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Celebrate strawberry season with something special

Recipe: Easy fresh strawberry mousse lets flavor shine

Pink dessert in in dish with brown and pink design
This easy strawberry mousse contains no eggs. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

My garden yielded a bounty of fresh strawberries, the first of the season. How to celebrate? With a dessert that feels just as special as those first fresh-picked berries: Strawberry mousse.

Like anything French (at least food-wise), mousse comes with a reputation. Rich and silky chocolate mousse, packed with eggs as well as cream, is synonymous with decadent desserts.

By contrast, this strawberry mousse is light and airy, with no eggs. Without too much sugar, the strawberry flavor really comes through. Pushing the pulp through a sieve removes the many seeds and yields a mousse with a wonderfully smooth texture. This method would also work with stone fruits and other berries, such as blackberries.

Mousse is easier to make than it sounds; just take it step by step. It takes some preparation time, but the results will taste as special as those first strawberries.

Easy fresh strawberry mousse

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups strawberries, hulled and pureed (about 1 pound)

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons Cointreau or other liqueur (optional)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon (1 packet) powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons warm water

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¼ powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sliced strawberries or other garnish

Instructions:

Wash and hull strawberries. Process in a food processor until pureed or mash by hand. In a large bowl, combine pureed strawberries and granulated sugar. Let sit 30 minutes to bring out the berries’ juices. Push the strawberry pulp and juice through a sieve to remove seeds and heavy fibers. You should have about 1-1/2 cups strained strawberry puree and juice. Add salt and the Cointreau or liqueur, if using; set aside.

In a glass measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl, mix powdered gelatin with warm water until gelatin is dissolved. Let sit 3 minutes. Microwave gelatin mixture for 20 seconds on high to heat and melt the gelatin. Add ¼ cup of strawberry puree to gelatin mixture, then add gelatin mixture to strawberry puree. Stir gently to combine.

Either with an electric mixer or food processor, whip together whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into strawberry puree mixture, stirring just enough that the color looks even and not striped with white.

Transfer mixture into serving dishes and chill at least 2 hours. Garnish, if desired, and serve.

Note: This mixture may also be chilled in a mold. Wet inside of mold first. Chill at least 4 hours.

pink soft dessert in bowl with strawberry
Be sure to garnish it with more strawberries.



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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 2

Plan to make the most of the mild weather in your garden.

* October is the best month to plant trees and shrubs.

* October also is the best time to plant perennials in our area. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to planting holes or beds, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

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