Things should be taken as they come and that’s what happens with strawberries, in season right now. Repeat after me: you have to enjoy strawberries now. No time to be wasted. So in addition to eating them plain, something the whole family loves (we eat them by the bushel) you can make a delicious strawberry mousse cheesecake, an amazing flavor combo. Colorful and supercute. Almost too «cheesy» for me.
For the cheesecake layer I used a recipe by British baker Dan Lepard, from his book Short&Sweet, and for the strawberry mousse I adapted a recipe I had lying around… The cake is not difficult to make, but it is best done the day before (better even 2 days in advance) as it really benefits from a rest in the fridge. The cheesecake gets only better if allowed to rest and cool perfectly, and the strawberry mousse layer should be left to set to the last molecule. I am telling you why below the recipe…
- 900g cream cheese
- 150g whipping cream or creme frâiche
- 25g melted butter
- 275g sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 eggs + 2 yolks
- 500g strawberries
- 250g whipping cream
- 80g sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 1 pinch salt (for the whites)
- 3 gelatin sheets
- Juice of the other lemon half
- 1 handful fresh strawberries
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 80ml water
- Gelatin or agar-agar as per package directions
- Preheat the oven to 180º/160º(fan) and prepare the mixture in the meantime.
- Cut open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife. Put them in a bowl and add all other ingredients. Beat the mixture by hand or in a stand mixer until smooth.
- Line with parchment paper a round cake mold with removable bottom of 25-28cm, with somewhat high walls enough to fit both layers, and pour the mixture into it. Tap it on the counter to release any bubbles.
- Put the mold in the oven, lower the temperature to 150º/130º (fan) and bake the cake 80-90 minutes until set in the middle. Tip: leave it to cool in the oven, and this prevents the surface from cracking.
- Clean and wash the strawberries well. Drain and puree in a food processor. Pass the puree through a food mill or fine sieve to remove the seeds, add the lemon juice and half the sugar. Simmer 10 minutes to concentrate the mixture a little.
- Hydrate the gelatin sheets in cold water, according to instructions. Dissolve in the strawberry puree while this is still hot.
- Whip the cream as usual, but only until it makes soft peaks. Set aside in the fridge while you make the meringue.
- Prepare a meringue with the egg whites by hand or machine, and the pinch of salt. When they begin to look white and frothy, add the remaining sugar little by little.
- Carefully fold the the strawberry puree into the whipped cream. Do the same with the meringue.
- Well, now we have a layer of cheesecake in the pan. As the cheesecake cools it shrinks to some extent, so it leaves a space all around it where the mousse can enter.
- Pour the mousse mixture and tap the pan on the counter for the mousse to fill all the voids. Leave to stand in the fridge overnight or at least 12 hours.
- Unmold and carefully remove the parchment paper.
- Cut the strawberries into quarters and nicely arranged them on the mousse top. Prepare a glaze with water, sugar and gelatin, and brush the strawberries and the surface of the cake. Allow to set for a while.
And now my mishaps with this strawberry mousse cheesecake: let the strawberry mousse set thoroughly in the refrigerator, I beg you. I made the big cake to take to some friend’s home and the small one to show the inside in the photos, because cutting open the large cake and taking it to my friends like that didn’t seem too polite, ahem… in short, my friends are supportive people, but they do have their limits. Better not push my luck. The thing is… I do not know where I got the idea that about 5 hours would be enough for the mousse to set. I was wrong. The mini cake was beautifully set and supercute, but the big cake, despite its good looks, was not properly set because the strawberry mousse started to fall apart on our way. And by the time we arrived at our friend’s place the strawberry mousse had slipped and the cake looked like someone had sat on it. Someone fat. Poor thing. So we had to «shave» the mousse layer and only eat the cheese layer. What a shame.
This cheesecake recipe by Dan Lepard is superb, like everything he does, creamy and a tiny bit salty, and excellent to have by itself too.
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