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
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!