Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bullwinkle Never Had It So Good -- Mousse!

Years ago, a friend invited hubbyman and I over for dinner and served us a delicious chocolate mousse dessert made from ricotta cheese. It had a very mild flavor and a slightly grainy texture ... not at all unpleasant. I remember thinking how much I liked it; I enjoy preparations that provide a new twist on a familiar food.

When I went grocery shopping a couple days ago, for some reason that dessert popped in my mind. As if on cue, I just happened to be in the dairy isle, and of it's own accord, my arm just happened to reach toward the ricotta cheese where my hand just happened to happily retrieve a container of the said ricotta, which was then deposited in my cart. Does that ever happen to you? Does your hand reach out and snare items as you go past? I don't even think my cart slowed down! I go to the store with a list, a well thought out list, and yet these "things" get in my cart. It's a mystery.

What makes this unusual is that we rarely have desserts at home. I know, I know ... my poor family is sooooo deprived, *sniff, sniff*. The way I see it, I'm depriving my hips of a few extra layers. Sorry my loved ones, the hips trump dessert. It's not like the hubbyman and offspring are suffering. Now that I think about it, though, there was some drama as they all crowded around the kitchen island as I was making this. Each of them in turn stared longingly at the mixing bowl with large, pleading eyes and asked, "please sir, I want some more?". Oh wait, sorry, I'm confusing them with drama from different urchins in Oliver Twist. Sorry, Dickens. In truth, though, they did wistfully comment, "Mom, do we get to try this? We want the stuff you make." Hubbyman said in amazement something like, "Is this for me? I get some?" *sigh* Now I'm feeling guilty. Ok, Ok, I'll make more desserts. Zheesh!

Anyway, this was easy to put together. Look out Rocky and Bullwinkle, here are the ingredients to make Amaretto Chocolate Ricotta Mousse:

1/2 brick of cream cheese softened
1 15 oz container of Ricotta cheese
4 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, sifted *See Note
1-1/2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder *See Note
3 Tablespoons Amaretto *See Note
2 Tablespoons Whipping Cream
Chopped Pistachios
Fresh Fruit Garnish

In a large mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Push the ricotta cheese through a sieve, and mix in with sugar and cocoa mixture. Whisk in the cream cheese, Amaretto, and whipping cream. Spoon into serving dishes and serve at once, or refrigerate if you want a firmer mousse. Garnish with pistachios and sliced fruit. (Like the strawberry? ... fresh picked this morning from my garden!) I just love these little antique glasses. I always wonder who used them and how they were used in the long ago past. I'm nostalgic like that.

NOTES: You could probably substitute Splenda for the powdered sugar, measuring it to taste. Also, I think next time instead of using cocoa powder, I will grate some dark chocolate, melt it, and add it to the mixture. The Amaretto was something that I added on impulse. I was just blog chatting with Nita from Matron Of Husbandry (Throwback at Trapper Creek) about almond flavors and Amaretto. Since it was so fresh in my mind, I added it here. You could easily substitute a smaller quantity of almond extract, vanilla, or whatever flavoring you like with chocolate. Also, in my opinion, the chopped pistachios really made the dessert. The saltiness of the nuts really, really, really complimented the cheeses. (I really like using the word "really". See how often I used it in the past couple of sentences.) Oh, also next time, I think I'll just whip this up in the food processor. While I don't mind the texture of the ricotta (I'm Italian after all), I think the food processor would smooth out the mousse for those with a pickier palate. I thought about it before I started, but I had used the food processor for dinner and didn't feel like washing it out again. See how the texture is just short of smooth? It's really more of a creamy dessert than a fluffy, airy traditional mousse.

Yumm, the texture obviously works for me. It tries to cling to the spoon. Excuse me for a second as I finish this bite. Ahhhh. Oooh, the Amaretto is soooo lovely. Perhaps I should pour some into a wee glass to toast my mousse.
Ahem, back to the recipe. The end result was quite tasty with very mild choc and almond flavors. This mousse could lend itself to all sorts of desserts. You could sprinkle crushed ginger snaps on it, or you could line a serving dish with vanilla wafers or lady fingers and top it with the mousse and some whipped cream. Do you like mousse? I like mousse. As with most of my stuff, this creamy pleaser is gluten free.

I wonder what will make its way into my cart next time? Only my hand knows!


Dee said...

I go into the store with a list of 10 things and leave with 20 'essentials'. Glad to know I'm not alone :)

The ricotta mousse looks amazing. I gave up on my hips ages ago anyway.

MrOrph said...

Are you kidding? I'm not allowed to go to the market by myself anymore! :-)

This looks delicious. I imagine the ricotta really adds a nice texture.

Going to give this one a try. Maybe some brandy in it?


you got the perfect texture from what i saw left on the spoon!

Jeena said...

Paula this looks so thick and creamy, I wish I had that spoon in my hand.:-)

Cheryl said...

That looks fantastic Chica! Splenda, I am on it! I can't wait to make it. Many things find their way into my cart, I thought I was the only one!

nottryingforaboy said...

Looks delicious!

Pam said...

My hand does that to me in the store all the time! My husband loves mousse and I have always been afraid to make it. Thanks for inspiring me to give it a try!

Grace said...

why the heck don't you send this to me for my beat the heat event--it's absolutely positively perfect! my saliva glands don't lie. :)

Marjie said...

Bravo! Well done!

It's harder for stuff to "fall" into your restaurant supply house delivery man's hands, isn't it?

I need mousse...hey, it'll work even for someone with a broken molar!

Nita said...

U R killing me girl! I don't need any (more)layers on my hips either, but chocolate and almonds just beg to be together. Think Chocolate Almond ice cream at Baskin & Robbins...
If I make this, I won't have to share my secret stash of espresso ganache that I cleverly hide in a sour cream container in the back of the fridge. (This is strictly medicinal you know!)
As always a great recipe and great pics.

Bridgett said...

Wow, this post nearly had me drooling on my keyboard but thankfully I stopped myself in time. I love mousse and I haven't made it in the longest time. My mom used to make it to where it took a couple hours, but it was so worth it. Good idea with the pistachios since a little crunch never hurt.

Lisa said...

Sounds yummy and I'm totally with you on the wee glass and the toast. Here's to happy husbands, the rediscovery of dessert, and your Amaretto Chocolate Ricotta Mousse!

Paula said...

Dee: Love the "essentials" part! Hey, I'll swap you some mousse for your rice pudding!

Mrorph: You make me laugh .. not allowed to go by yourself. My hubby is the same way. I'm glad he hasn't figured out the two cart shopping method! Brandy would be excellent!

Mediterranean Kiwi: It was so good. I've read your recent post and LOVED it (as I love all your stories). I want to read it again, and then I'll leave a comment on there tonight.

Jeena: I really is thick and creamy. It keeps well in the fridge, too, firming up a bit.

Cheryl: I need to learn more about Splenda. I've only used it to sweeten beverages, but I see it popping up more and more in recipes.

Not trying for a boy: I still laugh everytime I see your blog name! It is delicious ... suprisingly light, too.

Pam: This was really easy to make. It's not a true mousse, but very light and creamy.

Grace: I'll have to check out your Beat the Heat event. Oh man, my hips are doomed!

Marjie: See, we should be neighbors and then I could bring you mousse! Of course, though, with all the desserts you create, my family would abandon ship and want to move it with you!

Nita: You totally crack me up...hey thanks for the tip about the covert usage of sour cream containers. hehe Of course, I run the risk of stashing multiple containers!

Bridgett: Your mom must have made the real mccoy! YUM! This is really good -- creamy and satisfying. I loved the pistachios -- salty and sweet.

Lisa: It was really tasty! I've got to admit, I really liked the Amaretto ... both in the mousse and my wee little glass!

noble pig said...

It looks so good, pink dessert gets me every time! I love it. I also buy everything for every meal I'm going to make in the next ten's terrible.

Jan said...

A delicious post, Paula, and the dessert looks good too. :-)

Kevin said...

That mousse looks and sounds so good! I like the use of the pistachios.

Paula said...

Thanks for visiting folks!

Noble Pig: Glad I'm not the only one finding it hard to control my arms/hands from grabbing stuff off the shelves and filling my basket! The dessert is really good; it's actually light brown, like choc milk! Crazy internet colors!

Hi Jan: Thanks! It really is a quick, yummy dessert.

Kevin: The pistachios really made the dessert. I liked the salty taste sensation they provided!