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White Chocolate Mousse Bars

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  [Recipe makes 10 bars in a 9" x 13" pan].

Recently I was asked to come up with a dessert that has white chocolate and fruit and has a summer feel.  As some of you may recall, my favorite cheesecake to make is a three-layered dessert with a white chocolate mousse in the middle.  So I thought, why not take the graham cracker crust, bulk up the volume of the mousse, and garnish with a fruit purée?  The result is an extremely light dessert with the perfect balance between fruit and white chocolate; think cheesecake meets white chocolate meets whipped cream.  The best part of all is that there's no baking required for the mousse.  Win-win!  [Side note:  The raspberries in the sauce can be substituted with any other fresh berry].

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (1 pint) fresh raspberries
1 3/4 ounces (~1/4 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 ounces graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 ounces (~1/4 cup) sugar
3 ounces (~6 tablespoons) butter, melted

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce (~1/4 cup) powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

For the sauce, add the raspberries, sugar, and fresh lemon juice to a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the raspberries lose their structure, roughly 10 minutes.  Blend and pass through a chinois (or fine meshed sieve).  Cool before serving.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

For the crust, line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment, making sure to let the paper overhang on all four sides.  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Transfer to the baking dish and firmly compact the crust.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Transfer to the freezer while you work on the mousse.

For the mousse, whisk the heavy cream and vanilla on medium-low speed using a stand mixer, until it begins to thicken.  Continue increasing the speed to high and whip until soft peaks are formed.  Add the powdered sugar and whip for another 30 seconds.  Remove the whip attachment and transfer the whipped cream to another bowl.  Add the softened cream cheese to the bowl and beat on medium-high using the paddle attachment.  Using a double-boiler (or the microwave on a low setting), melt the white chocolate.  Add to the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat once more.  Once uniform, add one-third of the whipped cream and beat on low until uniform.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the remaining two-thirds of the whipped cream.  Gently fold in by hand using a rubber spatula.  Spread the mixture over the chilled graham cracker crust and level with an offset spatula.  Transfer the dessert to the freezer and chill overnight.  [Side note:  This can be served after only several hours in the freezer; it just won't be as easy to make clean cuts].

Once frozen, remove from the pan.  Run hot water over your knife, dry it off, and slice the dessert into 10 bars.  Repeat warming and cleaning your knife as needed.  Serve with a drizzle of raspberry sauce.

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