Lemon chiffon mousse. The name really doesn’t do this dessert justice. Imagine an edible lemon cloud – a citrusy, airy delight with a texture that combines fluffiness and creaminess. Now, put that lemon cloud in a delicate glass.
Next, take a spoonful. Heavenly.
I’ve had this recipe for years. My handwritten version, kept in a looseleaf notebook, is stained from times when I dribbled mousse on the page as I peered over the ingredient list or directions.
When we were newlyweds, it was the only non-chocolate dessert I made for parties. As we planned events, someone would inevitably ask if there would be lemon chiffon mousse. And the answer was always yes – until I started to see news reports about the risks of salmonella from eating foods containing raw, unpasteurized eggs.
My recipe called for raw eggs and the only eggs I knew about were unpasteurized, so reluctantly I stopped making the mousse.
Then I discovered Safest Choice™ eggs, which are pasteurized. That process kills salmonella, making it safe to eat or use them raw. So now I’m back in business, making my beloved lemon chiffon mousse.
The ingredients are few (7, or 8 if you count a bit of water, not shown in the photo below)
and the steps to go from ingredients to mousse are quite simple:
- Combine the yolks and sugar;
- Add the lemon rind and juice:
- Mix in the whipped cream, then the dissolved gelatin;
- And finally, fold in whipped egg whites.
The pasteurization process does not change the color or taste of the eggs. It does however mean that when whipping them, as this recipe calls for, you need to add cream of tartar or lemon juice. I learned that lesson two years ago, and even did an experiment to see how much cream of tartar works best when whipping pasteurized egg whites.
The original recipe called for only a pinch of cream of tartar. I’ve upped that amount to 1 and 1/4 teaspoons in accordance with advice from Rose Levy Berenbaum, an amazing baker and the author of The Baking Bible.
My official taste tester has always been a huge fan of this dessert and remembers the taste of the original quite well. After insisting that he had to try the test batch of the mousse several times this weekend, with each spoonful he sighed happily. When finally sated, he delivered his verdict – this version with pasteurized eggs and more cream of tartar tastes just the same, and just as wonderful, as did the original lemon chiffon mousse.