There’s little else in terms of a wholly satisfying experience in the kitchen than laying your hands on the season’s freshest produce to work wonders with. Plump strawberries that glisten like rubies in the sunshine dappled shacks of the local vendor, call out to you from a distance, this time of the year. You bag a load of them faster than your culinarily inclined mind could line up the things you can do with them. Cupcakes and milkshakes are passé, but cheesecake and mousse cannot entirely be ruled out. And with Valentine’s Day just a blink away, there has to be one choice and it has to be made now. You get to work and you make magic, naturally. You hold up your creation: lush, velveteen depths of berried deliciousness, brimming with creamy, chocolatey strains, topped off with a magic carpet of red and a cloud of white – and all else comes to a stand still. The little hands that reach out for this gem of a dessert, armed ably with a spoon and an enviable appetite, almost makes up for being left with very little of it for yourself.
Strawberries and Cream Mousse
- 1 Cup strained strawberry puree, divided*
- 200 gm white chocolate, chopped fine
- 2 teaspoons gelatin, divided
- 450ml heavy whipping cream (such as Milky Mist or Nilgiris brands in South India)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 3-4 strawberries, halved, for garnish, optional
- Place the white chocolate in a large glass bowl and melt it in 30 seconds bursts in the microwave at low power. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
- Sprinkle 1.5 tsp gelatin over a shallow bowl containing 1/8 cup cool water.
- Stir together ¼ cup of the cream and the 1/2 cup icing sugar in a small bowl. Add the gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve the gelatin. You can heat this mixture slightly to help the gelatin dissolve, if needed.
- Make sure that the chocolate is still melted and smooth. Now, slowly pour the cream-gelatin mixture into the bowl of melted chocolate, and stir until smooth. Whisk in 3/4 cup of the strawberry purée, reserving the remaining ¼ cup.
- Whip the remaining cream until soft peaks form. Reserve a little of the whipped cream for garnish, if desired.
- Fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture. Scoop the mousse into the serving bowl or individual cups. Refrigerate.
For the topping-
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp gelatin over a shallow bowl containing 2 tbsp cool water. Let this soak for a few minutes. Heat gently until the gelatin melts.
- Stir the gelatin into the reserved strawberry puree along with the remaining 2tbsp icing sugar. Pour over the mousse in a thin layer. Refrigerate until set.
Garnish with the reserved whipped cream and halved strawberries.
* To make the strawberry puree – Place about 300gm washed and hulled strawberries in a mixer and process briefly until smooth. Strain and discard the seeds.
The mousse is also lovely when made in individual portions, or perhaps portions for two, to share with your sweetie.