Pashka Mousse Lilli with Fruit
The mousse is really a velvety cheese topping for the luscious figs. The flavors of the two meld perfectly. Both the mousse and compote may be prepared up to 3 days in advance and kept refrigerated.
- Ricotta cheese - 1/2 cup
- Natural Cream Cheese - 1-1/2 pounds, at room temperature
- Superfine sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Egg Yolks - 3
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Vanilla Extract - 4 teaspoons
- Egg Whites - 6
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Water - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1 (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Honey - 1 tablespoon
- Zinfandel or other fruity red wine - 1/2 cup
- Fresh Black Mission Figs - 32 quartered (leave the stem on one quarter of each fig)
- Fresh Raspberries - 4 cups
- Crème fraiche or Whipped cream - 2 cups (optional)
- Fresh Raspberries - 1 cup
- Rosemary Sprigs - 8 to 10 small
The day before serving, line a strainer with a double layer of damp cheesecloth and place the ricotta in the strainer. Set the strainer over a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to drain.
In a blender or a food processor, puree the drained ricotta and set aside. Cook the cream cheese with half of the sugar over low heat until warm, beating with a wooden spoon. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the lemon zest, two teaspoons of the vanilla, and the ricotta. Beat well, strain through a fine-meshed sieve, and cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface so no skin forms. Cool to room temperature.
Place the egg whites in a bowl and beat at medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the remaining sugar. Whip until stiff and shiny, then add the remaining vanilla. In another bowl, beat the cream into soft peaks and set aside.
Fold the egg whites and then the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and turn into a bowl, pressing plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, or overnight, until chilled through.
To make the compote: Combine the water, sugar, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean (or vanilla extract), honey, and wine in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over low heat to reduce for a few minutes. Add the fig quarters. Simmer 2 minutes and remove from the heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the figs to a cool bowl. Add the raspberries to the figs and strain the warm syrup over the fruit. Cool, then cover and chill well.
To serve; Stir the mousse gently until smooth. Spoon the compote into serving bowls and top with a large spoonful of mousse. Add a touch of crème fraiche or whipped cream if desired. Garnish with a few raspberries and a sprig of rosemary.