelatin, and flavorings. It can be served both hot or cold, and it can be savory or sweet, which can be a surprise to people who think specifically of chocolate mousse, a popular dessert form of this food, when they hear the word. There are a range of ways to prepare and serve mousse, making it an extremely varied dish. Many cookbooks have recipes for this dish, and it is also possible to find specific recipes online, whether a cook has a passion for pumpkin or asparagus mousse.
The use of beaten cream and eggs in mousse creates air pockets that make the dish light and fluffy. The gelatin helps it stick together, although some cooks just use eggs as a binder. As a result, mousse has a solid form, with a lightness that can make it feel quite refreshing, depending on what the ingredients are. Depending on the type, the dish may be served unmolded, or it may be served in the mold, typically in the form of individual servings.
Dessert mousses often incorporate berries and fruits in whole or pureed form, and layers are not uncommon. It is also possible to find them made from various forms of chocolate and spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. Other cooks like to explore dessert ingredients like mint in their dishes. Dessert mousse is typically served cold, and it may be cooked or uncooked, depending on the recipe; uncooked mousse can present a health risk, unless it is made with pasteurized eggs.
Savory mousses are often made with seafood like salmon, although meats and vegetables are used as well. They are typically cooked, commonly in a water bath so that the ingredients do not curdle or crack, and they can be served hot or cold. A savory mousse is often accompanied with a sauce that is designed to bring out the flavor of the dish, and it is typically served in unmolded form, either as a single serving or on a central platter from which individual servings are cut.
This diverse family of foods originates in France, and many excellent examples of mousse can be found in that country and in restaurants around the world that serve French cuisine. If you want to experiment with making your own at home, you may want to consider investing in a French cookbook, which will discuss the basic principles of this dish and provide a few recipes for you to work with.