Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lemon Mousse Tart in a Gingersnap Crust

The past couple of weeks have been pretty frantic work-wise, with work over-flowing into my evenings and weekends (and encroaching on my time on the tennis court). Which doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging, either. I was determined to put up a post 

today, though, so I chose to make a super-simple dessert that I love, Lemon Mousse Tart in a Gingersnap Crust. The crust is nothing more than gingersnap crumbs and melted butter, patted into a tart pan and baked for a short time. The mousse is a simple lemon curd 

cooked on the stove, chilled, and then combined with whipped cream. The trick to lemon curd is to make sure you cook it long enough so that the yolks thicken, without over-cooking it and causing the mixture to curdle. (If you do over-cook it slightly, any 

bits of cooked egg should get strained out when you pass the curd through the fine-mesh sieve.) A small amount of gelatin gives the mousse some body and keeps it from falling apart when sliced. I don’t like to add too much though, as the beauty of this mousse, aside from its ease of preparation, is its velvety texture, and gelatin has a way of turning velvet to rubber.

Lemon Mousse Tart in a Gingersnap Crust

Makes 8 servings

Gingersnap Crust:
1 2/3 cups (227 g) gingersnap crumbs
5 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted

Lemon Mousse:
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
6 large egg yolks
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (161 g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon (6 g) finely grated lemon zest
1 cup (232 g) heavy cream

Make the crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Pat the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Make the mousse:
2. Put the water in a small cup and sprinkle over the gelatin. Let stand to soften while you make the filling.
3. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the yolks, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Add the 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. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin, whisking until dissolved. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing it through with a rubber spatula. Whisk in the lemon zest.
4. 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.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to medium peaks. Gently fold the cream into the chilled lemon curd. Scrape the mousse into the cooled crust, smoothing the top. Refrigerate the tart for at least 4 hours before serving.