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Black Forest Kirschen (Cherry) Mousse

We had this dessert in a restaurant in the Black Forest area of Germany.
I loved the presentation and decided to try making it at home.

Personal note:
This looks complicated to make but most of the work is in the presentation.
I was making the dessert for friends who'd been in Germany with us and I wanted it to be as close to the the real thing as possible. It was fun to make and I will make it again
- perhaps for a dinner party or special celebration.
Alternately, you could spoon the mousse into dessert bowls or parfait glasses and top with a few cherries, whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
It certainly would be easier and would still make an attractive dessert.

Here's the recipe I came up with:

For the mousse: ( I doubled this recipe to serve 20)
  • 1 100 gram bar of good white chocolate (I used Lindt)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 package gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 package ( 4 ounces or 125 grams) cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon Kirsch (you can buy this at the liquor store)*
  • 1 tablespoon Maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablspoons sugar
  • prepared sour cherries (see below)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate, divided
*You could make this without the Kirsch, using a bit more cherry juice but if you want the authentic Black Forest dessert - you need to use the Kirsch.
Kirsch is also used in the famous Black Forest Cake.

For the Cherries:

You will need 4-6 cups sour cherries if you are surrounding the mousse with them, fewer if you use them as a topping. You can buy these already canned or, as I did, use frozen sour cherries. If using frozen, cook them using a 1-3 sugar syrup and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with a bit of cold water. Cook until the liquid turns clear. You don't want the cherry juice thick, so don't use too much cornstarch. When the cherries are cool, add 2 or more tablespoons of Kirsch to the juice and refrigerate for several hours.

Directions for making the Mousse:
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate in milk. Set aside
  2. In another small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and heat over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly before combining with milk/chocolate mixture.
  3. Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth. Add Kirsch and Maraschino cherry juice and beat until well blended.
  4. Slowly mix chocolate/gelatin mixture into cream cheese mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy and add sugar a little at a time. Beat until glossy peaks are formed .
  6. Fold egg whites into cream cheese/chocolate mixture.
  7. Whip cream and fold into mousse.
  8. Fold in 1/4 cup of the chopped dark chocolate.
  9. Spoon mixture into parfait dishes  top with cherries, a whipped cream rosette and a bit of shaved chocolate.
  10. OR for the fancier presentation, fill prepared tubes (see photos and instructions below) 
  11. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

The hardest part of duplicating the presentation was trying to figure out how to form the mousse into a tube shaped "tower".
Apparently a person can buy special molds for this, however, there were none to be had in our town.
After a bit of brainstorming at a local cake supply shop,
this is what I came up with.

At the cake supply shop, I bought a silicone mat used to roll fondant on. 
Any thin mat with a slippery surface would work as well. 
I cut it into 4 10 inch squares.

Then I went to my local building supply store and bought a length of 2 inch white PVC pipe. 
I was serving this to 19 people so my husband cut it into 5 9 1/2" pieces for me. 
Each pipe needs to be 1/2" shorter than the liner you put into it. 
I ended up using a piece of parchment paper to line the 5th tube which did not work quite as well as the fondant mat. After washing and drying the pipe lengths, I taped a square of waxed paper at one end and rolled each mat to fit snugly inside each pipe. 1/2" of the mat should be sticking out of the pipe. This will aid in removing the mousse from the pipes.

After making the mousse (the recipe follows) I filled each pipe, tapping the bottom of the pipe on the counter two or three times to make sure there were no pockets of air between the spoonfuls. I then topped each with a square of waxed paper pressed lightly on to the mousse.

As you can see, I stood each pipe on end in a plastic cup 
and then refrigerated the mousse for 4 hours or so.

After the mousse firmed up and just before serving, I slid the mat out of the pipe and carefully unrolled it, using a bench scraper or spatula to remove the mousse "tower" from the mat. 
I then cut each into 4 2 1/4 inch lengths.

Standing each tower in the centre of a shallow soup or salad bowl we spooned the cherries and their juice around the mousse. 
Finally we piped whipped cream on the top and sprinkled the mousse and cherries with shavings of dark chocolate.
All the work was worth it - everyone loved it and were delighted to see this memorable dessert recreated.


  1. This sounds delicious. It would probably be stiff enough to pipe out of a bag with a star tip and hold its shape in a pretty swirl in a dessert dish, maybe?

  2. That's something I never thought of. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. You did a great job of making the mousse. I will have to think if all the work is worth trying this dessert.

  4. Thanks so much for this detailed/well explained recipe. I'm now looking on my calender for a hosting oppertunity , to serve this :>)

  5. wow ~ i'm impressed, not sure if i would have the nerve to give it a try

  6. I'm game for any thing German, this looks and sounds good.

  7. ach du liebe, can i make such a
    beautiful dessert bev, sounds very delish.

  8. This sounds glorious! I am not sure how brave I will be, but am hoping to try it.


  9. What a fun dessert. I love the presentation...

  10. bev.....what is the 1-3 sugar syrup ratio........1 cup sugar to 3 cups water or the other way around?

  11. This looks good.I think I would just serve it in dishes,you know the simple family way.:)

  12. How elegant! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Yes, Char, it's 1 sugar to 3 water. I realize this recipe looks very complicated. However I hope it doesn't discourage any of you from making this. The mousse is simple to prepare and serving it in a bowl with cherries on top doesn't change the flavour. It's good no matter how it's presented.

  14. We've been making a lot of mousse lately as my husband is searching for the perfect recipe to feed a small banquet - I'll have to pass this one on to him.

  15. Bev, this looks wonderful! I had cherry jubilee on the cruise for the first time and this reminded me of it. I like the idea of serving it in stemware... although it looks beautiful how you did it.

  16. This not only looks delicious, but it looks like a lot of fun to make (especially with your tips). This would be fantastic for any special occassion or the holidays.

  17. Spectacular! A must try when I want something special. Kathy


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