Creamy, fresh and lightly sweet, a perfectly lovely spring dessert
For the mousse:
2poundsof fresh strawberries,plus more for garnishing (about 1 cup chopped)
1 3/4teaspoonsunflavored gelatin(1 package)
4ouncescream cheese,cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
1/2cupheavy whipping cream
For the lemon whipped cream:
1/2cupheavy whipping cream
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice
To prepare the mousse:
Clean 2 lbs of strawberries and remove the hulls, you’ll now have about 1 3/4 lbs.
Process 1/2 of the strawberries in a food processor until most pieces are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick – this took about 10 short pulses. Repeat with the remaining strawberries. Be careful not to over-process the strawberries.
Place the processed strawberries in a medium mixing bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Cover and allow the strawberries to rest for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t wash the food processor yet – you’ll need it again in a minute.
Strain the strawberries through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. You should have about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of juice. Remove 3 tablespoons of the juice into a small bowl. Sprinkle unflavored gelatin on top and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Place the remaining juice in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat and cook until the juice is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 10 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the softened gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Pour the gelatin mixture to a large bowl and add the cream cheese. Whisk until the cream cheese is fully incorporated.
While the juice is cooking down, take the strained strawberries back to the food processor and pulse until smooth. Strain through the fine mesh sieve using a spoon to press the solids and extract all the juice. Once all the pulp and juice is extracted, discard the seeds and solids. Add the strawberry puree into the bowl with the gelatin and cream cheese mixture. Whisk until smooth.
Beat 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Gently whisk the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until fully incorporated. Divide the strawberry mousse into serving dishes or stemware. Cover with a small piece of plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Garnish with diced strawberries and lemon whipped cream if desired.
To prepare the lemon whipped cream:
Pour the whipped cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the cream until foamy on medium-low speed. Add the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice and whip on medium-high until soft peaks form. Serve with the strawberry mousse.
(recipe adapted from the May & June 2014 Edition of Cook’s Illustrated)