Whipped Ricotta Mousse with Summer Fruits
As I write this, there’s a heat advisory in effect, and I could not be bothered to turn on the oven, but that doesn’t meant that I don’t want dessert. Enter Whipped Ricotta Mousse with Summer Fruits, a seasonal delight that tastes like it took you a lot longer than ten minutes to throw together. Even if you make your homemade ricotta—which I absolutely recommend trying, because it has so many uses—this won’t take long.
Ricotta isn’t just for lasagna
One summer day years ago after loading up on glorious produce at the Union Square Farmer’s Market in Somerville, Massachusetts, I stopped into Capone Foods, an Italian specialty food shop, for some treats. I ordered up some prosciutto, picked up a couple of jars, and a bit of cheese. The shop owner got my order together and suggested that I get some fresh ricotta.
“Oh, no thank you,” I said. “I’m not making any pasta dishes this week.”
A lesson learned
He then asked me if I’d ever baked it, drizzled with honey. I had not, and he could tell that this piqued my interest. He added a small container to my order, raising an eyebrow. I nodded.
Thereafter, I always picked up a small container of ricotta when I was in Union Square. He was right—baked ricotta with a little honey is a winner. It’s also delicious just spread on toast with a little honey or some sea salt. Or with veggies. Or, you know, a spoon.
It’s been a year since I’ve been in Capone’s, and while I’ve had some wonderful cheeses, I hadn’t had any good homemade ricotta. I decided to make some, and, in honor of unique uses, to make an easy mousse with it.
Whipped Ricotta Mousse—a bit sophisticated but super simple
Whipped Ricotta Mousse is a less fussy cousin to egg-white-based mousses. You still have to fold in the (ricotta) cheese (sorry, David), but I find the whipped cream much more forgiving. It comes together in less than ten minutes if you have a little food processor for the ricotta, and it produces a sophisticated, if simple little dessert that you can easily whip up on a weeknight.
Whip it, whip it good
You must whip it—both the ricotta and cream—separately. Start with ricotta, preferably homemade (more on that below), but at least the good stuff. Add that and the lemon zest to the bowl of a mini food processor and whip until smooth and creamy—this can take a few minutes. Pop the whipped ricotta into the fridge while you whip the cream.
If I’m whipping anything less than a cup of cream, I nearly always do it by hand, though you certainly don’t have to. Start whipping the cream, and when it’s thickened, sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar over it and keep whipping. The confectioner’s sugar is going to help stabilize things, playing a similar role to Ice Box Cakes. Keep whipping, getting your arm workout in, until it holds stiff peaks. Then gently fold in the ricotta to the cream, working in batches.
Use the good stuff
Whipped Ricotta Mousse with Summer Fruits relies on the good stuff. Either make your own homemade ricotta or get the best you can, and use a quality whipping cream. If you’re interested in trying to make your own homemade ricotta, which I did for this recipe, you’ll find an easy small-batch recipe in the Wonder & Sundry Recipe Box. Subscribe today for access—it’s free and comes with loads of other Wonders & Sundries.
Making homemade ricotta
One thing about the ricotta I got from Caponne’s—even the small container was really more than I could eat before it went bad. This is a cheese that needs to be used quickly. The small-batch recipe in the Wonder & Sundry Recipe Box makes just enough for the Whipped Ricotta Mousse. It’s a quick recipe, with very little hands-on time. And the results? My goodness, it’s good. For Whipped Ricotta Mousse, it’s OK if your cheese is on the softer side.
Get creative with Whipped Ricotta Mousse
I happen to like the flavors in this version, but there’s infinite possibilities. You could add chocolate, jam, and/or cookie crumbles. I haven’t tried it, but it did occur to me that a savory version of this would be interesting. I’d love to hear what you come up with!
Whipped Ricotta Mousse with Summer Fruits
- 1 mini food processor optional, but helpful for the ricotta
- 6 oz fresh ricotta, preferably homemade, drained (177 ml) a little loose is fine, but you don't want whey
- ½ lemon, zested to taste
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream (120 ml)
- 1 ⅔ tbsp confectioner's sugar
- fruit drizzled with honey, optional to serve
- mint leaves to garnish
- Add the ricotta and lemon zest to the bowl of a mini food processor. Whip on high for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Pop into the fridge while you whip the cream6 oz fresh ricotta, preferably homemade, drained, ½ lemon, zested
- Add the cream to a medium mixing bowl (this will help prevent splatters). Whip by hand until cream is thickened. Sprinkle the confectioner's sugar over the cream and continue whipping until stiff peaks form½ cup heavy whipping cream, 1 ⅔ tbsp confectioner's sugar
- In 3-4 batches, add the whipped ricotta to the whipped cream, folding (can anyone else say this without screaming, "David!"?) gently to just combine
- Transfer to 2 serving dishes, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one, but preferably at least two hours
- Serve with fresh fruit drizzled with honey and garnished with mintfruit drizzled with honey, optional, mint leaves