Hello, hello! It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and a busy few weeks it has been! I’ve been laser-focused on studying for the last (and arguably most comprehensive) of my five PhD qualifying exams – which, thankfully, I passed! – and could hardly find time to cook anything at all, let alone think about new recipes. Then my brother and sister-in-law flew in for a visit a couple of days after my exam, we celebrated the boyfriend and the brother’s birthdays on consecutive days, and then we all drove to western New York to spend time with my dad’s side of the family, where Phoebe impressed everyone with unprecedented levels of athleticism and endurance in the nearby pond. If only she could ride a bicycle, that puppy could probably win a triathlon!
While in New York, we paid a visit to Bittner-Singer Orchards (on the edge of Lake Ontario) to pick cherries (both sweet and tart), now that our supply from last summer is finally dwindling. While I used cherries to top this cheesecake mousse, you can use just about any of your favorite summer fruits – peaches, blueberries, blackberries, etc. I know the instructions for this recipe are about a mile long, but it’s really not a fussy dessert at all – and you can always swap in your favorite store-bought granola if you’re short on time!
This cherry cheesecake mousse is such a lovely dessert for a warm summer evening. The mousse is ethereally light and creamy, the tangy cherries are bursting with juice and a pop of color, and the granola…well, what should I say about the granola? Little pieces of gingersnap cookies add a little spunk to the granola, and I threw in a bit of peanut butter as well, because…have you ever spread peanut butter on a gingersnap? It’s a seeeriously under-rated combo. I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it, because it’s also high addictive (#sorrynotsorry)! These flavors all come together to make a dessert so dreamy that it’s taking some major willpower on my part not to mosey on back to the fridge this very minute to assemble a little evening pick-me-up.
How have the dog days of summer been treating you all?
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, divided
- 1 cup crumbled gingersnap cookies (I use Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups pitted sour cherries, fresh or frozen
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Using an electric mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream at a high speed for several minutes, until soft peaks form. Add the corn syrup and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a separate bowl and set aside.
- Using the mixer, beat the cream cheese at a medium-high speed until soft and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and stir until incorporated. By hand, gently fold half of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Once it is incorporated, fold in the other half. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or transfer to a bowl with a lid) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of oats until they resemble a roughly-ground flour. In a large bowl, combine the ground oats, the remaining oats, and crumbled cookies.
- Stir together the water, brown sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe glass container and microwave until boiling (the time will vary by microwave, but mine takes about 1 1/2 minutes). Stir in the vanilla extract, and pour into the oat mixture.
- Microwave the peanut butter until it becomes liquid-y (again, the time will vary, but it took me about 25 seconds). Pour into the oat mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated. Spread the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet (you do not need to grease or line the baking sheet). Using a strip of wax or parchment paper between your hands and the granola, press down lightly (this will help it form clusters).
- Bake for 50 minutes or until lightly browned. Halfway through the baking time, flip the granola over with a spatula and rotate the pan. As soon as the granola is finished, loosen it from the baking sheet and let cool.
- While the granola is baking, prepare the cherry pie filling. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, and cherries. If you are using frozen cherries, you do not need to thaw these ahead of time.
- Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until the sugar and cornstarch have turned translucent and small bubbles are forming in the liquid. Continue cooking for several minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Let the filling cool before adding it to the mousse.
- To serve, place granola at the bottom of each bowl or glass, then top with mousse and cherries.
- I use Greek yogurt cream cheese (from Kroger), but regular cream cheese is also fine.
- The peanut butter flavor is not super prominent in the granola, so feel free to substitute your favorite nut butter (or perhaps even Nutella, if you’re feeling decadent!).
- To save time, you can use store-bought granola and/or pie filling. If you can’t find sour cherries, I imagine that strawberries or sweet cherries would be a delicious alternative (you probably won’t need as much sugar, though, since both of these are naturally sweeter). For a healthier option, just top the mousse with fresh fruit.
- The cherry pie filling and granola can be made ahead, but I recommend making the cheesecake mousse the day you plan to serve it.
- If you’re making the granola to use separate from the mousse, it is best paired with yogurt rather than milk, because the gingersnap cookie pieces become soggy fairly quickly in milk.
- Cheesecake mousse recipe adapted from Cooking Classy
- Pie filling recipe adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
That looks soooo yummy! I am addicted to Walmart’s Berry Cherry Blend–a mix of frozen fruits, but I just buy it to pick out all of the tart cherries! I can’t get enough of them and that’s the only way I can find them to buy!
Thanks! I haven’t tried that particular blend, but I agree – it can be tough to come by tart cherries!
June @ How to Philosophize with Cake says
Those look like some delicious parfaits! The gingersnap granola sounds amazing 🙂
Thanks! You can’t go wrong when adding cookies to granola 🙂
Kami B says
It sounds like I could eat that ginger snap granola all by itself by the handful! Seems like I’ll be making that soon to top my yogurt. 🙂
Now that our cheesecake mousse is all gone, I’ll be using the granola to go with yogurt too! I hope you get a chance to try it 🙂
Rachel and Dawn says
These look delicious! Dawn x
Thanks! I’m glad they caught your eye!
This recipe sounds delicious, and the result looks beautiful! Love the pics of Phoebe:))
Thank you! And I’m glad you liked the Phoebe pictures – I just couldn’t resist including them! She’s completely in her element at the pond 🙂
oooh this looks absolutely lovely!! i’d love to try it! thanks for the recipe 🙂
looking forward to seeing more from you! 🙂
Thanks, Jade! I hope you get a chance to try it. Let me know what you think if you do!
chef mimi says
What fun. Why such a small serving?!!! Your cherries look absolutely luminous.
The mousse is rich enough that I was content with a small serving. Plus, I didn’t want to have to break out the cake pants 😉
chef mimi says
hahahahahaha! (I understand)
I’m glad you had time to write a post again – this one looks absolutely delicious. Parfaits are one of my favorite snacks and you can’t go wrong throwing a cheesecake mousse in there as well!
p.s. Look at Phoebe run! That puppy is sure cute.
Thanks! I agree…can’t go wrong with adding cheesecake mousse! I also agree that Phoebe is super cute 🙂
FIVE PhD exams?! I am so impressed. I can hardly handle the thought of just one. These cheesecake mousse are just fabulous! A mix between a parfait and a decadent dessert…best of both worlds.
Haha yes, five qualifying exams! Luckily, my program is flexible about taking them at various times and not all at once…but still! I’m glad these parfaits caught your eye 🙂
Good luck with the PhD exams! I’ve been there, so I know what you are going through. However, I think this cherry cheesecake mousse would help me get through those exams…just sayin’. And the gingersnap granola? Wow, what a creative idea!! This flavor combo sounds right up my alley!
Cherry cheesecake mousse does sound like an excellent coping strategy for exams, doesn’t it?! Thanks – I’m all done with the 5 qualifying exams, now I just have 1 (of 3) preliminary exams standing between me achieving candidacy. I’d better load up on mousse ingredients for the final push…
Oh, good, a cherry recipe! I still have tons from when I went picking. Good luck with the exams! Now, do I have to call you Dr. CakePants after you graduate? 😀
You were actually the one who alerted me that it was already cherry season – I had been too busy studying to realize it, so thank you! Gosh, Dr. CakePants does have a nice ring to it, huh? Don’t worry, I’ve still got the dissertation, so it’ll be a while 😉
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
I am with you I just love cherries. I had two trees growing up and miss those fresh pies! Your cheesecake mousse is so pretty and looks delicious!
Thank you! That must have been so nice to have cherry trees!
Iiiiii am putting on my cake pants as we speak, so I can have as much of this deletable mousee/granola as I want to. Wowee. Happy FF 😉
Excellent! Wait for me – I’ll grab my cake pants and join you!!
This looks absolutely delicious!
Thank you! Have a great weekend.
Gorgeous cherry cheesecake and granola! Your shot of jewel like cherries on the tree is picture perfect!
Thanks! It was a bit tough to take pictures in the cherry orchard since it was so sunny – I’m glad you like the photo 🙂
Hey from one cheesecake lover to another, what a perfect and delicious looking single serving dessert. Btw I’ve never thought of eating gingersnap cookies with peanut butter – thanks for the idea:)
Thanks! And yes, the next time you’ve got gingersnaps, definitely try one with peanut butter!!
Your dessert looks delicious – love all the layers! 🙂
Thank you! I’m glad it caught your eye 🙂
Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake says
These look so yummy, I’m jealous of your cherry picking fun too!
Congrats on passing your exams! 😀
Thanks, Michelle! Cherry picking is one of my favorite summertime activities. I wish more people could experience it, though – it’s such a regionalized thing!
I Say Nomato (@ISayNomato) says
Congrats on your exams! Yayyyy! And these look so cute. I love the addition of the gingersnap, it sounds completely mouthwatering. I’ll have to make these!
Thanks!! I love the bits of gingersnap in the granola, but I have to admit that the granola is better suited for cheesecake mousse (or yogurt) than for milk, since the cookie pieces get soggy too quickly in milk. I hope you get a chance to make these!
Just gorgeous, love everything about it 🙂
Thanks so much! And thanks for stopping by 🙂
Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says
Mmm cheesecake mousse has my name written all over it.. Love the granola bottom.
You and me both! I just remembered that I have extra cream cheese in the fridge…more mousse, coming up!
That looks so good! Thanks for sharing!
Lu | Super Nummy says
Awww, love these pics of Phoebe, and so jealous of your cherry supply! These cheesecake mousse cups look bomb.
Having fresh sweet and tart cherries is definitely one of the perks of living in Michigan, and something I’m sure I’ll miss once I move! I’m glad you enjoyed the Phoebe pictures. They always bring a smile to my face 🙂