When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Mousse (and Lavender Shortbread Cookies)
It’s basically a deconstruction of a favorite lemon curd cookie recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum in her legendary 1990-published Rose’s Christmas Cookies book. I’ve baked from this cookbook more than any other – its torn, warped and stained pages reflecting three decades of love rather than being ignored on a shelf. Levy Beranbaum’s Lemon Curd Cookie recipe is our daughter Emily’s favorite. As we head into true spring, it is time to have levity with our dessert and be a little ‘fancy pants’ simultaneously. Don’t be afraid of mousse just because it sounds so culinary. Most mousse are essentially a pudding or a curd with whipped cream folded in. That’s it. Half yummy pudding or curd of choice and half whipped cream and you now know mousse’s deep secret. You can make this into a lime curd by switching your citrus juice. As this pandemic keeps us mostly sheltered in, we need to be momentarily transported away. A light citrus mousse with a buttery cookie can do just that.
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- 5 large lemons for 6 fluid ounces of lemon juice
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter (softened) – organic preferred
- Pinch or two of salt
- 4 tsp lemon zest – finely grated
- 1-pint heavy cream – whipped (if you prefer more intense lemon flavor use less whipped cream)
- Fresh mint leaves (optional)
- Organize a mixing bowl and a strainer so they are near the stove and easy to access.
- In a heavy metal saucepan, beat together the egg yolks and sugar. Stir in the fresh lemon juice, room temperature butter, and pinches of salt. Cook over medium-low heat and with a wooden spoon, stir constantly, for approximately 6 minutes, until thickened and the consistency of hollandaise sauce. Curd is ready when it thickly coats wooden spoon but is runny enough to pour or drizzle, and the mixture shifts from translucent to opaque, and begin to take on a yellow color on the back of the spoon. Do not allow to boil or it will curdle. If steaming happens, remove from heat and stir vigorously.
- Once the curd has thickened, pour it through the strainer and push through the mesh into a mixing bowl. Discard the residue inside the strainer. Stir in lemon zest. Place in refrigerator to cool, stirring occasionally to release heat from the center of the curd.
- Once lemon curd has slightly chilled, fold 90% of your whipped cream into it using a rubber spatula to gently combine lemon curd with whipped cream. The texture should be lighter than a pudding. Place Lemon Mousse into lovely wine glasses or other goblets, top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh mint leaves or a thin lemon slice.