Lemon Mousse

April 17, 2011

As I have gotten older it seems that my tastes have changed. I’m not just talking about clothes (I finally just gave away a bunch of clothes I had since high school. Trust me, it was time.) It is true with food too. Even cilantro, which I used to hate in even the tiniest amounts, has become tolerable to me when cooked. Before when I went out to eat I used to always gravitate towards the richest, most chocolately dessert on the menu. Flourless chocolate cake with a rich caramel sauce was sure to call my name, no matter the occasion. Now, however, I find myself craving light and flavorful desserts in addition to the heavy and rich ones. That doesn’t mean I never want to order the richest thing on the menu, but I find myself choosing citrus and fruit desserts much more often than I used to.

It was a craving for something light and citrusy that led me to create this mousse. Light flavors are sometimes harder to make parve than richer flavors like chocolate or peanut butter, because there is less there to mask the fact that you aren’t using dairy products. However in this mousse the lack of dairy products actually lets the lemon flavor shine through. Instead of tasting like lemon whipped cream (which is delicious in its own right) this mousse tastes like a light and fluffy lemon curd. Intensely lemony but at the same time not too tart or heavy, it strikes that balance between lightness and flavor. This mousse is delicious on its own, but it would also make a great component as part of a cake or in a trifle. I preferred it chilled, but it can also be frozen which gives it an ice cream like consistency. Quick and easy to make it is the perfect spring dessert.


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Ingredients & Quantities

  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, separated*
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, (9 oz) divided

Cooking Instructions

Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and 6 tablespoons (3 oz) sugar in a large microwave safe bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Cook in the microwave for one minute. Remove the bowl from the microwave and whisk well. Cook for another minute and whisk again. Cook for 30 seconds and whisk again. Keep cooking in 30 second intervals until the curd thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the curd through the strainer into the medium bowl and use a spatula to force as much of the curd through the strainer as possible. Let curd cool to room temperature.

Place the egg whites and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in bowl of mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir continuously until the whites are warm and the sugar has dissolved. Using the whisk attachment beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Place 1/4 of the egg whites into the bowl with the lemon curd and stir to combine. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Pour the mousse into serving cups and chill until cold. (It can also be frozen.)


  1. Beautiful mousse, Shoshana! Given the choice between a tangy lemon dessert & chocolate, I’d probably pick the lemon one too. At least this time of year. Strange how things change (but for the better). 🙂

    • I have made it a day ahead but any more than that and the texture starts to break down. The lemon curd part can be made up to a week in advance, however, and then you can just make the meringue and fold it in the day you want to serve it.

    • Absolutely! I posted the microwave version since people often don’t know that curd can be made in a microwave rather on the stovetop. To make it stove top the most reliable method is to place the curd ingredients in a bowl over simmering water (like a double boiler) and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. This can also be done carefully in a regular pan over medium low heat but there is a higher risk of overcooking the curd and scrambling the eggs that way. Enjoy!

  2. Wonderful recipe, not too rich, smooth and tasty. One thing, my microwave is powerful, so I gave the lemon and eggs mix 30 seconds, then 25 and 20, whisking well between blasts. That gave a perfect consistency, with no scrambled eggs!

  3. I just made this tonight for a late Thanksgiving dinner (tomorrow) and it turned out wonderfully. Your instructions were so clear, I wasn’t confused at all and I’ve never made a lemon curd or a meringue before. I will absolutely be making this much more often!

  4. Hi, Not to be a know it all but I thought people may like to know… If you make the curd in the traditional stovetop way you temper the eggs making them totally safe to eat! (IDK if it works the same in the microwave but kudos to you for thinking that one up! I’m a total microwave chef 😉

    • You are completely correct about the curd. In both this method and the traditional stovetop method the curd is completely cooked. There reason I mentioned the risk of uncooked eggs in this recipe is not because of the curd but because of the egg whites. The egg whites in this recipe are completely raw, they are simply beaten and folded into the curd. Hope that clears up any confusion.

  5. Hi Shoshana,

    This recipe (and all of your recipes actually) sound amazing! I am traveling a few hours to my thanksgiving destination. Do you think the mouse will hold up in a cooler bag for a few hours?

  6. I’ve just made this as dessert for my friends, and it’s fabulous! I’ve added a few berries into the bottom of the glass, and the mousse is so refreshing. Many thanks. I’ll be doing this again.

  7. Super delicious. Really great to have another dairy free option that tastes creamy and fabulous. I served it with a roasted white chocolate crumb.

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