You can decide how plain or rich you want this mousse to be by making it with cream cheese and double cream for extra richness, with sieved and blended cottage cheese and fromage frais for a low-fat version, with curd cheese and thick yoghurt for a medium-fat version or any combination of your choice. The consistency, however arrived at, should be that of thick cream or yoghurt, that is a coating consistency. You need pierced moulds to hold the mixture.
Put the cream in a saucepan with the vanilla pod and 1
Make a syrup by heating the red wine with the rest of the sugar, the cinnamon and black pepper until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for a few minutes, then allow to cool. Sort the strawberries into three batches, discarding any rotten ones. The softest but still sound ones should be hulled and made into a purée. The larger firm ones should be hulled, sliced and marinated in the red wine syrup, and the small firm ones should be reserved with as much of their stem as possible to serve whole.
To assemble the dish, turn out the mousses on to dessert plates. Pour a little vanilla cream sauce over one side of the plate, and some strawberry coulis on the other. Decorate with fresh strawberries.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.