Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Best Use of Lemons…EVER

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I am not and I do not come to this decision lightly. I have the full backing of my lemon-loving family.

As is tradition in our household, the children get to choose to go out on their birthday or stay home and have me cook whatever they want. We’ve had some odd choices over the years, like Butcher Son once asked if we could go to Dennys for his birthday, so he could have one of their Grand Slam breakfasts, and Electrician Son wanted Shake and Bake pork chops, which I had never made in my life. Those are the exceptions, rather than the rule, because let’s face it, these are my children and they know good food.

This year for Brilliant Daughter’s birthday, given the nice weather, she wanted Cowboy Burgers. You might remember this recipe from last summer. My family was so wowed they hardly spoke the whole time they were eating, hence the post tile of Seriously Good Eating.” They really are that good. In fact, it is one of the 100 recipes featured in my cookbook, Eat Drink Merry. She also wanted a lemon dessert made with our Meyer lemons. That meant digging into the archives, the recipe clippings, the downloaded notes, to find just the right thing. And I found a gem. A home run. A grand slam. (Well, it is baseball season after all….) I found a recipe for the. best. lemon. dessert. ever. It was in my clipping file, cut from an April 2005 Bon Appetit magazine.

Simply called Lemon Curd Mousse Cake, it was a creation of light and air, summertime and sunshine, and put a smile on everyone’s face…immediately. We all knew right away that this was a keeper. Fans of lemon meringue pie will especially be wowed with this cake, as it tastes like the culinary love child of the light creamy meringue and the tart lemony custard. It’s refreshing, silky, and above all – heavenly. (I just wish that I could capture that heaven in a picture for you, as the one here just doesn’t do it justice.)

While this cake does take some extra effort and dishwashing, it is one that is well worth the effort – and I don’t say that lightly!

Warning: This recipe really does require lots of pots, pans, bowls, spatulas, and spoons. Set your sink up with warm sudsy water and just drop the used items in as you go along. It will make clean-up much easier.

Lemon Curd Mousse Cake

Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2005


2 cups Lorna Doone cookie crumbs

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted


2 1/2 cups lemon curd (my recipe here)

5 tablespoons water

4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

6 large egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

Lemon slices, cut into quarters (garnish)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 8-inch-diameter springform pan with nonstick spray.

Blend cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom of pan. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Pour 5 tablespoons water into small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 3/4 cups lemon curd in large bowl.

Stir 3/4 cup curd in another small saucepan over medium-low heat until very warm. Then

stir gelatin mixture over medium-low heat until dissolved and liquid is clear (do not boil). Whisk warm gelatin mixture into 3/4 cup warm curd. Gradually whisk gelatin-curd mixture into curd in large bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until whites are thick and glossy. Fold whites into curd mixture in 3 additions.

Using same beaters, beat cream in another medium bowl until peaks form. Fold into egg white-curd mixture in 3 additions.

Pour enough mousse over cooled crust to fill pan completely. Pour remaining mousse into small bowl and reserve. Cover and chill mousse cake, reserved mousse, and remaining curd overnight.

Using a long thin knife, cut around cake to loosen. Remove pan sides. Gently spread 3/4 cup of remaining curd over cake. Transfer reserved mousse to pastry bag fitted with small star tip. Pipe rosettes of mousse around top edge of cake. Chill cake until ready to serve. (Can be made up to 8 hours ahead.)

Arrange lemon slices between rosettes. Cut cake into wedges.


Tea said...

I think you must be trying to torture me!

My birthday is in December. Prime citrus season.

Hint, hint.


Mrs. B said...

Well, if I forget, you can remind me. You're worth the time and I know you would swoon after the first bite

Anonymous said...