Rich, yet light, with just the right touch of fruit to make a festive Shavuot dessert.
Even after a rich dairy meal, the gang wants a dairy dessert. And who am I to say nay? I’m a sucker for anything white and creamy, myself. Like the apricot swirl cheesecake I concocted a couple of years ago.
But you can plotz from all the dairy on Shavuot. Standing in front of the supermarket refrigerator yesterday, surveying the hundreds of dairy products, I began to feel a little dizzy. Cartons and cartons of creams sweet and sour, tubs and bags of cheeses of every texture for every purpose, not to mention butters, yogurts, cute little packages of milk (and carrageen)-based products aimed at pleasing kids, and dairy-free substitutes so that no one should feel left out, God forbid.
How we do love our dairy!
It is a miracle of hard work and innovation that Israel produces this wealth of milk products, of course. But, I pleaded in my mind, can’t we go a little easier on dairy for Shavuot?
The voices of Husband, The Little One, and Eliezer, always lodged in my head when I’m out shopping, simultaneously answered, “No.”
Oh well. At least let’s make it easy and light.
The family voices were graciously silent.
So I more or less invented this whipped cheese mousse to serve after the requisite lasagna. That is, I put together a few ideas garnered from cookbooks, the Internet, and restaurants I’ve visited. The result is just what I wanted in a dairy dessert: sweet, but not cloying, rich but not heavy.
I call it Whipped Cheese Mousse. It’s home-made cream cheese whipped with cream, with a fruit topping and a sprinkle of crumbled cookie. I used a couple of Oreos, nicked from Eliezer’s private stash. But the cookies can be any you like.
You can flavor it many different ways. I infused the whipping cream with a rose geranium leaf, as in this post. But if you don’t happen to have a handy pot of rose geraniums growing around the house, you can cold-infuse the cream with several thinly-pared inches of lemon peel. Or some sprigs of lemon thyme, or lime basil. Or dunk a few lavender flowers in the cream for another unique flavor.
Instead of fresh peaches, you can slightly thaw out frozen blueberries (or use fresh). Since peaches just came into season, I had some getting riper and riper and more perfumed, on the kitchen counter. So I diced peaches to top the mousse. Next time, the fruit topping may be cherries. Or diced pineapple. See? It will go where you take it.
This is best if the sour cream is allowed to drain, and the cream to infuse with your flavoring of choice, the night before you intend to serve the dish.
Whipped Cheese Mouse
Printable version here.
Ingredients For Cheese:
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Ingredients for Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 rose geranium leaf or the zest of 1 medium lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Fruit and Cookie Crumble Topping:
2 ripe peaches or 8 tablespoons frozen blueberries
2 cookies, crumbled until fine
Pour the cream into a bowl; add geranium leaf or lemon peel. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 6 hours.
In a bowl, blend the sour cream with the sugar and vanilla.
Line a sieve with a clean kitchen towel and pour the sweetened sour cream onto it. Place the sieve over a bowl to catch the milky drips, cover, and refrigerate overnight or until firm (4-6 hours).
When you’re ready to assemble the dish, remove the leaf or peels and from the cream and whip it until stiff. Add the sugar gradually, then add the vanilla.
Add the semi-solid cream cheese, which is what the sour cream became, in chunks and keep whipping.
When all is incorporated and smooth, return the bowl to the fridge while you dice the fruit and separately, crumble the cookies.
Spoon enough mousse into each cup to make a serving – 3/4-1 cup. Top with chopped peaches.
Sprinkle crumbled cookies over all. Dark cookies make a nice color contrast. Garnish with a sprig of mint or edible flower.
Chag Shavuot Sameach!