Light and airy, this easy lemon mousse is a combination of whipped egg whites, homemade lemon curd (without the butter) and whipped cream all folded together for a luscious texture. If you love lemons like I do and you're looking for lemon desserts, here's my lemon mousse recipe. No matter who I serve this to, they love it.
Lemon Mousse Memories
Cruising along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island, Newport Beach, California, windows rolled down, the fresh ocean air filled the car along with memories from summer’s past. We passed Amelia’s restaurant, a now-closed local landmark for fifty years. Their Italian Lemon Mousse was delicious. This lemon mousse recipe is my inspired version.
It takes three steps: cook the lemon curd, whip the egg whites and whip the cream, then fold together. Make it a few hours ahead and refrigerate until serving time.
Step 1: Make Lemon Curd
To make lemon curd, set up a double boiler. It’s a gentle, indirect method of cooking for touchy things like egg yolks. Place a large saucepan on the stove top with a few inches of water in it. Bring the water to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Choose a stainless steel or glass bowl that will fit on top and partially inside the pan so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
In your bowl, whip the egg yolks by hand with a whisk until thick and pale in color (and get a good arm workout). Next, whisk in the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Place the bowl on the saucepan of water and cook yolks, whisking continually. In a few minutes it transforms into a thick light curd. You will know when it is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw your finger through it and the line stays.
Sugar note: if you're reducing sugar in your diet, replace half the sugar with a monk fruit blend. It also works with all monk fruit. Here is the one I use.
Note - for a true lemon curd you'd add butter, but it's not needed for this recipe.
Step 2: Whip Egg Whites
Whip the egg whites until stiff and glossy. For hands-free preparation use a standing mixer with a wire whip attachment or a hand mixer with beaters. Clean the whip or beaters, then use them to whip the cream. See note below recipe.
Step 3: Whip Cream
Lastly, whip your cream. The cream should be cold, and use the clean beaters from whipping the egg whites.
Step 4: Finish and Serve Lemon Mousse
The last step is combining all three parts by gently folding together with a flexible spatula (or gently whisk together). Cover and chill your mousse until serving time. Add fresh berries and top with mint if you'd like.
Love lemon? Try this lemon almond cake.
- Hand mixer with beaters or standing mixer with whisk attachment
- 6 large eggs separated
- ½ cup natural granulated sugar OR monk fruit blend, or ½ and ½
- 2 large lemons zested, juiced and juice strained
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream well chilled
- ½ cup fresh berries or more
- fresh mint leaves
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks while they are cold (it’s a little easier) and set the whites aside to come to room temperature for better volume when you whip them.
- Set up a double boiler. Place a large saucepan on the stove top with a few inches of water in it. Bring the water almost to a boil and turn down to simmer. Choose a stainless steel or glass bowl that will fit on top yet partially inside the pan taking care that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the hot water.
- In the bowl, whip egg yolks with a whisk until thick and pale in color, then whisk in the sugar, 4 tablespoons of strained lemon juice and the lemon zest. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of hot water and cook yolks, whisking until it sets, thickens, and forms a thick pudding or custard, 5-6 minutes. You will know when it it ready when the curd coats the back of a spoon. You’ll be able to draw your finger through it and the line stays. Remove the bowl of lemon custard and set aside to cool. See note below for faster cooling
- While curd is cooling, whip egg whites to stiff, glossy peaks with a standing mixer fitted with a whip attachment or a hand mixer with beaters. Next, whip the cream in a separate bowl. When custard is cool, gently combine all three parts: custard, whipped egg whites and whipped cream. Chill until serving time. Serve in stemmed wine glasses or bowls topped with berries and garnished with mint.