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Lemon-Lime Mousse with Fresh Strawberries

lemon mouses [1]

I adore Key Lime Pie and order it as often as it appears on a dessert menu. Most of the time I’m disappointed. It is usually too sweet, not tart enough and the texture just screams gelatin. When I took a bite of this mousse it reminded me of a super light key lime pie filling. The best part is that it doesn’t actually require key limes, which have a short growing season and the bottled stuff just leaves me flat. The mousse is tangy, just a touch sweet, and it is so light, it melts on your tongue. The fresh strawberries lend a perfect balance of flavor and texture to the dessert. I put them in glass jars because the lemon-yellow mousse and lipstick-red strawberries are so pretty together I wanted to be able so see them. It is also the best way to bring dessert along to a pot luck or picnic. These jars are probably familiar to many of you who eat Bonne Maman French preserves that come in them. I save the jars and pretty checkered lids to reuse.

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You can make this mousse with just lemons, or limes, but I thought the combination of lemons and limes gave the mousse a more complex flavor, that ended up tasting like the fragrant key limes. Zest the citrus first, then juice them.

Lemon-Lime Mousse:

6 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup juice and all the zest from the lemons and/or limes

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Strawberries:

1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced thin

1/4 cup sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur

To make the mousse:

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In a non-reactive saucepan whisk together 3 eggs, 3 yolks (reserve the 3 egg whites), 3/4 cup sugar, salt, juice, and zest. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 10 minutes.

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The lemon curd is done when it is as thick as pudding and coats the back of a spoon or spatula.

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Press through a fine mesh strainer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the lemon curd is cool. Can be made a day or two ahead.

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Whip the egg whites and remaining sugar until they reach stiff peaks.

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Add 1/3 of the whites to the chilled lemon curd and mix to lighted the texture of the curd. Gently fold the remaining whites in.

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Whip the heavy cream with the vanilla extract, until stiff peaks.

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Fold the whipped cream gently into the lemon mousse.

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Fold just until the cream is smoothly incorporated.

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Place the mousse into a piping bag and fill the jars evenly.

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To make the strawberries:

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Start with very fresh and sweet berries. If they aren’t as sweet as you like, you can add more sugar, or less if they are very ripe.

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Mix the berries, sugar and liqueur in a bowl. Let the berries sit for at least 30 minutes, so they release some of their juices. Can be made several hours in advance.

Spoon the berries over the mousse.

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They can be served immediately or refrigerated for several hours.

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Serve chilled.

lemon mousse [17]

My friend, Shaina Olmanson, is an exquisitely talented and creative blogger and has just written a book about ways of making gorgeous desserts in jars. Check out Shaina’s book Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine [18] for more ideas.

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