lemon curd mousse with blueberries

Blueberries.  Let’s envelop them in a cocoon of slightly tart lemon curd and slightly sweetened whipped cream.  We’ll add some toasted coconut for crunch.  Call in the troops.  Dessert is ready.  

This recipe comes from an old Bon Appétit issue dated August 1997.  Whoa.  That’s an old one.  I don’t want you to think I am surrounded by stacks of old hoarded magazines.  For years, I’ve been tearing out those recipes that appeal to me before throwing the magazine in the recycle bin.  I’ve collected so many “tear outs” that I have them cataloged in an attractive set of binders.  All handy and labeled, of course.  A bit obsessive, I suppose.

The point here is that when it comes to the classic combination of certain foods, most recipes are timeless.  And this one is no exception.  I will admit though …this one is definitely on the rich side.  But, after all, it is dessert.  And moderation is the key.

The lemon curd can be prepared well in advance.  Actually up to three days in advance.  It is so yummy just as it is.  I can imagine spreading some of that goodness on a warm biscuit, topped with some raspberry jam.  Oh well.  Another time, perhaps.

The lemon curd comes together quickly on the stove, then will need some time to chill out in the fridge.

The original recipe directs you to cover the hot lemon curd by “pressing plastic wrap directly onto the surface” so that a layer of skin cannot form.  I don’t recommend using plastic wrap in direct contact with the hot mixture.  I like to use the old-fashioned stuff my mom always used when she made homemade pudding …waxed paper.

While the curd is chilling, it’s time to toast some coconut.  The goal here is to achieve a golden crunch.  Stay close by while it’s in the oven and stir it up frequently.  Trust me on this one.  I overtoasted (sounds better than burnt, don’t you think?) my first tray and had to start over.  Good thing I had extra supplies.

And be sure to line your pan with parchment paper.  You’ll thank me for this tip when it’s time to clean up.

Just before assembling, it’s time to whip up the cream until stiff peaks form.  Add a portion of the plain whipped cream to the lemon curd to create the mousse.  Then, you will flavor the remainder of the whipped cream with a wee bit of powdered sugar and vanilla.

And speaking of cream, this recipe calls for whipping cream.  Have you ever had an issue where all you can find is heavy cream?  If you’re wondering if there is a difference, there is.  The heavy cream really is the heavier of the two with a fat content of 36% to 39%.  The whipping cream contains between 30% and 36% fat so it actually whips up lighter and fluffier.  Definitely what you want when you are topping off a dessert with a fluffy finish.  Well, in this case, do try to find the whipping cream but …go ahead and use the heavy cream, if you must.  Since this is all folded into the final dish, either one will work.

This dessert is truly impressive when served parfait style in your stemmed glassware.  But beware …this is rich and some folks may prefer a smaller serving.  Try setting this up in a not-too-large glass trifle dish so that the distinctive layers can shine through.  Served this way, you and your guests can all enjoy just a taste.

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lemon curd mousse with blueberries

Adapted from Bon Appétit

Servings 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)
  • 6 large egg yolks (egg whites reserved for another use)
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Place 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 10 minutes. 
  2. Whisk sugar, lemon juice, yolks and lemon peel in heavy medium saucepan to blend.  Add butter; stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and just begins to bubble at edges, about 7 to 9 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add gelatin mixture; stir to dissolve.  Transfer lemon curd to a medium bowl. Press waxed paper directly onto the surface.  Chill until cold.  (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread coconut on the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle brown sugar over.  Bake until coconut is golden, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Cool on tray.

  4. Beat cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold 1 cup cream into curd.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract to the remaining cream; gently whisk to combine.

  5. Layer 2 to 3 tablespoons berries, 3 tablespoons mousse, 1 tablespoon coconut mixture and 3 tablespoons whipped cream in each of 6 stemmed 10-to-12 ounce glasses. Repeat layering. Top each with 2 tablespoons berries, a dollop of cream, some coconut mixture and more berries. 
  6. Can be made 6 hours ahead.  Cover; chill.

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