Lemon Mousse

  • Serves: Makes about 6 individual servings
  • Views: 9559
  • Comments: 4

Did you know that a mousse is a modern day version of pudding? This recipe has an especially smooth and airy texture, with a wonderful burst of lemon flavor. Originally, the word mousse came from the French term meaning "foam" or "froth".  


Do not let the unmixed sugar and egg yolks sit very long together in a mixing bowl; the will "burn" the yolks. The sugar will absorb the water from the yolks, hence drying them out. It's best to mix the two together as soon as possible, so the sugar can dissolve into the yolks.

3 teaspoons (1 package) Knox unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water

1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice; from about 6 to 8 lemons
Zest of 4 lemons or 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon lemon flavored oil
6 large eggs, separated (save 4 large egg whites* for the recipe) 
1 cup sugar; divided

NOTE: Zest the lemons first, then squeeze their juice. If you do not have enough from the fresh lemons, you can top it off with the bottled lemon juice.

*Due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. Or, use 4 large liquid or rehydrated pasteurized egg whites.

1. In a small bowl, place the gelatin. Add the cold water. Make sure all of the gelatin is moistened. Set aside so the gelatin can soak.

2. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla to soft peaks with a hand-held mixer. Cover and set temporarily in the refrigerator until needed

3. Fill a saucepan half full of water and place on the stove. You will use it as part of a double boiler.
Set a medium heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure it does not touch the water below. Do not turn on the heat yet.

4. Place yolks in the bowl (set aside 4 whites in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer). Add 3/4 cup sugar to the egg yolks and immediately whisk.

5. Slowly add lemon juice and zest while whisking.

6. Turn the heat to medium-high, and whisk the egg yolk mixture over boiling water until it reaches 170 degrees F (Use an Instant Read or Candy Thermometer), taking about 20 minutes. Whisk constantly to keep yolks from scrambling.

The mixture will go through several stages as it cooks:
It start out as a clear liquid.

It get cloudier and foamy looking as it cooks, and start to thicken slightly. Don't forget to keep whisking the whole time!

When done, the mixture will become thicker, smooth and will have lost its overall foaminess. It will read 170 degrees F when measured with an nstant Read or Candy Thermometer. Turn off the heat.

5. Immediately add gelatin while whisking to dissolve.

6. Immediately, remove the bowl from the top of the double boiler, and place bowl over ice water and stir to cool.
SARAH SAYS: I make an ice bath in my kitchen sink. I fill my kitchen sink with enough cold water so it comes half way up the bowl with the hot mixture in it, and place ice in the water. Then, I lower the hot bowl into the ice water, making sure none spills into the hot egg mixture. That way I don't have to use (dirty) another (dang!) large bowl! And, I have found that hot contents will cool much faster that way when soaking in a larger body of cold water! (Yes!)

7. When it reaches 100 degrees F, strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Set aside.
SARAH SAYS: I know that the lemon peel will also strain out, but I like to scoop it out of the strainer with a small spoon, and put it back into the strained mixture!

8. With a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with 1/4 cup of sugar to glossy, stiff peaks.

9. When mixture is 80 - 90 degrees F, fold in beaten whites, in three portions, with a large rubber spatula. Then fold in the whipped cream, in three portions, as well.

SARAH SAYS: If the mixture is lumpy after all of the folding, which mine was, I fixed it by whisking the mousse with a large balloon whisk in a large circular motion until the mixture was smooth; I did not stir it because the idea was not deflate any of the mousse's precious tiny air bubbles. Viola! It worked!

10. Chill in a bowl or portion into individual serving cups to serve on its own. It chills and sets within a few hours.

Mousse must be kept refrigerated where it will keep for about 3 days or more. It does not freeze well.

Other Recipes