I know that this recipe could be made perfectly in the summer with freshly picked berries . Here we are in the midst of winter and I am bringing you a recipe made with strawberries, however I have a very valid reason. Strawberries and Champagne are a perfect combination for romance, and romance has no season, or does it? Oh yeah! That’s right, Valentine’s day is upon us, and what better way to surprise our better half than making this light, creamy dessert to say “I Love You”
I love making mousse, it is a dessert that feels light and fluffy, and I can always adjust the sugar without messing up anything. I don’t like overly sweet desserts, this strawberry & champagne mousse tastes just right to my sweet buds. This recipe with only 6 ingredients is easy, however it requires many steps and it takes some time. The good news is that it can be prepared ahead, and it’s totally worthy. I think my son said it best when he tried the mousse: “Mmm, it is good mama, it tastes like strawberry clouds” 🙂
Champagne makes me think of celebration, I had a bottle left from the holidays, and decided to put it to good use with this recipe. You don’t need to go buy an expensive bottle of Champagne to make this dessert, if you were already planning on popping a bottle to celebrate, great! All you need is less than 1/2 cup. You could use any other bubbly wine, like Prosecco or Moscato. I personally like the little acidity of the champagne on this mousse. I’ll give you an alternative at the end of the recipe to completely skip it. Remember this recipe is just like your other half, it needs time, attention, and love!
(serves 4 to 6)
1 lb. fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup champagne (or sparkling wine)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons champagne (or sparkling wine)
1 tablespoon unflavored powder gelatin
2 large pasteurized egg whites
1/2 cup heavy cream (cold)
Use a heat proof bowl that can fit over a sauce pan to make a double broiler (see pictures above). Reserve 3 or 4 strawberries for garnish. Remove the greens and cut the strawberries in halves. Place them in a heat proof bowl, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar, and a pinch of salt. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. In a sauce pan, bring a cup of water to simmer, place the strawberry bowl on top (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water), let it sit over the simmering water for 30 minutes. You will see some condensation on the plastic wrap, it is ok, no need to move the bowl, just make sure that the water on the pan is simmering at a very low heat and that it doesn’t evaporate.
In the meantime make a syrup, in a small sauce pan, add 1/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine, and 1/4 cup of sugar. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons champagne or sparkling wine, and sprinkle the powder gelatin all over, it will bubble a little, the powder should all be wet.
After 30 minutes the strawberries should have a very light syrup. Strain the syrup into a small bowl and set aside. Place the warm strawberries in a blender, add the wet gelatin and blend on high until smooth. Strain again, to get rid of seeds and make the mixture even smoother.
In a large bowl, add the egg whites and the champagne syrup (it should be cooled by now). Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and syrup until glossy, and soft peaks form. Set aside and keep cold. In a medium bowl add 1/2 cup of cold heavy cream, whip until soft peaks form, fold in 1 tablespoon of strawberry syrup.
Add the strawberry blend to egg whites, fold together using a rubber spatula, use one hand to turn the bowl in circular motions, while folding with the spatula lightly. When the mixture is uniform, fold in the cream using the same motions. The mousse should be fluffy and light. Transfer with a spoon into serving bowls, smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Before serving, dice the reserved strawberries into a small bowl, add one tablespoon strawberry syrup, and mix. Mound the strawberries on top of the mousse, add more strawberry syrup. Enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Optional: if you are feeling a little artsy, melt white chocolate chips, place in a zip bag, cut a corner and make heart shapes over parchment paper, let it dry and place on top for garnish.
Alternative: If you don’t want to use champagne, replace the champagne syrup with the strawberry syrup (you may need to add more sugar to the egg white meringue). Also use the strawberry syrup with the gelatin powder.