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Fresh Lime Mousse

Fresh Lime Mousse
Gelatin is an odorless, colorless, tasteless thickener derived from collagen, a protein extracted from the bones, cartilage and tendons of animals. Two forms are available: powdered gelatin, popular with American cooks, and sheet or leaf gelatin, which is commonly used in Europe. Do not confuse powdered gelatin with the sweetened, fruit-flavored gelatin desserts sold in boxes. Both powdered and leaf gelatin must be rehydrated, or allowed to "bloom," in cool water and then melted before they can be added to a recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) unflavored powdered
     gelatin
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions:

Prepare four 4-fl.-oz. ramekins by wrapping each one with a parchment paper collar: Cut a length of parchment paper 2 inches longer than the circumference of a ramekin and at least 5 inches wide. Fold the paper in half lengthwise, wrap it around the outside of the dish so that it extends 2 inches above the rim, and secure with a rubber band.

Prepare an ice bath by partially filling a large bowl or the sink with cold water and ice cubes.

Pour the water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the granulated sugar, salt, lime zest, lime juice and egg yolks. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and the gelatin melts completely, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Set the saucepan in the ice bath until the mixture is cool to the touch. Remove the pan from the ice bath and let stand at room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the cream and confectioners' sugar. Using a wire whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until soft peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the lime mixture to the cream and, with a rubber spatula, fold together until smooth. Pour the mousse into the prepared ramekins, dividing it evenly.

Refrigerate the mousse until it is cold and firm, 2 to 3 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. To remove the collar, snip the rubber band and gently pull the parchment away from the mousse. Serves 4.

Note: This dish contains egg yolks that may be only partially cooked. They run a risk of being infected with salmonella or other bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning. This risk is of most concern to small children, older people, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. If you have health and safety concerns, do not consume undercooked eggs.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Fruit Dessert, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2004).