Mousse Cheesecake with Berries
Last weekend, my sister-in-law, Iman, celebrated her birthday. When I asked her what cake would she like me to make for the occasion, she refused to say so as not to bother me. I asked her again and she refused kindly yet again. So I asked her what kinds of cake she liked and finally she answered me. That’s how it works in my family. We don’t hear “No”. We only hear the “Yes” hiding somewhere between “No thanks” and “Absolutely not”.
So what kinds of cake does she like? Cheesecakes mainly, with strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. Yey! I love cheesecakes too. A picture of my mom’s blueberry cheesecake came to mind. I decided to make a similar cake but in a more modern style. A small entremet cake, rich with flavors and textures, just like I learned at my pastry school.
Somehow, the chaos in my mom’s cheesecake showed up in this cake too. When you cut the cake, the red color of the berries starts to trickle down the cake and makes the whole thing look like a crime scene. But the cake keeps its form and is to my taste (and Iman’s taste too). I should probably reduce the amount of liquids in the insert next time.
Fresh raspberries and blueberries are not cheap around here. So I only used them as decoration on top of the cake. I made berry puree from frozen berries you can get in any grocery store.
Please note (!) Preparation time for this cake takes 3 days. On the first day, prepare the insert. On the second day, prepare the base, the mousse and the glaze (if you want, I liked the naked look better, but my mom wouldn’t have it). On the third day, cover the cake with the glaze (and finally, eat it).
16 g gelatin powder
80 g water
200 g berries
200 g water
260 g berries puree
20 g inverted Sugar / honey
20 g sugar
3 g pectin powder
20 g gelatin mass
30 g soft butter
25 g sugar
35 g sliced almonds
1 g salt (3 pinches)
5 g flour *
Zest from 1 lemon
Cream cheese mousse
350 g cream cheese 9% (about 500 g before straining)
130 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
40 g gelatin mass
250 g heavy cream
White chocolate glaze (optional)
100 g glucose
50 g water
65 g condensed milk
100 g sugar
30 g gelatin mass
100 g white chocolate
20 g raspberries
20 g blueberries
20 g dried red fruit
Round ring, 14 cm diameter
Round ring, 16 cm diameter and 4 cm height
* Replace with almond powder for a gluten-free version.
Cheese straining: Place a strainer on top of a bowl. Put the cheese in the strainer and store in the fridge for about an hour or two. In this process, most of the liquid will be separated from the cheese.
Gelatin mass: Sprinkle gelatin powder over the water, mix well and keep in the fridge for at least half an hour. Cut into small pieces before use.
Prepare the small ring: Cover the bottom of the ring with plastic wrap by pulling and fastening it to the outer sides, creating a straight and hermetic bottom for the ring. Place the ring on a tray.
Berries puree: Put the berries in a saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Mash some berries with the spatula while stirring. Let it cool for about 5 minutes and then grind with a hand blender to a smoother texture. Weigh the amount needed straight into another saucepan.
Add inverted sugar to the puree and mix well. Mix pectin and sugar together. As soon as the temperature of the puree drops to 40 °C (105 °F), place the saucepan on medium heat and add the pectin while whisking all along. Keep whisking until it starts to boil. Remove from heat, add the gelatin mass and stir until dissolved. Pour the mixture into the ring, up to 1 cm height. Keep in the freezer for at least two hours (preferably overnight).
Preheat oven to 170 °C (340 °F). Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place the small ring on top.
Put sugar, butter, almonds and salt in the mixer bowl. Mix with the paddle attachment for about 3-4 minutes to grind the almonds slightly. Add flour and lemon zest and mix for another half a minute until the flour is well combined.
Transfer the mixture into the ring and flatten the surface with a small spreading spatula. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes until the base begins to brown. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the ring (careful, it’s hot!).
Allow the base to cool at room temperature. Line a tray with baking parchment and place the almond base on top. Place the large ring around the base and set it aside.
Cream cheese mousse
Whisk the cold heavy cream until you almost get soft peaks (beware not to over whip, the goal is to get a texture that resembles yogurt). Keep in the fridge.
Place the filtered cheese in a bowl. Add vanilla and sugar. Whisk until uniform. Dissolve the gelatin mass on low heat (be careful not to burn it, heat until melted only). Transfer a quarter of the cheese mixture to the melted gelatin and whisk well. Transfer back to the cheese mixture and whisk again. From this stage, you have to work fast.
Remove the whipped cream from the fridge, whisk it a little bit and then fold it into the cheese mixture in 3 parts until the mixture is uniform.
Pour immediately into the large ring over the almond base, but only up to half the ring’s height. Remove the insert from the freezer and place it in the center of the ring over the mousse. Continue pouring the mousse over the insert to the top (and even a little bit more). Remove the excess mousse using a large spreading spatula to make the surface flat. Keep in the freezer for at least two hours. (Preferably overnight)
White chocolate glaze (optional)
It’s recommended to prepare the glaze 24 hours in advance for a better coating.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and put them in a measuring pitcher. Keep aside. Put glucose, condensed milk, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat. Add the gelatin mass and mix until dissolved. Pour over chocolate, making sure all the chocolate is covered. Mix a little bit with a spatula and then use a hand blender to blend it to a uniform consistency. Strain through a sifter into a bowl (to get rid of air bubbles) and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap. Keep in the fridge. When it’s time to use the glaze heat it back to 27-30 ºC (80-86 ºF).
Putting it all together!
Heat the glaze to a temperature of 27-30 ºC (80-86 ºF).
Release the mousse from the ring (by rubbing the ring between the palms of your hands). Set it on an upside-down bowl with a flat bottom. (It’s recommended to place the bowl on a tray or baking paper to collect the dripped glaze easily) Transfer the glaze into a measuring pitcher and pour over the mousse to form a thin and uniform layer of coating. Remove the excess glaze from the top of the mousse by using a large spreading spatula. Do it in one quick sweep. Let the glaze pour down. Remove the excess glaze at the bottom at the mousse using a small spreading spatula. Pick up the mousse cake using the spatulas and place it on a serving plate. Decorate the top of the cake with berries and keep in the fridge up to two days.
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