Friends, strawberry season has hit full force and I am not sure I’ve appreciated it more than I do this year. For most of May and June– just imagine me as the heart eye emoji, but swap those hearts for strawberries.
When the strawberries hit their peak, and you bite into one fresh off the vine, it’s like it literally laughs at every sad white fleshed supermarket strawberry you’ve had to douse in sugar or cook down for the past 6 months. This is likely a bit dramatic, or maybe just too poetic for our purposes here, but the flavor of a perfectly ripe strawberry is to me, a bite of sunshine and summer all in one.
This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is one of my favorite vessels for early Summer strawberries. More pure strawberry flavor than a jam (while delicious, cooking strawberries can dull the flavor) or a cobbler, or even ice cream, this creamy mousse captures the brightness of the plump little red berries. While you CAN use Supermarket strawberries, freshly picked is best.
Fresh Strawberry Mousse
Serves 4-6 | Recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen
2 lbs strawberries, hulled (6.5 Cups)
1/2 C sugar
1 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces and softened
1/2 C heavy cream, chilled
Cut enough strawberries into 1/4-inch dice to measure 1 cup; refrigerate until ready to garnish. Pulse remaining strawberries in food processor in 2 batches until most pieces are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (some larger pieces are fine), 6 to 10 pulses. Transfer strawberries to bowl and toss with 1/4 cup sugar and salt. (Do not clean processor.) Cover bowl and let strawberries 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 small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over juice, and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Place remaining juice in small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add softened gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl.
While juice is reducing, return strawberries to now-empty processor and process until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to remove seeds and pulp (you should have about 1 2/3 cups puree). Discard any solids in strainer. Add strawberry puree to juice-gelatin mixture and whisk until incorporated.
Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, 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 for at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours. (If chilled longer than 6 hours, let mousse sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.) Serve, garnishing with reserved diced strawberries.