Lemon Mousse Napoleon
Stacks of lemon mousse and tuiles decorated with fruit create a dessert which is at once elegant and light on the palate. This is a lovely finish for a dinner party. Everything can be prepared ahead of time, then assembled and brought to the table. Note that the mousse is made with Italian meringue, which holds up better than standard meringue (Italian meringue is made with cooked sugar beaten into the egg whites).
- Almonds - 6 ounces, finely chopped
- Unsalted Butter - 1-1/2 sticks (6 ounces), cut into small pieces
- Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 1/3 cup
- Vanilla - 1 tablespoon
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/4 cup
- Lemon Mousse Filling
- Lemon curd - 2 cups (purchased or home-made, recipe below)
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Water - 1 cup
- Egg Whites - 8, (1 cup egg whites)
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups, beaten to firm peaks
- Strawberries - 12 large, hulled and quartered lengthwise
- Blackberries - 2 cups
- Raspberries - 2 cups
- Mint sprigs - 4
- Raspberry Puree - 1 cup, strained
To make the tuiles: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line 2 baking sheets with lightly buttered parchment paper. Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and put over medium heat, stirring gently with a whisk until all ingredients have melted and the mixture is smooth. Drop a large spoonful of batter on the parchment and spread out thin with the back of the spoon; make at least 12 tuiles. Bake 4 to 6 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes; pull off the parchment and cool completely on wire racks. Set aside in a cool, dry place. Bake in batches if necessary.
To make the filling: Put the lemon curd in a large mixing bowl. Put the sugar and water in a sauce pan and heat without stirring over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil and reaches 235 F, soft-ball stage. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the mixer running on medium, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has cooled. Fold a large spoonful into the lemon curd to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the meringue. Fold a large spoonful of whipped cream into the lemon mixture, then fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Do not overmix; maintain the volume and lightness of the mixture.
To serve: On each of four chilled dessert plates, place four strawberry quarters in a star pattern in the center. Sprinkle some blackberries and raspberries around the strawberry quarters. Put a large spoonful of lemon mousse over the berries and place a tuile on top. Repeat with the fruit pattern and another spoonful of mousse; place another tuile on top. Place a sprig of mint on each. Spoon raspberry puree around each plate.
12 egg yolks
2 cups fresh lemon juice
2 cups sugar
Whisk the ingredients together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Continue whisking gently until it thickens and forms a pudding-like mixture. Remove from heat and let cool.