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White Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

White Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries
Strawberries are members of the rose family and have long grown wild in Europe and the Americas. Today, they are cultivated almost year-round, although they are sweetest and juiciest during their peak, from April to June. White chocolate marries especially well with the berries' wonderful flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups strawberries, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. kirsch or framboise
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine 1 1/2 cups of the strawberries with the sugar. Puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add the kirsch and stir to mix. Cut the remaining 1/2 cup strawberries lengthwise into thin slices and stir into the puree. Set aside.

Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over but not touching gently simmering water in a saucepan. Heat the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until it is melted and smooth and registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer. Gradually add the warm milk to the chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and let the mixture cool until it is almost at room temperature.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream on high speed just until soft peaks form. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold the remaining whites, the whipped cream and vanilla into the chocolate mixture just until combined and no white drifts remain. Do not overmix. (At this point, you may cover and refrigerate the mousse for up to 1 day.)

To serve, spoon about half of the mousse into 6 parfait glasses, half filling each glass. Top with the strawberry sauce, again using about half and dividing it equally. Repeat with the remaining mousse and strawberry sauce.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Spring, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).