Parmesan Cheese Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse

Parmesan Cheese Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse
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crisps with goat cheese mousse

Since this is the first week that we picked up fresh goat cheese from the CSA, we knew we had to do something special with it. We had several weeks to think about it (we generally know about the coming of the cheese three to four weeks in advance), and, during that time, we checked out of the library The French Laundry Cookbook, by Thomas Keller. Naturally, once we saw this recipe, we knew what we’d be making with the first goat cheese of 2014.

These sound as if they’d be difficult, but we can tell you they are not. We’d made and shaped the Parmesan cheese crisps before we went to pick up our CSA share, planning to make the mousse when we got back. Well, things went a little awry — not in making the mousse — but in our trip to the CSA. We’d stopped at the public library to pick up a few items we had on reserve, but, on the way out, we noticed a flat tire (drat!), so we changed it, and headed off to get the tire repaired. After that, we stopped at the CSA to pick up our food, and then, finally, headed home, later, and hungrier than expected. Sure, we could have just eaten the already-prepared crisps as a snack, and then started dinner, but we went through with our plans. As it turns out, making the mousse is a five-minute job, and oh, so worth it.

Parmesan Cheese Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse

Yield: 8 crisps

Parmesan Cheese Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse


    For the crisps
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • For the mousse
  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 2-3 Tbs heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp dried chervil (or parsley)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Abbreviated Instructions

For the crisps

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

Place a 2 1/2 inch ring on the baking sheet and place 1 tablespoon of Parmesan inside. Use your fingers to spread the cheese evenly. Repeat to make eight cheese circles about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let sit for 1 minute to firm, then transfer to a mini-muffin pan and press to form a bowl shape. Let cool completely, then transfer to a plate covered with a paper towel.

For the mousse

Place the goat cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to break up the cheese.

Add 2 tablespoons of cream and process until smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds. If needed, add a bit more cream.

Add chervil, salt, and pepper, scrape down sides of the bowl, and pulse to combine.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe 1-2 tablespoons of mousse into each cup.

Serve immediately.

Ingredient discussion:

If you don’t have chervil, use another mild herb such as parsley or even basil. You just want a bit of flavor in addition to the flavors from the cheeses. Since cheese is the main ingredient, use the best you can afford. Note that you aren’t using much cheese, so think about splurging. But, if possible, try the goat cheese before you buy, as some fresh goat cheeses are quite “goaty,” which, to our taste, is not good. If you don’t like the goat cheese you bought, you won’t like these crisps.

Procedure in detail:

For the crisps.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

shaping cheese circles
If you can’t find something that will work as a form, you can always shape the circles by hand. They may not be perfect, but no one will know.

Make cheese circles. Use something about 2 1/2 inches in diameter as a form for making the cheese circles. It could be a can with the top and bottom cut off, or a plastic lid with a circle cut out, or a biscuit cutter, or something else. We used a narrow-mouth ring from a canning jar. Place your circular form on the baking mat and put 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese inside. Spread the cheese out to an even layer with your fingers, then repeat until you have eight cheese circles, each about an inch apart.

cheese circles
We can fit eight cheese circles on a baking sheet.

Bake. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, watching carefully near the end, until the cheese is bubbling and has turned golden brown.

Cool. When the crisps first come out of the oven they’ll be too soft to move, so let them stand for 1 minute, but not longer, to stiffen up a bit.

cheese crisps
We used a mini-muffin tin to shape our cups. A clean egg carton would work, too. You just need something you can fit all eight crisps into while they cool.

Shape. Transfer each cheese crisp to a mini-muffin pan and press down into a cup, forming a small bowl. If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, a clean egg carton will do. Let cool completely.

cheese crisps
While baking, the cheese will release a lot of oil, so drain the crisps on paper towels.

Drain. Once cool and crisp, place the cheese crisps on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain off excess oil.

For the mousse.

goat cheese crumbles
Pulse a couple of times to break up the goat cheese.

Crumble. Place the goat cheese into the bowl of a food processor and give it a few pulses to break it into small crumbles.

adding cream
Just a bit of heavy cream will transform the cheese from crumbles to a mousse.

Add cream. Add 2 tablespoons of cream and process mixture until smooth and creamy. The cheese should still be stiff enough to hold its shape, but creamy enough that it would be easy to spread, or in this case, pipe. If needed, add a bit more cream.

adding seasonings
Add the seasonings, scrape down, and pulse a couple of times to combine.

Season. Add the chervil, salt, and pepper. Scrape down the bowl and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.

filling a piping bag
Placing the tip of a piping bag into a measuring cup and folding the bag over the rim makes a nice “third hand” for filling piping bags.

Pipe. Transfer the mousse to a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip. An easy way to fill a piping bag is to place it into a measuring cup, fold the opening over the top, and scoop in the cheese. A dough scraper can be used to push the mousse toward the tip of the bag. (We also use disposable piping bags to make cleanup super easy.) Pipe about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mousse into each cup, trying for a nice-looking presentation.

crisps with goat cheese mousse

Serve immediately.

Wow! So simple, yet so fancy, but, best of all, so tasty. The Parmesan crisps are full of strong aged cheese flavors with a lot of complexity, while the goat cheese is light, fluffy, and tangy, making for a delightful contrast. While we used chervil, we think these would be good with other herbs, too, so you could easily pair the flavors to the rest of you meal. Whether that pairing would be to compliment the other flavors (think a light sage flavored mousse with Thanksgiving dinner), or as a contrast (think rosemary flavored mousse to stand out against a mild dish such as a quiche), you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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