Fashions in mousse change as surely as fashions in skirts. Even timid chefs turned out bowl after bowl of chocolate mousse after the food processor was introduced. Then, for a few months, white chocolate mousse dominated the dessert menus at trendy restaurants. I don't know whether maple mousse was ever a fad, but I do know it holds its own among airy desserts.
1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 eggs, separated
1 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped walnuts
Soften the gelatin in the cold water. Set aside.
In the top of a double boiler, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Beat in the maple syrup. Place the maple-egg mixture over hot water, and cook and stir until slightly thickened. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and chill until the mixture becomes syrupy. Beat until fluffy -- about 5 minutes with an electric beater.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold them into the maple syrup mixture. Refrigerate the mousse until firm -- 3 to 4 hours.
Just before serving, whip the cream. Fold the nuts into the whipped cream and serve on top of the mousse.