Monday, March 26, 2012

Lemon Mousse

Dear Margaret,

I've been meaning to give you the details on the lemon mousse for so long now that I'm afraid I may have forgotten some of them. But I'll give it a whirl.

Rebecca brought Meyer lemons from her parent's tree when she came to visit and I wanted to make something special with them to showcase the delicate flavor. I did a roast chicken with slices of lemon on it that was delicious, but I wanted to make a desert with the remaining ones. You know, something special. Like desert.

Lemon mousse seemed like the perfect vehicle for the juicy goodness of these golden globes. I thought about using Belle's recipe for Lemon Souffle, which is really a mousse, but it has raw egg whites and that seemed unnecessarily risky. I will happily risk my health for cookie dough, but not for a lemon mousse that I could make just as well without the risk of a hospital stay.

I found a few lemon curd recipes on line and in books and set to work.

3 large eggs
3 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup Meyer  lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut up into pieces about a tablespoon size

Put the eggs, yolks, sugar, zest, juice salt all into the top part of a double boiler set over medium heat. Whisk like crazy to keep it from scrambling. Scrambled eggs with sugar and lemon juice in them are icky. Trust me.

Whisk, whisk, whisk until it starts to get frothy and bubbly. Keep whisking. It will start to thicken and turn into a lemon cream. Keep whisking. This took me about 10 minutes or so, in Idaho so at 5,500'. Might be different in Seattle or Virginia.

Once it's reached the desired consistency, take it off the heat and add the butter a few pieces at the time, continuing to whisk until the butter is melted and fully incorporated. Then add a few more pieces, until you've used up all the butter.

Now strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove any stray strands of lemon flavored scrambled eggs. Place plastic wrap on top of the curd, actually touching it, to prevent a skin from forming, and chill for several  hours.

After licking the bowl and the whisk, and the fine mesh strainer I hoped that the plastic wrap would provide a deterrent to eating the rest of it with a tablespoon. It helped a little.

When you are ready to serve the mousse, whip 2 cups of cream to soft peaks, and gently fold in the lemon curd.

My, oh my. Oh my.