In three weeks time, we will be hosting our “pre-Christmas dinner” with about 10 new friends. We have done this for years (if you are a follower of this site, you will know that). It will be their first. After searching everything I have, I decided on this. I think it will be a good one. Since it can be made 3 days ahead of the dinner, it is a good choice.
- 8-10 lemons
- 2 cups sugar
- 8 large egg yolks, plus 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. whipping cream
- chilled candied lemon zest *
- 1 eight ounce container of creme fraiche
In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. Set aside. Juice 1 lemon and set aside. Juice enough lemons to make 1 cup of juice. Place the juice, sugar, egg yolks, whole eggs and butter in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for about 8 – 10 minutes until it begins to boil.
Strain this through a fine sieve into a bowl set on top of the ice bath. Stir occasionally until it cools down. Place plastic wrap over the entire surface and set in the fridge for about an hour.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Reserve 1/2 cup of the lemon curd to be used later and add the remaining curd to the whipped cream. Gently fold this together with a whisk until well combined.
Fill your ring molds (8-10) equally and place them on a cookie sheet to be placed in the freezer for up to 3 days.
Candied Lemon Zest*
This should be made one day before you make the mousse.
Scrub the skins of 4 lemons
2 cups sugar
1 cup cool water
Remove zest from the lemons with a vegetable peeler. Remove the white pith with a sharp knife and finely julienne. Place the zest in a small bowl and over with boiling water. Let stand for half an hour and then drain.
Bring the sugar and cool water to a boil , stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon zest and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand overnight. Next morning store the zest in the syrup in an air tight container in the fridge until ready to use.
Drain the candied zest and reserve the syrup. Whisk 1/3 cup of the syrup, reserved 1/2 cup lemon curd and the juice of 1/2 lemon in a bowl.
Place the frozen mousse on pretty plates, letting stand for about 5-6 minutes to warm. Mix the creme fraiche wth the 2 remaining tbsp of whipping cream until soft peaks form. Remove the molds, spoon the lemon sauce around the base of the mousse, spoon some creme fraiche on top and add a spoon of candied zest on top.
Put a couple of your best shortbread cookies on the side and serve. (Your choice: whipped, lemon or pecan shortbread). What the heck, make it 1 of each.