Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lust for Lemons

Though lemons are at their peak in the winter months, the heat of summer seems like the best time to enjoy a refreshing lemon dessert paired with berries. Nothing fits the bill like a tart, refreshing lemon mousse accompanied by a deep purple, glossy blackberry sauce. The mousse is made of a lemon curd and whipped cream, and can be made in stages. The curd can be made up to five days ahead--just fold the whipped cream in on the day you plan to serve it. The Blackberry Sauce comes together in minutes in the food processor, leaving your plenty of time to enjoy the lazy delights of summer: good food, friends and balmy weather.

Lemon Mousse with Blackberry Sauce

Serves 6

Lemon Mousse:
8 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup heavy cream

Blackberry Sauce:
Two 1/2-pint containers fresh blackberries
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Make the mousse:
1. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium, heavy, non-reactive saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, salt, and butter and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 7 to 10 minutes (do not let the mixture boil, or it will curdle). The mixture should leave a path on the back of a wooden spoon when you draw your finger across it. Immediately strain the mixture through the sieve, pressing it through with a rubber spatula.
2. Set the bowl containing the lemon mixture in a large mixing bowl filled one-third of the way with ice water (be careful that the water doesn’t splash into the lemon mixture). Stir the lemon mixture frequently until it is slightly chilled, about 15 minutes. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 3 days).
3. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold one-third of cream into the lemon curd, then gently fold in the remainder. Divide the mousse among 6 glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the sauce:
4. Puree the blackberries with the sugar in a food processor. Pulse in the lemon juice. Pass the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve.

5. Serve the mousse with the Blackberry Sauce.