Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

My dad, generally, is not a dessert person. At least he says he's not. He'll eat it if it's served and if we go out for dinner, and someone orders dessert, he'll usually have a bite. As someone who is very much a dessert person, I don't quite understand this. The only reason I ever have for turning down dessert is that I've eaten too much dinner and fear that the consumption of any more food will result in my stomach exploding. As such, when planning a meal, I always think about dessert first.

So for father's day I couldn't very well not think about dessert. He may not be big on dessert, but he loves orange chocolate. I have a lovely recipe for lemon cheesecake mousse that I've used on several occasions so I decided it could be adapted with oranges and put in a chocolate tart.

It turned out beautifully. A lovely smooth, creamy orange mousse in a crumbly chocolate tart. I topped it with strawberries soaked in Grand Marnier, to both compliment and punch up the orange. Definitely a hit. It was delicious. So without further ado: the recipe.

Both recipes adapted from Anna Olson.

Orange Cheesecake Mousse with Strawberries and Grand Marnier

Chocolate Crust
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut in pieces
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pulse nuts in food processor with sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt.
2. Add butter and pulse until crumbly
3. Add egg yolks and vanilla and pulse until it comes together.
4. Press into greased muffin tins, dock with a fork, and bake at 350F.

*If you don't have a food processor big enough to fit the whole recipe just grind up the almonds and mix it all together by hand. Rub in the butter with your fingers and then mash in the liquids with a fork.

Orange Cheesecake Mousse
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
dash of vanilla extract

2 cups strawberries, quartered
2 tbsp Grand Marnier

1. Whip cream to medium peaks and chill.
2. Toss strawberries in Grand Marnier and chill.
3. Beat cream cheese until smooth, beat in sugar and zest, then juice and vanilla.
4. Fold in cream in two additions.
5. Pipe or scoop into tart shells and garnish with strawberries.

Of course you can stick to Anna Olson's original recipe and use lemon rather than orange. Top with any berries you want. Blueberries would work well with lemon, as would blackberries. Raspberries would be nice with orange. Anything that takes your fancy really. I'm suddenly stuck by the idea of using passionfruit in the mousse...inspiration for next time!

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