Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Have strawberries left? Make a fresh mousse

In my column this week, I described a Fresh Strawberry Mousse that I made with the last of the spring strawberries. From Cook's Illustrated, the recipe is designed to work with both farmer's market and supermarket berries. It also would work with frozen berries.

The lemon whipped cream really makes it and is worth the extra step. In fact, I can't wait to try it on blueberries. Blueberries and lemon are a classic combination.

Fresh Strawberry Mousse
From Cook's Illustrated.

2 pounds strawberries, hulled (6 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

Pinch of salt
1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord (optional; see note)
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces and softened
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

CUT enough strawberries into 1/4-inch dice to measure 1 cup; refrigerate to use as garnish. Pulse the remaining strawberries in the food processor in 2 batches until most pieces are small but it's still chunky; 6 to 10 pulses. Transfer berries to a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup sugar and salt. (Do not clean processor.) Cover bowl and let stand for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

STRAIN processed strawberries through fine-mesh strainer into bowl (you should have about 2/3 cup juice). Measure out 3 tablespoons juice into a small bowl (or skip the juice here and use liqueur). Sprinkle with gelatin and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

PLACE remaining juice in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. (Stir often to make sure it doesn't scorch on the bottom.) Remove from heat, add the softened gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

WHILE juice is reducing, return the strained chopped strawberries to the now-empty food processor and process until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds.  Strain through the fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids to remove seeds and pulp (you should have about 1 2/3 cups puree). Discard solids in strainer. Add cream cheese/gelatin mixture to the puree and whisk until incorporated.

USING stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk whipped cream into strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain.

PORTION into dessert dishes and chill at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours. Serve, garnished with lemon whipped cream and diced strawberries.

YIELD: 4 to 6 servings.

Lemon Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipped cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

USING stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low until foamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar, lemon zest and juice. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Refrigerate up to 4 hours.

YIELD: About 1 cup.