Spring Celebration: Luscious Lemon Cream

This fluffy lemon dessert is like a mousse—only much easier to make.

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Sweet lemon cream is an uplifting conclusion to a spring feast.

Photo By Joe Coca

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Luscious Lemon Cream
Makes about 2 1/2 cups 

This fluffy lemon dessert is like a mousse—only much easier to make. The lemon curd base can be made ahead, with leftovers used in tarts, on toast or scones, or as a cake filling.

3 medium lemons, for zest and 1/2 cup juice
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Remove the zest from the lemons with a fine zester or grater, and squeeze the lemons. Strain to remove the seeds.

2. Combine the zest, juice, butter, and 1 cup of the sugar in the top of a double boiler. Place over simmering water. Stir the ingredients occasionally until they are dissolved, blended, and hot to the touch.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well and pour them through a strainer into the top of the double boiler. Stir often while the mixture thickens until it sheets off the spoon, about 10 minutes (150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer).

4. Remove the top part of the double boiler from the bottom and stir the curd occasionally as it cools. Once you can put your hands on the outside of the pan, cover the top of the curd with wax paper and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.

5. Beat the whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and blend well. Fold 11/2 cups of the curd into the whipped cream, reserving the remainder for another use. The lemon cream can be served immediately or refrigerated until needed. If refrigerated, you may need to whisk it just before serving.