Whenever we have a dinner party, I'm typically in charge of preparing the dessert. Sometimes when I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll make a pie or cake, but time wasn't on my side recently so I needed to come up with something pretty quick, simple, and incredibly delicious.
Another criteria I wanted to stick to for this dessert was to keep it light and fresh; our meal revolved around BBQ brisket, ribs, baked beans and mac 'n' cheese, so I wanted to finish on a light note after all of the smoked meat and rich side dishes.
I started perusing the 885 dessert recipes we have on file here at The Chopping Block, and almost immediately landed on lemon curd. It's sweet yet tart, easy to make, doesn't require any special ingredients or equipment, and can be made right on the stove top eliminating the need to turn on the oven when it's hot outside.
Yield: 3 cups
Active time: 15 minutes
Start to finish: 2 hours
2 lemons, zested
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
1. In a heavy saucepan whisk together the zest, lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks and eggs.
2. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the curd is thick enough to hold marks of the whisk and bubbles appear on surface, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
4. Pour the curd into a bowl or shallow dish, and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
5. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 1/2 hours.
I didn't want to serve just a blob of lemon curd in a dish, so I put my brain cells to work and thought about how to transform the curd into something magical for a dinner party. I considered making crêpes (lemon curd and crêpes are so good together!), and I also thought about making cupcakes or profiteroles with a lemon curd filling, but those options required a bit more work than I was willing to put forth. Plus, the last two would have required the use of the oven, which I was trying to avoid. Side note: Lemon curd on its own is amazing. Serve it with scones, pancakes, cupcakes, crêpes or lady fingers!
That's when the idea of making a mousse from the curd occurred to me. Again… simple, delicious and impressive. You're going to love how easy this is! After the lemon curd had completely chilled in the refrigerator, I measured in a large bowl:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can use vanilla paste if you have it)
Instead of using an electric mixer to whip the cream, I recruited our guests, Anne and Peter, to help whip the cream by hand.
If you watch the video closely, you'll notice the bowl of cream was passed between 4 people to get the job done. When our arms got tired, we passed the bowl along to the next person.
I transferred the cold lemon curd to a large bowl, and added half of the whipped cream.
Using a spatula I carefully folded the cream into the curd until incorporated. I then repeated the same technique with the remaining whipped cream.
I spooned the fluffy lemon mousse into cups, topped it with fresh blueberries (other berries work well, too), added a Nilla Wafer for good measure and dusted the tops with powdered sugar. I brought a bowl of extra Nilla Wafers to the table, because everyone seemed to really like scooping the mousse up with the cookies, especially my kids!
You'll definitely want to add this dessert to your summer agenda. It's such an approachable dessert that anyone with any level of skill set can make. Who doesn't like a bowl of refreshing lemon mousse on a hot summer day?
Join us this fall for our Pie and Tart Boot Camp where you'll learn how to make a seasonal fruit curd. Our chefs will have you whipping up a Cranberry Curd Tart with Whipped Cream and Candied Orange Zest.