One of the easiest mousses to make is a lemon mousse, made by folding lemon curd into whipped cream. This type of dessert is delicious, but I wanted to see if I could use it as a base for other simple mousses by trying the concept with other flavors of curd. A fruit curd is a creamy, sweet sauce made with fruit juice or puree, thickened with egg yolks and sweetened with sugar. While lemon curd is easily the most popular, it can actually be made with many different types of fruit. Fresh strawberries, for instance, make a very fine fruit curd that is great on its own and the perfect base for a light strawberry mousse.
This strawberry curd is made just like lemon curd, but using a freshly made strawberry puree where you might normally use lemon juice. I did not strain out any of the tiny seeds, but simply used the puree as it came out of my food processor. To made the curd, the puree is sweetened with sugar and thickened with eggs, resulting in a silky smooth, pink sauce that is a great topping for desserts. To turn it into a mousse, I simply folded some whipped cream into the strawberry curd to give it a light, fluffy texture.
The only catch with this type of mousse is that you can’t use too much curd in the whipped cream, or it will start to deflate it and make the dessert a little heavier. To get more strawberry flavor into my desserts, I put a spoonful of the strawberry curd at the base of each dessert glass before topping it with the strawberry whipped cream. The result was a lovely two-tone dessert that was light, creamy and bursting with fresh strawberry flavor.
Strawberry Curd Mousse
1 cup strawberry puree
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine strawberry puree and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved completely and mixture is very hot.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisking constantly (or with an electric mixer on low), very slowly stream the hot strawberry-sugar syrup into the eggs (do not worry if the mixture discolors a little as you add it, the pink hue will return after all the berry mixture has been incorporated). Beat vigorously for 1-2 minutes, until mixture is very smooth.
Return to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd just comes to a boil.
Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least 3 hours. This can be made a day or two in advance.
To make mousse, beat cream to stiff peaks in a large bowl. Fold in 1 cup of chilled strawberry curd.
Place about 2 tbsp of strawberry curd in the bottom of each of 4 8-oz dessert glasses. Evenly divide the whipped cream mixture over the curd. Chill before serving and garnish with a fresh strawberry.
Serves 4. Recipe can be doubled or served in smaller portions, as desired.