How easy is that?
Apparently, that is the signature phrase used by Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa (don’t know why,) who has a show on the Food Network as well as several published recipe books. Additionally, I’ve heard her mentioned on quite a few of the food blogs I peruse, with numerous accolades.
So I happened to see one of her shows on the Food Network that highlighted lemon mousse. It looked dreamy. It sounded heavenly. It called my name.
Out to the backyard I went to pick some lemons and shortly after I had created my own lemon mousse. And I agree with Ina Garten: How easy is that?
Mmmmmm…light, airy, yet creamy at the same time. Smooth, fluffy…
Not too lemony (but then again, I love the tartness of lemons) yet the tartness is offset by the sweetened whipped cream…again, just dreamy and heavenly.
This might taste even more delish with blueberries or strawberries or raspberries either layered in or placed on top. And this would be a superb summer treat, cool and refreshing.
Although the recipe calls for presenting this in a souffle dish, I thought it would look more fun and festive served in individual portions. Since I didn’t have any fun individual serving dishes, I used my fine wine glasses, you know, the dishes you order to coordinate with your china when you register for wedding gifts but then rarely use? Yes, those. They worked out beautifully, looking very elegant and graceful–a fitting vessel for an elegant and graceful dessert.
- 3 extra-large whole eggs
- 3 extra-large eggs, separated
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-4 lemons)
- kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup lemon curd, room temperature (store-bought works well or homemade)
- sweetened whipped cream (see recipe that follows)
- sliced lemon, for garnish
Sweetened Whipped Cream
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- In large heat-proof bowl, whisk together the 3 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (not boiling) and cook, whisking constantly, for 10-12 minutes (it actually took 30 minutes, and I stood at the stove, whisking, while I read a book) until the mixture is thick like pudding. Take off the heat (at this point, strain mixture through a strainer if you want smooth mousse; otherwise, it might have a bit of a grainy texture with the lemon zest in the mixture) and set aside for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface (to avoid a skin forming on the mixture) and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until completely chilled (or you can put it in freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill while you complete the next step).
- Place half the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. sugar and continue to beat until the whites are stiff and shiny. (The entire process took about 10 minutes.)
- Carefully fold the beaten whites into the cold lemon mixture with a rubber spatula.
- How to fold egg whites into batter: Place a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the batter and gently mix to temper (blending of ingredients of differing temperatures) the batter, which simplifies the process of adding in the rest of the egg whites. Slide the egg whites from their bowl into the bowl containing the batter. Insert the edge of a large spatula down the middle of the mixture and gently turn half the batter mixture over onto the other half of the batter. Continue this process, taking care to not stir the batter so that you retain the air you have beaten into the egg whites. (ehow.com)
- Place the heavy cream in the same bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (no need to clean the bowl) and beat on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks (about 5 minutes).
- Carefully fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture.
- Fold in the lemon curd, and pour into a 7-inch diameter, 3-inch deep souffle dish (or pour into individual serving cups).
Sweetened Whip Cream
- Place the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whip on medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, then switch to high speed until the cream just forms still peaks.
- Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Decorate by piping the whipped cream around the edges of the souffle dish.
- Garnish with lemon slices for a final decorate touch.
- Chill and serve cold.
SOURCE: Food Network (Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa)