I love desserts that have a nice tartness to balance their sweetness, and lemons are a go-to favorite in my house when it comes to after-dinner treats (that and chocolate!).
This recipe is easy, easy, easy! No baking.The only real work involved is hollowing out the lemons to create the cups (but the ooh-ahh factor when serving them makes it worth every minute). It's like serving sunshine in a lemon cup.
I especially love this recipe because it uses a ton of eggs and my hens have just started laying (between the fresh eggs and lemon I get a mousse that is such a beautiful yellow). If your store-bought eggs are a bit lackluster, squeeze in a few drops of yellow food coloring to make the color pop!
4 - 5 large, pretty lemons (to be hollowed out and filled)
2 whole eggs
7 egg yolks
1 1/8 cups sugar
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tsp grated lemon zest
4 Tbsp butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Prepare the lemon cups:
Wash your lemons and cut off the top third to half of the lemon (not the stem end).
Carefully hollow out each lemon using a grapefruit knife or a small paring knife (be careful not to puncture the bottom). Cut just inside the rind (between the rind and the flesh).
Remove juice and flesh (save for the juice you'll need for the lemon cream mousse).
Cut a small slice off the bottom of the lemon shells (being careful not to cut through to the inside of the lemon) so they sit straight and not fall over when placed on a plate. Adjust your cut so the shell sits straight.
Refrigerate the shells while you make the lemon cream mousse.
Make the Lemon Cream Mousse:
In a medium bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisk 2 whole eggs, 7 egg yolks and 1 1/8 cups sugar.
Add lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk for about 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency. To prevent the mixture from overheating, be sure to keep the water just at a simmer. You can take the bowl off the water occasionally while whisking, but return it again.
Remove bowl from heat and pot and add the 4 Tbsp butter.
At this point, you can strain the lemon cream mixture before proceeding if you want a more refined mousse. I like the slightly rough texture of the lemon zest. Straining the mixture should definitely be done if it developed any clumps while cooking.
Let mixture cool in the fridge (cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming). It must be cold to move to the next step.
In a large bowl, beat the whipping cream for a minute or two on medium to high speed. Add 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla to the whipping cream and continue to beat on high until it's thick and fluffy. Don't overbeat or it will turn to butter and have a clumpy consistency.
Refrigerate the whipped cream until ready to use.
Place the lemon cream in a larger bowl (a standing mixer is ideal for this, but a hand held would work well, too), and beat until smooth.
Using a spatula, fold in the cold whipped cream. Blend well and gently, but don't over mix.
Fill the Lemon Cups:
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium to large star tip with the lemon cream mousse.
Take the lemon cups from the refrigerator and arrange nicely on a serving plate or individual plates.
Pipe the lemon cream mousse into the lemon cups.
Refrigerate until ready to serve
Garnish with a sprig of basil, a small fresh flower, zest of lemon, or a slice of strawberry (be creative!).