Friday, June 12, 2009

Ton Ten Recipes: Frozen Lemon Mousse

Le Dejeuner des Canotiers, Auguste Renoir

This wonderful recipe for dessert comes from James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking. Yes, it is slightly sinful: The main ingredients are butter, eggs, sugar, and cream. But it is a virtually fail-proof and transportingly delicious end to any meal, in virtually any season. I have paired it with many a Christmas dinner, and served it successfully at the end of an informal summer lunch (like the pleasant gathering shown above) of poached chicken and vegetables with tuna sauce.

Perhaps best of all if you are considering it for a holiday menu: It can be made for weeks in advance, and stashed away in the freezer. The recipe can easily be doubled if you are having a crowd.

The only kitchen equipment required for this recipe is a citrus grater. It is based on lemon curd, and many recipes call for making the curd in a double-boiler. I have found that, with careful attention, the curd can be made in a thick-bottomed saucepan.

Ingredients8 ounces unsalted butter
Grated rind of a large lemon
Juice of three large lemons
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon of sale.
3 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1 cup cream

Melt the butter in the saucepan over moderate heat. Whisk in the rind, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Beat together the eggs and egg yolks and whisk in.

Cook, stirring, until mixture is thick, glossy and coats the side of a spoon. Cool to room temperature.

Beat the cream to soft peaks. Fold whipped cream in curd, stirring gently. When cream and curd and thoroughly combined, transfer to a metal mold. Freeze for six hours before serving.

This dessert is delicious with raspberry sauce. The lemon mousse may also be poured into and frozen in individual custard cups, chocolate cups (available at some specialty stores), or cookie baskets. Individual servings can be sprinkled with chocolate shavings or garnished with a twist of candied orange peel .