Espresso-spiked Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

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One of the immediate consequences of receiving a Syntia machine as a thank-you token after my lecture for Lavazza Coffee and Philips Saeco  at Eataly last September, was that I started putting espresso into everything.

Literally: I experimented with stews, fish, fennel, fresh pasta, smoked cheese… with a couple of exceptions, everything seemed to taste more interesting. It’s probably because our sense of smell is responsible for about 4/5 of what we taste – that’s why we lose our appetite when we have a cold and our nose is blocked! With its intense and unique aroma, high-quality coffee is an extraordinary ingredient and can add sophistication to a variety of dishes, savory or sweet.  However, I have to admit that it was its performance in desserts to really capture my culinary imagination. You see, I wasn’t really born with a sweet tooth and I can truly appreciate sugar only when I mix it with something different, whether it’s sour (lemon gelato), salty (chocolate pretzels!), or bitter (any espresso-spiked desserts!).

Tiramisu, one of the most recent and successful “classics” of Italian cuisine, is my favorite example of the perfect marriage of sweet and creamy (mascarpone, cream and sugar) with deep and bitter (espresso and unsweetened cocoa powder). A match made in heaven! Unfortunately, it’s a bit rich, and after seeing me down it for breakfast for three days in a row, my husband politely pointed out that I was showing clear signs of addiction. Switching to a ricotta-based coffee treat seemed like a better option if I wanted to indulge myself so often. Whole milk ricotta is a cheese by-product, not a cheese, and naturally low in fat and high in protein, while still very rich and creamy in texture (cannoli, anyone?).

Let me know what you think of this espresso-spiked chocolate almond mousse. It’s light enough that you can enjoy it after a multiple-course meal without feeling too guilty!

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs (I prefer pasteurized eggs)
  • ¼ lb whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 1 shot chocolate or almond liqueur (Godiva, or Disaronno)
  • 2 shots strong espresso
  • 5 tbsps crumbled amaretto cookies or other almond cookies
  • 5 tbsps sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dark chocolate shavings and slivered almonds to decorate

Directions:

Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks with the sugar until light and frothy. Add the ricotta  liqueur, coffee, cocoa and chocolate and combine well. Add the crumbled cookies.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and incorporate them into the ricotta using a spatula.

Pour the mix into individual bowls, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Decorate with chocolate shavings and slivered almonds before serving.

*RAW EGG WARNING and PASTEURIZING EGGS:
 some people are uncomfortable consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade AA eggs with intact shells. Still nervous? If using pasteurized eggs, it will be harder to beat the yolks frothy and especially to beat the whites stiff: for the yolks, you will just need to beat them longer with an electric mixer; as to the whites, you will need to add a touch of cream of  tartar (or lemon juice or white vinegar); about 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar or 3/4 teaspoon lemon for 4 whites. You will also need to use an electric mixer and beat for twice as long as you would with regular egg whites You can buy pre-pasteurized eggs in many stores (test are not the egg-beaters but actual whole eggs, that can be separated at home into whites and yolks); or you can pasteurize them following this method.

* Disclosure: I was not paid for my review of the Philips Saeco espresso machines, apart from being given one Syntia machine to try and review. All comments are my own, honest opinion after my experience with the machine.

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Comments

  1. OMG. This is heaven!

  2. What a beautiful dessert and I bet it tastes heavenly!

  3. Thank you! I’ve been into creamy desserts of late….

  4. My dear, I love the recipe and the picture, which totally looks like it came out of a professional mag: simply perfect! I don’t really like cofee very much (this just goes to show that I’m not 100% Italian…) but this mousse looks delish: I intend to try it soon.
    Will be in touch very soon: when I come to NY we must meet for… well, coffee of course!
    xoxo

    • hahaha: I didn’t use to like coffee either…. I fancied myself a tea person! Two kids later, I couldn’t get out of bed without it. Not only that, I add it to everything, or I would be a walking zombie. Looking forward to seeing you soon (maybe over hot chocolate).

  5. This sounds great! And if you’re gluten intolerant, you can use a Pesach type almond maccaroon

    • yes! Amarettos are also made without flour: they are just lighter and crunchierthan macaroons, and the original ones have a small percentage of bitter almonds (apricot kernels, not available in the US), which gives depth to the flavor. However, they still taste good when made with regular almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios. My friend Silvia posted a great recipe for hazelnut-chocolate ones (yum): http://silviascucina.net/tag/amaretti/

  6. It’s the right time of year for it. This is something I want to try for sure. Is there something you could recommend to replace the ricotta that is dairy free for people with sensitivities?

    • hi Sarah, I’m not into the non-dairy cheese-textured products…yes you could use a non-dairy whipping cream, but I think it’s healthier to go with a different texture and make a pudding using eggs, non-dairy (soy or almond) milk and some corn or potato starch. That’s just me, I find that non-dairy cream is not so natural.

  7. This sounds fantastic! I absolutely love tiramisu, but this looks like an amazing alternative! Thanks for sharing it!

  8. i love the taste od espresso in dessert, i never imagined to add it to fish or pasta, youare so adventurous!

    the dessert looks delicious! especially with the toppings

  9. You turned me onto good quality rictotta, now I have to try adding espresso to it.

  10. Omg Allesandra looks heavenly!!!

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