Limoncello Lemon Mousse with Chocolate Sauce

August 11, 2015

Start to finish: 4 hours
Hands on time: 45 minutes

It’s finally here. Sweet and Tart: 70 Irresistible Recipes with Citrus is released and on sale today! Thank you to photographer Nicole Franzen for making my recipes look so delicious and the design team at Chronicle for putting it all together so beautifully. It really is just the prettiest little thing.

So, I thought I’d share one of the recipes and hopefully pique your interest in the sweeter side of citrus with this heavenly, lemonly mousse drizzled with chocolate.

Lemon mousse is one of those airy, mid-century modern desserts that’s never gone out of style. I remember my mom serving it at her monthly card club along with those little buttery pastel mints and bridge mix. There was always a few “mouse” left over for us kids to nibble on. A nugget of chocolaty bridge mix with a spoonful of that mousse was heaven!

Did I mention that this lemony fluff requires no cooking? Just a little zap in the microwave to melt the gelatin is all it takes to make this summery confection.

This version is admittedly a little more sophisticated than mom’s with a little boozy kick from the limoncello and bittersweet chocolate sauce drizzled over the top. Be sure to make extra for the kids. Oh, and don’t forget to take a look at the book here.

Zesty Tip: Rubbing the lemon with sugar cubes effectively captures the lemon oil, transferring loads of lemon flavor without the little flakes of zest. For best results, choose thick skinned lemons with a nubby surface as they seem to contain more of this essential oil.

Serves 6

One 1/4-oz envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup/75 ml  limoncello, divided
2 lemons (with thick nubby skins)
6 sugar cubes
3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup/50 g granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup/65 g
1/2 cup/120 ml lemon juice
3/4 cup/180 ml whipping cream, chilled plus 1/3 cup/75 ml

4 oz/115 g bittersweet chocolate

In a heatproof measuring cup, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/4-cup (60 ml) limoncello and let it soften for 3 or 4 minutes.

Rub the edges of the sugar cubes over the lemons so that they pick up the lemon’s zest and oils. They will turn bright yellow. Drop the lemony cubes into the cup of limoncello.

Set the cup of limoncello in a microwave and heat for 20 seconds to dissolve the gelatin and sugar or place the cup in a saucepan of simmering water and stir until the graininess has dissolved. Set aside.

Whip the egg whites on high speed until they’re frothy and form soft peaks. Sprinkle the 1/4-cup/50 g granulated sugar over the whites and continue to beat them until they are firm but not curdled, about 2 minutes. (It’s better to underbeat the whites slightly than to overbeat them.) The whites should form a stiff peak when the beater is lifted from the bowl. If using a stand mixer, transfer the whites to another bowl and continue with the recipe. No need to wash the bowl.

Beat the egg yolks, pinch of salt and 1/3 cup/65 ml sugar with a mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat the yolk-sugar mixture until thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Mix in the dissolved gelatin and the lemon juice. Gently fold the lemon mixture into the beaten whites with a large spatula. Be careful not to overmix as you will be folding in the whipped cream as well. There’s no need to wash the bowl.

In the same bowl, beat the chilled whipping cream until the cream is firm enough to hold its shape. Fold the cream completely into the lemon mousse mixture.

Spoon the mousse into 6 individual dessert dishes, cups or into a large serving bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 1 day before serving.

Make the chocolate sauce: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot, not boiling, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Stir in the whipping cream and thin with a little extra cream if necessary. Be careful not to overheat the sauce or it will become grainy. Serve warm, drizzled over the lemon mousse.

Make-Ahead: Mousse can be made one day ahead and kept covered and refrigerated. Chocolate sauce can be made two days ahead, refrigerated and gently rewarmed in a heatproof bowl over warm water.

In my ears: When I feel like a party, this is the song I want to dance to – Mustang Sally.


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