These light, billowy individual soufflé-like mousses are a variation on a pie filling in my book, The Weekend Baker. Instead of adding heavy cream to the mousse, I use puréed ricotta (for a smooth texture) to add richness without heaviness. The lemon and fresh ginger make for a refreshing flavor profile, but it’s the ginger cookies hidden inside that are the surprise ingredient. Softened by the mousse, they bring texture and a burst of ginger flavor. Adding a collar of parchment adds additional height to the ramekins. This way you can mimic the impressive height of a baked soufflé without the need for any last-minute fussing. Neutral oil (safflower, canola, vegetable, or corn), for the ramekins.
For the mousse:
- 3⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1 1⁄4 cups ricotta (part skim is fine)
- 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
- Pinch of table salt 4 whites from large eggs at room temperature
- 1⁄2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1⁄2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
- 12 gingersnap cookies + more for the crushed cookie topping (I use Nabisco or homemade molasses cookies)
The soufflés can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days before serving. Have ready six 6-oz. ramekins arranged on a flat plate or quarter sheet pan. Cut parchment into six strips 2.5 inches wide and 12 inches long. Wrap one strip around each ramekin so that the paper covers the ramekin and stands 1 inch above the rim; secure with tape. Lightly grease the inside of the paper rim (I use a paper towel dipped in a bit of neutral oil).
Make the mousse
- Pour the lemon juice into a small heatproof ramekin (or keep it in the measuring cup) and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Set aside to soften. Once the gelatin has absorbed the liquid and is plump (about 3 minutes), microwave briefly until it is completely melted and crystal clear, 1 to 2 minutes. This can also be done in a small saucepan (instead of the ramekin) over low heat.
- Put the ricotta, granulated sugar, lemon zest, ginger, and salt in a blender. Scrape the lemon gelatin mixture into the blender, cover, and process until the ricotta is smooth and the mixture is well blended, about 1.5 minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice. Pour into a medium bowl and refrigerate, stirring frequently, until the mixture is cooled and thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. It should be as thick as unbeaten egg whites. For faster cooling, set the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice, stirring and scraping the sides frequently until cooled.
- Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a medium bowl and using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters) and beat on medium speed until the whites are frothy, 30 to 45 seconds. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the whites form soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue beating while gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat until the whites form firm and glossy peaks when the beater is lifted.
- Scoop about one-quarter of the whites into the thickened lemon mixture and, using a silicone spatula, gently stir until blended. Add the remaining whites and gently fold in until just blended.
Assemble the mousses
- Arrange one cookie in the bottom of each ramekin.
- Using a large spoon, fill the ramekins halfway with the mousse.
- Arrange a cookie on top of the mousse and evenly portion the remaining mousse on top of the cookies. Using a small offset spatula, smooth the tops.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 day.
Using a sharp paring knife, carefully peel away the parchment from the ramekins (up to 3 hours ahead). Just before serving, place each ramekin on a small plate and top with some of the crushed ginger cookie or a little of the blackberry compote, passing the remainder at the table.
- 2 cups blackberries, rinsed and well dried
- 2 to 3 Tbs. limoncello liqueur
- 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- Put the blackberries, limoncello, sugar, and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
- Toss with a silicone spatula, lightly crushing the berries to release some of their juices.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use or for up to 6 hours.