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Meyer Lemon Mousse with Graham Cracker Crumble

Juicy and mildly tart, Meyer lemons have a deep yellow color and fragrant skins. Their juice and zest give this mousse a fresh, bright flavor, while ricotta cheese lends it substance and body. Buttered and sugared graham cracker crumbs layered into the mousse and sprinkled on top add sweetness and a crisp contrast in texture.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. (1 sleeve from a 14-oz. box) graham crackers  
  • 3 Tbs. plus 1 2/3 cups sugar 
  • Salt, as needed 
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) 
  • 5 Meyer lemons 
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Add the graham crackers to a food processor, pulse to break them up a bit and then process into fine crumbs. Add the 3 Tbs. sugar, a pinch of salt and the 8 Tbs. melted butter and pulse until the mixture comes together in small nuggets. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Finely grate 1 Tbs. zest from the lemons, then squeeze 1 cup juice. Add the zest and juice to a nonreactive saucepan. Whisk in the eggs, 1 1/3 cups of the sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and turns bright yellow, 4 to 5 minutes (do not let the mixture boil).

Remove from the heat, whisk in the 6 Tbs. butter and then strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.

Using a stand mixer, beat the cream and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar until the cream holds firm peaks. Add the chilled lemon curd and the ricotta and beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

When ready to serve, spoon half of the mousse into the bottom of each of 6 parfait glasses, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle with half of the graham cracker crumble, again dividing evenly. Repeat the layering with the remaining mousse and graham cracker crumble and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).