Lemon Custard Gratine with Fresh Berries and Candied Lemons
These chilled lemon and berry mousses are unmolded onto dessert plates and garnished with candied lemon slices, lemon and berry sauces, and fresh berries. The candied lemons could appear as a garnish on other desserts.
- Candied Lemons
- Lemons - 2
- Sugar - 2 cups, plus more for dipping
- Water - 2 cups
- Lemon Custards
- Unflavored Gelatin - 1-1/2 tablespoons (1-1/2 envelopes)
- Cold Water - 1/4 cup
- Fresh lemon juice - 1/2 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 tablespoons
- Lemon zest - Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Sugar - 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- Flour - 1 tablespoon
- Egg Whites - 3, at room temperature
- Fresh Raspberries - 2 cups (alt. other fresh berries)
- Lemon Sauce
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Chilled reserved cooking liquid (above) - 1/2 cup
- Raspberry sauce - 1 cup
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Mixed fresh berries - 4 cups
- Mint leaves - 1/4 cup, julienned
To make the candied lemons: Cut the lemons in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thin 1/8-inch slices. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and lemon slices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lemons are translucent and tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Chill the liquid. Dip the warm lemon slices in additional sugar, coating both sides generously. Spread the slices on a tray lined with waxed paper and let dry for 4 hours.
To make the custards: In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and cold water and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice, cream, and zest, and bring the mixture to a boil. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the 1/2 cup sugar together until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the flour and whisk together again, then slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan, place over low heat, and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the lemon mixture into the softened gelatin and stir until smooth. Pour the gelatin mixture into the saucepan with the lemon mixture and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Arrange eight 4-ounce ring molds on a tray lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the 2 tablespoons sugar until firm and glossy peaks form. Mix a small amount of the beaten egg whites into the cooled lemon mixture to lighten. Gently fold the lemon mixture into the remaining beaten egg whites. Fill the molds half way with the custard, add a layer of raspberries, then fill with the remaining custard. Smooth the top of each with the back of a knife. Chill for at least two hours.
To make the lemon sauce: In a deep bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the lemon liquid until blended. Set aside.
To serve: Preheat the broiler (you could also use a small blowtorch). Spoon some of the lemon sauce into each of eight shallow soup bowls. Drizzle raspberry sauce around the outer edge and arrange berries on top. Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edge of the molds, invert, and unmold a custard into the center of each bowl. Dust the top of each custard with confectioner’s sugar. Place the bowls 2 inches from the broiler for 10 seconds to caramelize the sugar. Remove from the broiler, dust with more sugar, and caramelize again. Garnish with candied lemon slices, using 3 to 4 per serving. Sprinkle julienned mint around the plates.