This recipe is one of my favorite for entertaining. It not only looks impressive, but tastes divine. I serve it with tiny spoons that encourage you to savor each mouthful. Pierre Herme’s tart and tangy lemon cream is addictive and surprisingly simple to make. Claire Robinson’s recipe for white chocolate mousse is equally easy and gives a creamy, luxurious contrast to the lemon. I boil sugar and and water to the hard boil stage and drizzle it onto a sil pat to create dainty decorations.
Pierre Herme’s Lemon Cream
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
- 1 cup sugar
- Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (Meyer lemons if you get them)
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons – Meyer lemons if you can get them)
- 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (21 tablespoons; 10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- Getting ready: Have a thermometer (preferably an instant-read), a mesh strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at the ready.
- Set a medium saucepan with a few inches of water to boil and find a metal bowl that can fit snugly on top of the saucepan.
- Put the sugar and zest in the metal bowl. Work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice.
- Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the boiling water doesn’t physically touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels warn to the touch and do not stop. If you do, the eggs in the will start to scramble so it’s important that you don’t stop. Keep stirring until the cream reaches 180F. As you whisk the cream over heat, you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as the cream is getting closer to 180F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Note: When you start to see whisk tracks, it means the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
- As soon as the cream reaches 180F, pull the bowl off the pot of hot water and immediately strain it (using a fine mesh strainer) into the blender or food processor’s vessel. Discard anything left behind in the strainer. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140F, about 10 minutes.
- Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 5 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machines going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.
- Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and chill the cream for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Storing: The lemon cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Claire Robinson’s White Chocolate Mousse
from The Food Network
- 7 ounces white chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, plus 1 cup
- In a large glass bowl, place the chopped white chocolate and set aside.
- Add the egg yolks and sugar to a small bowl and whisk until pale in color.
- In a saucepan, over low heat, bring 1/4 cup of the cream to a simmer, and slowly add the cream into the yolk and sugar mixture to temper. Pour the creamy mixture back into pan and stir with a wooden spoon until it coats the back of it.
- Pour hot mix into a fine mesh sieve placed directly over bowl with the chopped chocolate. Stir until completely smooth.
- In another bowl, whip remaining 1 cup of the cream to almost stiff peaks. Fold half the whipped cream into the white chocolate mix to lighten and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.
- Spoon the white chocolate mousse into 4 serving cups and refrigerate until set, approximately 1 hour.