Layered Orange Mousse Cups

Mini Mandarin Orange Trifles | Pinky's Pantry
I always toss oranges into a salad or peel and eat them plain. Why? I have no idea. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, I finally decided it was time to stop the insanity and actually achieve a different result. An orange DESSERT was in order!
Mini Mandarin Orange Trifles | Pinky's Pantry
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any oranges on hand! But I did have canned mandarin oranges in the pantry so decided to use them for my dessert. They turned out just fine. The really nice thing about canned mandarin oranges is they’re very uniform in size with almost no broken segments. Best of all, opening a can is way easier than peeling a bunch of oranges and separating the segments yourself. This dessert is best made the day before you plan to serve it because of the time needed to chill the different layers.
Mini Mandarin Orange Trifles | Pinky's Pantry

LAYERED ORANGE MOUSSE CUPS

  • 1 loaf pound cake (ready-made or you can bake your own)
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) Jell-O orange gelatin
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 3 cans (11 oz. each) mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup juice from cans of mandarin oranges
  • 1 tub (16 oz.) cool whip, thawed
  • 12 clear glass ramekins
  1. Place cans of mandarin oranges in refrigerator to chill while you work with the cake.
  2. Slice pound cake into twelve ½-inch thick slices.
  3. Using one of your ramekins or a round cookie cutter, cut a cake circle the same diameter as your ramekins from each slice of cake. Depending on how large your ramekins are, you may only be able to get one whole circle per slice of cake.
  4. Press a cake circle into the bottom of each ramekin. Feel free to patch together cake pieces if you can’t get a whole cake circle from one slice of pound cake.
  5. In a large bowl, stir jello and boiling water together for 2 minutes until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  6. Open cans of mandarin oranges and drain juice into a 1-cup measuring cup.
  7. Stir chilled juice into hot gelatin.
  8. Refrigerate gelatin for 40 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  9. Remove from refrigerator and whisk in 4 cups cool whip until well blended.
  10. Divide orange mousse evenly over cake in ramekins.
  11. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
  12. Top each with a layer of plain cool whip.
  13. Decorate top with orange slices. I arranged 3 mandarin slices to look like a flower.
  14. Return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

Mini Lemon Mousse and Berry Trifles with Puff Pastry Stars

Lemon Mousse and Berry Trifles | Pinky's Pantry
I wanted to come up with a new red-white-and-blue dessert for our 4th of July Barbecue this year and thought it would be nice to make individual little trifles. My daughter, Bashful, helped me with these. She’s becoming quite the little sous chef.

These trifles are easy to make because there’s very little baking involved which is perfect for this hot summer weather. I did bake the graham cracker crust, though if you don’t feel like baking it, you could very easily use the crust unbaked. If you want to decorate the trifles with puff pastry stars like I did, those don’t require much more than 10 minutes of baking time either.

I made these in little shot glasses, but you could use little mason jars, small disposable clear plastic cups, or any other small, clear containers you have that would show the red, white and blue layers. If your strawberries aren’t very sweet, sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar before assembling. Also, depending on how many mini trifles you’re making, you could end up with extra graham cracker crust. I just use it to make a pie.
Lemon Mousse and Berry Trifles | Pinky's Pantry

MINI LEMON MOUSSE AND BERRY TRIFLES

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ jar purchased lemon curd (or you could make your own)
  • fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into the size of blueberries
  • fresh blueberries

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUMB CRUST

For a baked crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. With a fork, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar together.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom of a baking pan.
  4. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until crust begins to brown at the edges.
  5. Set aside to cool completely.

For a no-bake crust:

  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar together with a fork.
  2. Place about a tablespoon of mixture into bottom of each shot glass and press down with the handle of a wooden spoon.
  3. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

LEMON MOUSSE

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add 1/3 of a jar of lemon curd and continue to beat until well-combined.
  3. Taste the mousse and see how you like it. If you want it more lemony, beat in more lemon curd, a tablespoon at a time, until it tastes the way you want it.

TO ASSEMBLE THE MINI TRIFLES

  1. Take the baked and cooled graham cracker crust and crumble it up with a fork. If you’re doing the no-bake crust, you can skip this step.
  2. Place about a tablespoon of crumbled graham cracker crust into the bottom of your shot glass and press it flat with the handle of a wooden spoon.
  3. Place lemon mousse into a piping bag and pipe a layer of mousse over the crust.
  4. Sprinkle some blueberries over the lemon mousse.
  5. Pipe another layer of lemon mousse over the blueberries.
  6. Sprinkle chopped strawberries over the lemon mousse.
  7. Pipe a little dollop of lemon mousse right on top.
  8. If desired, decorate each trifle with a puff pastry star (recipe follows).

Puff Pastry Stars | Pinky's Pantry

PUFF PASTRY STARS

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • pearl white sparkling sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Cut out stars from puff pastry sheet using a star cookie cutter.
  3. Transfer pastry stars to a non-stick cookie sheet.
  4. Brush each star with a little melted butter.
  5. Sprinkle top of each star with sparkling sugar.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
  7. Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

NOTE:  I also bake the little scraps of leftover puff pastry dough. After cutting out the stars, I take the little leftover scraps and lay them on another cookie sheet. Brush the scraps with melted butter and sprinkle regular sugar on them, then bake them together with the stars. Hand them out to the kids to snack on and voila! Nothing wasted at my house!

Shrimp Mousse

Shrimp Mousse | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old recipe of my Mom’s. She made it all the time for get-togethers or when we were expecting company. It’s very addictive and you’ll find yourself heading back to the appetizer table again and again for just a little bit more.

It always reminds me of my mother-in-law whom I miss terribly. She absolutely loved this mousse! When the party was over, you just knew any leftover shrimp mousse was hers. She would spread it on toast and eat shrimp mousse sandwiches for breakfast, lunch or a snack the next day. I have to say, I picked up that habit from her and on the rare occasion that we actually have leftover shrimp mousse, I find myself having a shrimp mousse sandwich for lunch the day after.

SHRIMP MOUSSE

  • 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 box (8 ozs.) cream cheese
  • 1 can Campbell’s cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lb. cooked small shrimp, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk green onion, green and white part, finely minced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely minced (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the Knox gelatin in 2 tbsp. cold water and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream cheese and celery soup over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat, add in the gelatin, and stir until well-blended.
  4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Pour into an oiled mold and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm.
  6. Unmold and serve with crackers.

NOTE:  You can easily turn this into “Crab Mousse” by substituting 1 pound crabmeat for the shrimp. I’ve also made it into “Seafood Mousse” by making it with ½ lb. shrimp and ½ lb. crab.