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Fontainebleau: Faisselle Mousse With Fresh Berries


My parents flew back to France yesterday and everyone in the house woke up a little different. Even the pups who kept going up and down the stairs looking for them. We made coffee, went on the back deck and sat in silence. Heard the clap of the oysters around us. Something my mom would have inquired about. Something my father would have turned into a story.

We had a wonderful time together. It always takes a few days for everyone to find their marks and settle into a groove. That’s a given. Each of us has a different schedules, different responsibilities and timing. We all have one thing in common though: we like food. More importantly, we like everything about it.


We like to head out early to the farmers market and get our groceries for the week. We like to prepare it, chop it, cook it, grill it, all the while catching up about the rest of the family news. We like to sit down and share a meal together where we have put forth the textures, scents and flavors of the foods we made.

By doing do, we pay homage to the people who cared to grow it and the people who taught us how to love it and share it with friends and family. So even if my parents and I need a little adjusting at first, we know we always have meals to come together around something we all understand and appreciate.


I was happy to make some time to truly enjoy my parents' visit, after the last few months of a frantic schedule. It’s sometimes difficult to explain that time spent on the computer writing proposals and looking over shooting schedules is not time spent noodling around. That’s a generation thing. That’s part of sharing space and time for a few weeks. It requires patience and understanding from everyone.

Cooking and baking also requires patience and understanding, reinforcing this idea of a common ground for everyone to share.


Nothing is truer in my opinion than when making fresh cheese, yogurt or fromage blanc. Anything with live cultures (bread too) has a wonderful way to show us how to slow down a bit and enjoy the process, the evolution and transformation of what we make.

Everytime my parents are here, I make faisselle for my dad. I often try to describe it properly but it is truly one of those dairy products that is unique. Not yogurt, not fromage blanc, not cottage cheese. Faisselle refers to both the fresh cheese made as well as the container used to make it. The molds have lots of tiny holes in which the milk mixture is placed to drain as much whey as desired. Some people like their faisselle drier than others so the container allows you to control how much moisture to keep.


The making process of faisselle is really darn easy and can be made with either cow or goat milk, a few drops of rennet, and a bit of fromage blanc or Greek yogurt for more live cultures. That’s it! Once mixed, I let it do its thing overnight and we wake up to wonderful big curds of faisselle. So far I have not tried with non-dairy milk but if you do let me know how it turned out.

Some people like it at the end of the meal with some salt, pepper and freshly chopped chives, some appreciate it with some brown sugar or a touch of honey. With us, it all depends on our mood. Sometimes we drain the heck out of it and end up with something very close to fresh crumbly cheese. Sometimes we’ll just grab a bigger spoon and eat as moist as possible.


Sometimes, I sneak around and put some faisselle aside to make something special like these little jars of Fontainebleau, a mousse made with faisselle, whipped cream and fresh berries. It is really the kind of dessert we enjoy all year long by letting the seasons guide our choice of fruit. Caramelized pear or bananas easily replace fresh berries during the winter months and fresh figs with a touch of honey make a perfect topping in the deep of summer.

We went strawberry picking one day with my parents and even after jamming 16 pounds worth of berries, we still had extras that we used in the Fontainebleau along with some freshly picked raspberries from a friend’s garden. Feel free to use any fruit, berries or addition that strike your fancy. Crumbled shortbread on top is darn good too…!

By the way, these are also fantastic frozen, poured in shot glasses or lollipop molds. Trust me…



Makes 6 to 8

Notes: when our farmers market is open (April through December) I will use raw goat’s or cow’s milk. The rest of the time, I use whole, non homogenized, organic milk. I use liquid vegetarian rennet by habit but tablets work just as well.


For the (fresh cheese) faisselle:
8 drops liquid rennet
1 quart whole milk ( 4 cups – 946ml)(I like to use raw when I can but that is up to your own preference) (goat or cow)
100 gr Greek yogurt or fromage blanc (a little over 3 oz)

Remaining ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to medium stiff peaks
1 to 2 cups fresh berries

Place the rennet in a clean glass or ceramic large bowl. In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk and Greek yogurt and bring the mixture to 85F. Remove from the heat and slowly pour over the rennet. Do not stir. Let cool, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit undisturbed for 4 hours. Place in the refrigerator and let sit overnight to develop more taste.

The next day, take out about 2 cups of the faisselle and drain in a cheesecloth over a pan or the sink (attached to the faucet works great) until most of the liquid is gone (takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours). When ready to use, slowly fold in the whipped cream and divide in jars by layering the mousse and the berries. You can also, mix the berries as you mix the faisselle and whipped cream. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

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Unknown June 4, 2011 um 12:17 am

I just love learning and eating french food. I have never heard of this one. I am very curious to try it out. Enjoyed reading about your Santa Fe workshop!! How I would LOVE something like that.

showfoodchef June 4, 2011 um 12:22 am

Helene, what a beautiful post – I could feel the love of the food and of family all through this. I really understand about the rhythms, too. The same happens when I visit my mom at home. I've never made this (or used rennet), but I've wanted to, so thank you for such a clear post – I'll try it this weekend. So happy for your time with parents.

claypotclub June 4, 2011 um 12:55 am

Thanks for the story and the recipe. I've tried to keep up with making Caspian Sea Yogurt, but I just don't eat enough yogurt to keep making it.

Although I've never thought of freezing a dairy product into pops, even though that's all ice cream really is.

16 lbs of strawberries! I thought I liked berries.

Nisrine June 4, 2011 um 1:43 am

Sending you a hug because I know how it feels when you have to say goodbye to loved ones. Time spent with family is to be truly treasured. Food is a great way to celebrate such moments. Beautiful dessert btw. The blue in the background is very pretty and gives a nice contrast against food.

Donaji June 4, 2011 um 1:49 am

This looks really good!
I have a question, if I have only rennet in tablets do you know how much is needed?

Helene June 4, 2011 um 2:03 am

Donaji: I would read the instructions on the packet and go by what the manufacturers advise about the quantity of tablets with the total quantity of liquid.

Averie June 4, 2011 um 2:33 am

What a fabulous post, Helene!

I make my own homemade coconut milk (vegan) kefir, and I make my own komboucha and I like making pickles. Fermentation is my friend 🙂

This is soo true too
"Anything with live cultures (bread too) has a wonderful way to show us how to slow down a bit and enjoy the process, the evolution and transformation of what we make."

YES! You hit the nail on the head. And what glorious photos, recipe sharing, and life story sharing. thank you!

Alyson June 4, 2011 um 4:15 am

Yum! I'd love to try this with sheep's milk.

The InTolerant Chef ™ June 4, 2011 um 11:08 am

So nice sounding. I make my own yoghurt and today I bought a kit to make camembert, this is obviously the next step!

MĂ©ly du Chaudron Pastel June 4, 2011 um 11:11 am

De la faisselle maison !
Je n'en ai jamais fait.
Je fais moi-même mon cottage maison (au lait de chère : un vrai délice !) que je tartine sur du pain bio maison aussi (au sarrasin, ou au petit épeautre).

Tes photos sont sublimes 🙂
Je t'en aurai bien chipĂ© une cuillère (ou une louche tiens ! ^^), avec une poignĂ©e de framboise…
Yummy ! Homemade faisselle !
I never made some.
I do my homemade cottage cheese (with goat milk : so good) which I like to eat with some fresh organic homemade bread (flour of sarrasin or petit Ă©peautre).

Your pictures are beautiful 🙂
I wish I could take a spoon of it (a big one !), with some raspberries 🙂

christelle is flabbergasting June 4, 2011 um 2:08 pm

La faisselle me rappelle mon enfance ! J'adore la texture. Et ce matin, je vais aller chercher ton livre qui est enfin arrivé à la poste. Joie ! 🙂

PĂ©tra June 4, 2011 um 3:12 pm

I would love to try making this it looks/sounds so yummy. It takes me back to breakfast in France! PĂ©tra

Gen June 4, 2011 um 3:47 pm

Les plaisirs simples et partagés en famille sont les meilleurs! Je fais mes yaourts mais n'ai en jamais testé la faisselle. En tout cas, le goût est vraiment unique et j'aime beaucoup ce dessert tout doux.

carol June 4, 2011 um 4:46 pm

you're food always look so appetizing…..if only I could grab and eat it right away. I like your new profile photo, you're pretty cute!

Anonymous June 4, 2011 um 10:17 pm

Your food photography is absolutely amazing.
I can't wait to try this recipe – it's perfect for the summer.

Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker June 5, 2011 um 6:29 am

16 pounds of strawberries is a lot of work; I'm glad you had help! It is almost midnight and I have been cutting tiny nectarines until just a moment ago (I picked at someone's house who had not thinned them at all; I can fit 5 in one hand!).

I love cheese. Love love love it! I miss the entire grocery store aisle of cheese that I used to see in France.

One day I hope to live somewhere that I can have cows; I have already told my husband that I fully intend to make several cheeses (and I'll be buying a commercial ice cream maker!)

Lylah Ledner June 5, 2011 um 1:02 pm

I'm in love with your blog! Your way in writing truly draws and of course your pictures are amazing….

…..and your recipes are fabulous! I am an urban farm in the Phoenix valley – raising a small herd of dairy goats and among the seasonal produce we grow for our farmers' market at our own farm – i have a lovely strawberry patch that is begging for jams and now this recipe. Can't wait to make it.

Thanks….xo lylah

Medifast Coupons June 5, 2011 um 2:04 pm

This looks lovely, can't wait to try my hand. Thanks for sharing.

James B June 5, 2011 um 2:14 pm

Never heard of faisselle before – sounds amazing!

Shelby June 5, 2011 um 4:16 pm

The first time I've heard about Faisselle…Looks delicious, I can't wait to give it a try!
Thank you!

Torviewtoronto June 6, 2011 um 2:25 am

beautifully presented seasonal and fresh looking dessert

Michelle Stiles June 6, 2011 um 4:01 pm

I love the bright blue background! So fun.

Tahlia June 6, 2011 um 4:19 pm

All I can say is THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I spent a lot of time in Aups last summer (in the Var, Provence). I had the great honor of getting to know a wonderful woman who makes cheese and faiselle. I ate it everyday with her homemade apricot preserves and my mouth literally starts to water every time I miss it (which is just about everyday). I've been dying to find a recipe for it. Since hers is made at her farm it was a bit difficult to translate to small batch. I am beyond happy and I will be trying this this week!

heather {WhipperBerry} June 6, 2011 um 6:50 pm

Beautiful post my friend… I can't wait to try the recipe!

Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane June 6, 2011 um 8:34 pm

What a beautiful recipe. I love the incorporation of the sea blue background, too. Very lovely. I just returned from France myself, so the timing on this one is perfect. And, I thought you should know, Plate to Pixel occupied much of my time on the long journey home. A great, information-packed read! Thank you!

FoodFitnessFreshAir June 8, 2011 um 1:58 pm

This sounds absolutely amazing. For breakfast or dessert. I'm loving the fresh berries lately…and cream on top makes them extra divine!

kyleen June 8, 2011 um 5:43 pm

Mhmm I love yogurt. Mixing it with whipped cream and fresh berries sounds like a divine dessert. I must try it some time. Gorgeous photos as usual!

Y June 11, 2011 um 6:49 am

This looks and sounds incredible. I've been meaning to get some liquid rennet actually. Like the idea of eating the faisselle frozen too.

Puhvis Kukk June 11, 2011 um 12:45 pm

The berry sorbet is fantastic! I used a good frozen berry mix from Costco actually (raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries and blackberries). To die for! Thanks!

Jywoi June 14, 2011 um 1:24 am

Bonjour 🙂
Je viens de découvrir votre(ton?) blog grâce à Bakerella et j'aime beaucoup les recettes mais résidant en France, j'ai une question sur la "heavy cream", existe t-il un équivalent en France?
Merci <3

Helene June 14, 2011 um 5:28 am

Jywoi: c'est de la creme liquide comme celle utilisee pour la creme chantilly.

Jywoi June 14, 2011 um 4:44 pm

Merci beaucoup, je vais regarder 🙂

Thanh @ eat, little bird January 5, 2012 um 9:24 am

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe for faisselle! We go through several large tubs of La Faisselle whenever we visit our family in France and, curiously enough, I can't find it anywhere in Switzerland even though we are just next door! I can't wait to try your recipe. P.S. I have been a regular follower of your blog for quite some years and really admire your work. You are truly an inspiration to all food bloggers out there.

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