Today’s recipe is pretty, pink, and delicious! If you like cheesecake (even a little), you are likely going to love this! This Valentines Strawberry Cheesecake Mousse is light and fluffy, sweet (but not overwhelming), and has a deliciously light cream cheese flavor.
Contrary to other recipes I am adding fresh fruit puree to the mixture, (instead of just laying fruit on top as with some of the previous recipes) and also, I used real whipped cream (in place of cool whip). Both adjustments were deliciously successful. I’m sure as spring and summer roll in, I’ll try other fruit purees as well.
I like the addition of the crust (the graham cracker crumble) for a little texture, but it is not necessary.
Graham Cracker Crumble
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 5 full sized crackers)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup strawberry puree (made from about 1 cup fresh or frozen whole strawberries)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 (8oz) block cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 fresh strawberries, for garnish.
Prepare the graham cracker crumble:
Crush graham crackers in a plastic bag. Crush crackers until the mixture still has some pea sized pieces (you do not need it to be all fine crumbs).
Put cracker crumbs in a bowl and pour melted butter on top. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, and stir mixture until crumbs are moist.
Spread mixture into a baking dish (such as a 9″x9″ dish) and bake at 350*F for about 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Make strawberry puree:
In a food processor, or blender, chop/blend fresh or frozen (and slightly thawed) strawberries. Process until the berries are chopped, juicy, and no piece is larger than a pea.
Make whipped cream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), whip heavy cream until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar, and continue to whip until thick and holds stiff peaks. Move whipped cream to a separate bowl (if using bowl of electric mixer).
Make cheesecake mixture:
In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar, and continue to beat. Add vanilla, then add strawberry puree, a little at a time. Continue mixing, and beat until fully incorporated.
Fold cheesecake mixture into the whipped cream, and stir gently until fully combined. Taste to check for sweetness. If needed, add an additional tablespoon or so of powdered sugar, and fold in gently.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of graham cracker crumble into the bottom of 6 serving dishes.
Spoon or pipe (with a large piping bag, or large zip-lock bag with a corner cut off) strawberry cheesecake mixture into dishes.
Top with fresh strawberries if desired.
Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes, or until ready to serve
Best when eaten the day it was made.
This recipe can be made sugar free by omiting the graham cracker crumble, and using splenda, (or similar) in place of the powdered sugar.
If desired, Cool whip may be used in place of the whipped cream (I would suggest about 1 or 1 1/2 cups).
I used full fat (regular) cream cheese. Reduced fat cream cheese has a higher water content, and I have not experimented with it for this recipe.
If using fresh strawberries, make sure they are nice and ripe. If ripe strawberries are not available, use frozen. I used frozen strawberries in this recipe, and fresh berries just for garnish.
If you use frozen strawberries, make sure they are just strawberries, with no additional sweetener.
If desired, you may want to add a drop of pink food coloring to add to the pink hue. I did not add any this time, and you can see the color is very pale pink.