You've been cooking all day, the guests are coming over, and you forgot to make dessert. What do you do? Easy: pull out this three-ingredient, five-minute frozen fruit mousse that is not only company-worthy, but is ultra-light and infinitely adaptable!
I have to admit, I'm usually not a big fan of "light" desserts. All too often they just don't look, taste, or feel like dessert. And what's the point of eating dessert if it doesn't give you that YAY-I-HAD-DESSERT! happy feeling? But this five-minute fruit mousse is everything you could ever hope for in a fruit dessert. It's light and fluffy, like a soft, sweet cloud, and packed with bright flavors. A welcome touch whether for a change of pace in the winter or something refreshing in the summer.
I first got the idea for this mousse a few weeks back when my rocking rebel boyfriend and I were chilling on the couch, watching a rerun of Masterchef Australia. One of the show's hosts, Matt Preston, made it, though he calls it 1-Minute Ice Cream. I wouldn't call his recipe (well, my version of it) ice cream, per se; it's really too light to be called ice cream or even sorbet. And not quite cold enough.*
The recipe only calls for three ingredients—frozen fruit, sugar, and an egg white—and the single step of pureeing the stuff in a food processor. What comes out is a light, luscious fruit mousse.
*But thanks, Matt, you're an inspiration!
How does it work? Well, try to put frozen fruit and sugar into a blender and you end up with a thick smoothie. Delicious, but not quite a dessert. The egg white is what turns the fruit puree into a luscious, velvety mousse with body and volume.**
**If you're squeamish about using raw egg whites in dessert, look for pasteurized eggs, which can be safely consumed raw, though the risk of becoming ill from eating raw eggs is actually quite low these days. (Pregnant women and the elderly may want to avoid raw eggs—check with those guests before you get started!)
As for the sugar, you can modify the amount you use (I prefer this mousse with a little sugar in it), or leave it out altogether. While sugar is an essential ingredient in traditional sorbets (it lowers the freezing temperature and keeps sorbets smooth and free of any large ice crystals), with a mousse like this, you don't need the sugar for textural reasons, only for flavor, which opens you up to more options. Of course, you can also replace the sugar with another sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or even stevia.
If you decide to use honey or maple syrup, be aware that the flavors of both honey and maple syrup are quite pronounced and can easily overpower the delicate flavor of the fruit mousse. Remember: you can always add more after tasting the first time!
Once you've decided on your fruit and sweetener, making this fruity mousse only takes five minutes!
Start by combining a couple cups of frozen berries and two tablespoons of sugar (or another sweetener to taste) in the bowl of a food processor. For the fruit, you can use almost anything you'd like. I've mostly tried summer berries (I love to use raspberries) and tropical fruits, but you can also use frozen bananas, peaches, or pears. It's also great made with mango and passion fruit!
I use frozen fruits, because they're a lot cheaper and easier to come by out-of-season (and to be honest, frozen fruit, which is picked when fully ripe, just tastes better than a lot of off-season alternatives). If using fresh fruits, you'll want to cut them into pieces and freeze them on a sheet tray or large plate before incorporating them in the food processor.
Next, blitz the fruit and sugar into a puree. Don't worry if there are still some chunky bits in there, they'll disappear once you add the egg white.
With the egg white added, process until the mixture has dramatically lightened in color and has tripled in volume. It takes about 2 minutes.
And that's it. Done!
Just a little tip: if the blade of your machine does not extend all the way to the side of the bowl, the fruit puree may cling to it with the blade unable to reach it. If this happens, just transfer the chunky puree to an ordinary mixing bowl, add the egg white and mix with a normal hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachments until the mousse is fluffy before transferring the mousse back into the bowl of the food processor again to blitz until completely smooth.
And of course, just as you can make the dish lighter by using a different sweetener or omitting the sweetener altogether, you can also make the mousse a bit more indulgent by adding extra ingredients.
Try adding a dollop of whipped cream, for example. And what about chocolate shavings, or a drop of vanilla extract or a touch of lemon juice to boost the fruity flavors? It all works.
One last thing: because there's so little sugar in this mousse, it doesn't keep well. I recommend serving it straight out of the food processor. It holds for about two hours in the fridge before it starts to collapse.