Happy Friday, and a very Merry Go Texan Day to you all! So, my pal Stacy moved to Oregon a while ago to work for a Maraschino cherry company called Cherryman. She was nice enough to send me some of their all-natural, farm to market, gluten free cherries to play with and see if I could come up with a fun recipe. Tempted as I was to just buy some rye, make an Old Fashioned with a maraschino garnish and call it a night, I actually spent quite a while thinking about it. Maraschinos are pretty sweet, since they are preserved in a sugary suspension, and therefore really lend themselves to desserts. If you are a housewife in the 1950’s, you would probably stick one inside a pineapple circle on the outside of a ham. If you are a child in the 1980’s, you like them in Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers. The interesting thing about the Cherryman natural cherries is that they aren’t sickly sweet like most of the maraschinos I’ve had. They are actually a little bit tart, and more authentically cherry tasting. Plus, they have pretty darn cute packaging.*
What I ultimately decided on was simplicity and elegance. I’ve made a bazillion mousses in my day, and the base recipe I’m using here is very quick and not too challenging. The actually cherries are going to be my garnish, and I used the liquid inside the cherry jar to flavor the mousse. It gives a great flavor, and the dark red mixes in to give the final product a really sweet pink tint (which did not photograph, but it totally does.)
White Chocolate Cherry Mousse
1 1/4 C heavy whipping cream
4 egg whites
1/2 C granulated sugar
5 oz white chocolate
3-4 T Cherryman maraschino cherry “juice”
Gather 3 glass or stainless bowls. In one, pour the whipping cream. Beat it with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Set up a double boiler: Get a saucepan, fill it about 1/3 up with water and bring to a light boil. Place the white chocolate in another bowl and set on top of the double boiler. Make sure the water in the pot is not touching the bottom of your bowl. Melt the chocolate while stirring it until it gets to about 120 F. You need a little thermometer for this, or just eyeball if you feel comfortable. Be careful not to scorch the chocolate. This should only take about 4 minutes or so. Once done, set the chocolate aside.
In the final bowl, whisk together the sugar and the egg whites. Put them over the boiler, and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 120-125 F. This takes about 3 minutes. If you are using a stainless bowl, it will feel warm to the touch but not hot. Be careful not to let the eggs start cooking. Once they are warmed, put them in the mixer or use your hand mixer to created what is called a “swiss meringue.” Beat the mixture until it has roughly the consistency of that marshmallow fluff – it should be very thick and shiny but won’t get peaks or anything.
Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate, and then fold the whipped cream into that! Finally, pour the cherry juice in and make sure it is evenly distributed. Pour the mousse into 6 ramekins and chill for at least 1 -2 hours. Garnish with more maraschinos and a little more cherry juice. Be sure to eat them as soon as they come out of the fridge, as they will melt into a puddle, and no one wants that!
*I was not paid to write this or create this recipe – these are all my own, honest opinions 🙂