This Lemon Mousse recipe is a super light and fresh dessert to enjoy on a warm day. Topped with a tangy lemon curd, these lemon mousse cups are perfect for a dinner party or when you are simply after a creamy, refreshing dessert!
Why we love this recipe
On a warm Summer day, we can all agree that no one wants a heavy or rich dessert. These Lemon Mousse are just what you need! They are fairly easy to prepare yet look so impressive. A great way to wow your guest at your next dinner party.
Super light, creamy and oh-so tangy (they are relatively low sugar as always), these Lemon Cups topped with a homemade Lemon Curd have a great kick and a deliciously airy texture.
I love this recipe because:
- The lemon mousse is made out of 5 ingredients only and doesn't have too much added sugar.
- It can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to serve.
- You can use a store-bought lemon curd for an even quicker and easier process.
- It is probably the freshest dessert you will ever try!
The lemon mousse layer of this recipe is quite similar to the Lemon Bavarian Cream used for this Lemon Meringue Cake.
It is made out of 5 ingredients only (scroll down to recipe card for all quantities):
- Lemons: you will need both the Zest and the Juice.
- Eggs: only the Egg Yolks are needed for this recipe; they are used to thicken the cream on the stove. You can keep the egg whites to make Financiers Cakes for example!
- Sugar: Caster Sugar - or fine white granulated sugar.
- Gelatine: I used gelatine powder but you could use one sheet of gelatine rehydrated in very cold water as well. See FAQs section below if you want to make this recipe without gelatine.
- Cream: Heavy/Thickened Cream - or any cream that can be whipped. Note that in order to be whipped, a cream need to have at least 30% fat content.
I used my Tangy Lemon Curd recipe for the topping. It is made out of Lemon Juice & Zest, Egg Yolks, Caster Sugar and Butter. You can also use a store-bought lemon curd if preferred! I personally like to make my own so I can control its sweetness.
How to make Lemon Mousse
The first step is to prepare the lemon mousse layer. It will need to chill in the fridge for a few hours to set so it's best to start in advance!
- Place the Gelatine Powder in a small bowl and stir in some cold water (follow the quantity recommended on the gelatine package, different brands have different recommendations. I personally used about 1 tablespoon of cold water). Set aside.
- Photo 1: Zest the Lemon and place it in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Juice the lemons and place it in a medium size pot.
- Photo 2: in the mixing bowl with the Lemon Zest, whisk together the Egg Yolks and Sugar.
- Photo 3: Heat up the Lemon Juice until it starts to simmer. Carefully pour it over the Egg/Sugar, whisk well then transfer it all back into the pot. This is to temper the egg yolks and make sure they don't cook too quickly.
- Photo 4: turn on medium low heat and keep stirring until the the liquid starts to thicken slightly.
To know the lemon cream is ready, you can either use a food thermometer (it should be about 82'C / 180'F) or check its consistency with a spoon. Dip the back of a spoon in the cream, draw a horizontal line in the cream with your finger (be careful, it'll be hot) then tip the spoon down. If the line stays clear (no cream drips back over it), it's ready.
- Photo 5: remove from the heat and add the gelatine straight away (it should have set into a thick paste by now). Whisk well until all the gelatine has dissolved into the lemon cream. Transfer into a large clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream and place in the fridge to chill for about an hour.
- Photo 6: Place the Heavy / Thicken Cream in the bowl of your mixer (or a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer) and whisk until you get stiff peaks. Make sure not to over-whisk or the cream will start to get grainy.
- Photo 7: gently fold in the whipped cream into the lemon mixture in 3 or 4 times, trying not to deflate the whipped cream. My favourite tip is slowly whisk in a little bit of whipped cream first to help thicken the lemon cream. It will make folding the rest of the whipped cream easier!
If the lemon mixture has set by the time you take it out of the fridge, loosen it slightly with a whisk or spatula before folding in the whipped cream. You can ready more about the "folding" method here.
- Photo 8: you should get a very light mousse. It will appear to be quite runny at this point, it's normal! It will set in the fridge with the gelatine.
- Pour the lemon mousse into the serving cups and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
While the mousses are chilling, you can start preparing the Lemon Curd if you are planning on making a homemade one.
- Photo 9: In a small Pot, whisk together the Lemon Juice & Zest, Egg Yolks and Sugar. Turn on low heat and whisk for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid starts to slightly thicken.
- Photo 10: add the cubed Butter a little bit at the time. Whisk until melted and combined before adding more.
- Photo 11: Continue to cook on low heat whilst continuously whisking for 5 to 15 minutes, or until the curd has thickened. The time it will take might vary based on the temperature of your stove.
Check that the curd is ready the same way you did with the lemon cream, either with a thermometer (82'C/180'F) or by dipping the back of a spoon in the curd and drawing a horizontal line that stays clear when you tip the spoon down.
- Photo 12: (optional) pour the lemon curd through a thin mesh sieve to remove any lumps or bits of cooked eggs.
- Set aside to cool down slightly (about 20 minutes) then pour over the Lemon Mousse layers (they should be fully set first). Place back in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Optional: Before serving, garnish with some Coconut Flakes and fresh Mint Leaves .
Yes, but the texture will be closer to a cream than a mousse (you can see the process in my Mango Mousse where I did not use gelatine). I recommend using more whipped cream than recommended here to help stabilise the mousse.
Absolutely! I personally prefer to make my own as it allows me to control its level of sweetness and I like my curds to be quite tangy.
The lemon mousse will be quite liquid before it chills and sets in the fridge so it might not be the best recipe to use for a cake filling. That being said, you could let it set first then use it as a filling if you want to try.
My favourite way to use leftover egg whites is to make Financiers (aka French Almond Tea Cakes).
Tips for success
- Both the mousse and the lemon curd are quite tangy as they do not have a huge amount of added sugar. If you prefer sweeter dessert, you can increase the quantity of sugar in both elements.
- Don't skip on the chilling and resting time; the temperature of the different preparations are key to get the perfect texture. This is especially important when combining the lemon cream and the whipped cream, as whipped cream will melt if mixed with a warmer cream.
- For a slightly different flavour, try this recipe with other Citrus fruits like Lime, Mandarin or Orange - or combine a few citrus fruits together! Check out my Orange Curd recipe for example.
Storing & Freezing
These lemon cups should be kept in the fridge until ready to serve. They will be best served within 24 hours, but they will stay fresh for up to 3 days. I recommend adding any garnish just before serving.
They are actually best prepared in advance as they require a fair bit of chilling so they are a perfect make-ahead dessert!
This dessert will not freeze well.
More Mousse Recipes
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Lemon Mousse with Lemon Curd
- 1 teaspoon Gelatine Powder - with one tablespoon cold water
- 1 Lemon Zest
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 120 gr (1/2 cup Caster Sugar - or Fine White Granulated Sugar
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) Lemon Juice - about 3 or 4 large lemons
- 240 ml (1 cup) Heavy / Thickened Cream
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) Lemon Juice - about 2 lemons
- 1 Lemon Zest
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 60 gr (1/4 cup) Caster Sugar - or Fine White Granulated Sugar
- 40 gr (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) Unsalted Butter - cubed
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
- Place the Gelatine Powder in a small bowl and mix in some cold water (see ingredients notes below). Set aside.1 teaspoon Gelatine Powder
- Place the zest of 1 Lemon in a heat-proof bowl and mix with the Egg Yolks and Caster Sugar.1 Lemon Zest, 3 Egg Yolks, 120 gr (1/2 cup Caster Sugar
- Place the Lemon Juice in a medium size pot. Bring to a simmer, then pour over the egg/sugar mixture. Whisk well to combine, then pour it all back into the pot.180 ml (3/4 cup) Lemon Juice
- Turn on medium low heat and keep stirring until the the liquid starts to thicken slightly (see note 1). Remove from the heat, add the gelatine and whisk well until dissolved. Transfer into a large clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream and place in the fridge to chill for about an hour.
- Place the Heavy / Thicken Cream in the bowl of your mixer (or a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer) and whisk until you get stiff peaks.240 ml (1 cup) Heavy / Thickened Cream
- Take the Lemon Cream out of the fridge (slightly whisk it to loosen it if required) then gently fold in the whipped cream into the lemon mixture in 3 or 4 times, trying not to deflate the whipped cream (see note 2).
- Pour the lemon mousse into the serving cups and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours (see note 3).
- In a small Pot, whisk together the Lemon Juice & Zest, Egg Yolks and Sugar. Turn on low heat and whisk for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid starts to slightly thicken.2 Egg Yolks, 60 gr (1/4 cup) Caster Sugar, 60 ml (1/4 cup) Lemon Juice, 1 Lemon Zest
- Whisk in the cubed Butter a little bit at the time until all melted and combined. Continue to cook on low heat whilst continuously whisking for 5 to 15 minutes, or until the curd has thickened (see note 4).40 gr (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) Unsalted Butter
- (optional) Pour the lemon curd through a thin mesh sieve to remove any lumps or bits of cooked eggs.
- Set aside for about 20 minutes to cool down slightly, then top over the set Lemon Mousses. Place back in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Optional: garnish with Coconut Flakes and fresh Mint Leaves.
Tried this recipe? Make sure to leave a comment and star rating below!
- Gelatine: follow the water quantity recommended on the gelatine package. Different brands have different recommendations; I personally used about 1 tablespoon of cold water.
- Lemon Juice: you might need more or less lemons depending on how big they are and how much juice they will give you.
- Lemon Zest: I used the zest of 1 lemon for the mousse and 1 lemon for the curd. You can add more if preferred for an even tangier flavour.
- Cream: make sure it has at least 30% fat content, or it will not whip.
- Sugar: both the cream and the curd are quite tangy. If you prefer your desserts to be more on the sweet side, feel free to increase the quantity of sugar.
- To know the lemon cream is ready, you can either use a food thermometer (it should be about 82'C / 180'F) or check its consistency with a spoon. Dip the back of a spoon in the cream, draw a horizontal line in the cream with your finger (be careful, it'll be hot) then tip the spoon down. If the line stays clear (no cream drips back over it), it's ready.
- A good tip to fold the two creams more easily is to first whisk in a little bit of the whipped cream into the lemon cream. This will thicken the lemon cream slightly, which will make folding in the rest of the whipped cream easier.
- The mousse will appear quite runny when you pour it into the cups, that's completely normal. It will set once chilled in the fridge.
- Follow the same technique as described in note 1 to check if the curd is cooked enough.