Welcome to my new favorite dessert that I can’t stop spooning into my face.
It’s the lemon, I swear. So bright + fresh + addicting. Oh, and it’s the coconut milk. So creamy + thick.
Combine the two and you get a light and refreshing dessert that is going to be your new best friend. And it’s pretty much a cinch to throw together, double or triple in quantity, and serve to a crowd.
Every 4th of July growing up was always spent at my grandparents’ house. When we were still living in Michigan I’m pretty sure we made the trek to Ohio every summer. Also because my birthday is on the 3rd. Double celebration!
My grandparents made a big to-do about the 4th of July. The extended family would come over and my grandpa would tend to the ribs on the grill all day long. I remember waiting with anticipation just to get a little taste and then devouring as many as I could right alongside all of the typical cookout sides + desserts.
The neighbor across the street would go ALL OUT with fireworks, landing him in the back of a cop car a few times promising to not set anymore off. And then of course the show would continue. We would line up the lawn chairs on the driveway and then move into the garage after the inevitable firework took a sharp right turn whizzing by a little too close for comfort. I remember throwing a million of those little snappy popper things [uhh, what were they called?] at the ground and twirling around sparkler after sparkler.
4th of July was pretty much the highlight of the summer.
Even though I’m not chowing down on ribs for the 4th anymore and sadly cannot spend the day with my grandparents, it’s still a day I look forward to each summer, cherishing old memories and creating new ones.
I feel like good memories and traditions somehow always relate back to food. Good food shared with family and friends.
Because, really, what more do you need?
Lemon Cheesecake Mousse with Berries & Candied Almonds
gluten-free, vegan // yields 4 servings
- 1, 13.5oz can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- 1/4-1/3 cup brown rice syrup, or coconut nectar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest from 1 1/2 lemons
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- fresh berries
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, melted
- 2-3 teaspoons muscovado sugar, or coconut sugar/sucanat/pure cane sugar
For the mousse: Scrape all of the solid contents from the top of the coconut milk can and place in a mixing bowl just until you hit liquid [about 2/3 the way down]. With a whisk attachment beat on med-high speed for about 1 minute. Add in the brown rice syrup, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and beat again for another 1 minute. Scrape the bowl and the lemon zest off the whisk attachment and beat again for about 30 seconds. The mixture will be thick with soft peaks. Taste and beat in more sweetener if desired.
Place in a sealed container in the fridge to chill and thicken for at least 3 hours or overnight. Can be made 1 day ahead.
For the almonds: Preheat your oven to 350* F. Place almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet and toss with melted coconut oil and the sugar. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Toast until just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool fully. Store in a sealed container in the fridge once cooled.
Stir the mousse then scoop portions into small dessert cups [or shot glasses for bite-sized servings] and layer with fresh berries and candied almonds. Serve immediately. Mousse will stay good in the fridge for about 3 days.
Notes: For an extra boost of lemon flavor you can add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon lemon extract if desired. Do not use low-fat coconut milk or crystallized sugar in the mousse mixture. Honey will work if you don’t need it to be vegan but I do not recommend maple syrup.
What are you cooking up this weekend? Any yearly traditions?