Mousse! Lighter than pudding, airier than ice cream… certainly nothing like jello. Mousse has a reputation as a complicated, rich and decadent indulgence for special occasions. While our recipe for Balaton cherry mousse is something of an indulgence and does make any occasion special, it’s not really that complicated. Yes, there are several steps involved, but none of them are especially difficult, and with some practice and a little organization, this wonderfully summery dessert can take less than 45 minutes to make, start to finish.
What makes this mousse extra special? Plump, crimson-red fresh Balaton cherries, grown in Michigan’s Northwest fruit belt. Balaton cherries are quickly becoming established as the cherry lover’s preferred tart cherry. Their deeply pigmented flesh, tender skin and distinctively different sweet-tart flavor make them the go-to cherry for practically everything, from pies and pastries to preserves, jams and sauces – even eating out of hand.
Balaton cherries are still something of a rarity. The breed first came to the United States in 1984 when Dr. Amy Iezzoni, Professor of Horticulture at Michigan State University, brought the first stock from its ancestral home in Hungary. It wasn’t until 1994 that the first Balaton cherry plantings were finally established here in the US. Now, some 20+ years later, Balaton cherries are finally appearing in the marketplace, primarily at Michigan farmer’s markets and via specialty food sellers like Earthy Delights.
Like other fresh cherries, the season for Balaton cherries is relatively short, lasting only for a few weeks in late summer. Our advice to cherry aficionados: try Balaton cherries wherever and whenever you find them. You won’t regret it.
Balaton Cherry Mousse
- 1-1/2 lb fresh Balaton cherries, divided
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups whipping cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- fresh mint leaves for garnish
Wash, stem and pit the cherries. Set 3/4 lb aside for later use. Put the remaining 3/4 lb of cherries into a food processor and pulse until you have a chunky puree. Remove from the food processor and refrigerate.
Carefully separate the eggs; refrigerate the whites for use later in the recipe. Put the yolks in a large stainless steel bowl and stir in the 1/4 cup sugar.
Whisk the sugar and egg yolk mixture together until it becomes pale yellow and creamy. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with hot water and bring to a low simmer. Place the stainless steel bowl containing the egg yolk-sugar mixture over the saucepan and beat continuously until the mixture becomes thick and shiny. Remove immediately from the heat and stir in the cherry puree. Refrigerate to cool completely.
Place the cream, 1 Tbsp of the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract into a clean bowl and beat with a mixer on medium-high until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Place the chilled egg whites into another clean bowl and beat with a mixer on medium high until the whites begin to thicken. Sprinkle in the remaining 1 Tbsp powdered sugar and continue to whip until the egg whites form soft peaks; set aside.
Remove the chilled cherry-egg yolk mixture from the refrigerator. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cherry mixture with a gentle figure 8 motion; next, fold in the egg whites. Carefully spoon layers of the mousse into individual serving dishes or wine goblets, alternating with layers of the reserved fresh cherries. Save a few of the whole pitted cherries for serving. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, and of course, a cherry on top!
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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