It's cherry season in California. Bings, Royals, Reiner, Royal Ann, Brook, and Tulare are just a few varieties that are popular. Bings are my favorite variety because they are extra sweet and have a dark red color. They are typical picked towards the end of the season.
A mousse is a perfect summer dessert for cherries. It is easy to whip up, not too sweet, and doesn't require an oven. This recipe can be adapted to other fruits such as strawberries or raspberries. I recommend straining the fruit to remove large flesh bits and seeds (if using strawberries or raspberries) for a smoother more desirable texture.
This recipe is the perfect base recipe that can be tweaked for the different seasons. If cherries are unavailable you can substitute strawberries, or maybe even blackberries.
To make the mousse, first create the cherry juice that will be folded into the cream. Pit and remove the stems from the fruit, then place in a blender or bowl of a food processor. Run the blender until the cherries have broken down and appear to be in a juice-like constituency. Add the sugar.
Next, bloom gelatin in cold water. After it has bloomed use a double broiler or microwave the gelatin until it is loose and runny. The gelatin will provide structural support, allowing the mousse to set up which is necessary if using the recipe for a cake filling.
Whip the cream and add in the gelatin. Carefully fold cream into the cherry puree. Be careful not to knock out the air which you incorporated into the cream through whipping it. Portion out into individual ramekins, or transfer to a bowl to set up in the refrigerator.
2 cups fresh California cherries, stems and pits removed
1 tablespoon (1 pack) unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Puree the cherries in a blender or food processor. Strain the cherries through a sieve and discard the flesh. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the cherry liquid.
Sprinkle gelatin over the cold water to let it bloom for five minutes. Place in a double boiler over boiling water. Melt the gelatin. Take the gelatin out of the heat once melted. It will lose its binding properties if left in the high heat.
Stir the gelatin into the cherry puree and let cool until mixture thickens slightly.
Whip the heavy cream until medium-stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the puree with a rubber spatula until well incorporated.
Spoon into a serving dish and refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until set.