Sometimes strawberries start to get mushy as soon as you bring them home. Other times, you discover the batch you bought doesn't have that much flavor. What to do with them, then? Turn them into mousse! Many thanks to America's Test Kitchen for the recipe.
2 pounds strawberries, hulled (6 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces and softened
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
1. Cut enough strawberries into 1/4-inch dice to measure 1 cup; refrigerate until ready to garnish. Pulse remaining strawberries in food processor in 2 batches until most pieces are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (some larger pieces are fine), 6 to 10 pulses. Transfer strawberries to bowl and toss with 1/4 cup sugar and salt. (Do not clean processor.) Cover bowl and let strawberries stand for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Strain processed strawberries through fine-mesh strainer into bowl (you should have about 2/3 cup juice). Measure out 3 tablespoons juice into small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over juice, and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Place remaining juice in small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add softened gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl.
3. While juice is reducing, return strawberries to now-empty processor and process until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to remove seeds and pulp (you should have about 1 2/3 cups puree). Discard any solids in strainer. Add strawberry puree to juice-gelatin mixture and whisk until incorporated.
4. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk whipped cream into strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Portion into dessert dishes and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours. (If chilled longer than 6 hours, let mousse sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.) Serve, garnishing with reserved diced strawberries.
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