Lemons get a bad rap. They're often associated with everything that goes wrong in life: A car that breaks down is a lemon. A series of unfortunate events spurs us to make lemonade (to soften the blow). But leave it to Aerin Lauder to elevate lemon from sour to chic.
The newest member of her Premier Collection of fragrances, Limone di Sicilia, is inspired by the brilliant sunlight of southern Italy. I just returned from Capri, Aerin explains of her inspiration to create a citrus fragrance. And everywhere there are these beautiful, oversized lemons with an incredible green leaf, so I thought it would be such an interesting fruit to do a fragrance around. The creation features lemon, of course, but as part of a luxurious citrus floral blend that also includes an artisanal co-distillation of bergamot and muguet de mai, along with notes of Italian mandarin, Egyptian jasmine, rose centifolia, ambrox, and oak moss.
Since lemons are such a recognizable ingredient, both in fragrance and in flavour, we tapped Aerin to share her go-to lemon-infused recipe. My mother always uses fruits on the table as centerpieces, she says, and I think there's something so magical about a lemon, so it would be fun to incorporate that into a table scape.
Lemon mousse is the perfect refreshing dessert, Aerin explains. I especially like to put it in individual, pretty containers to create an element of surprise. Read on to get the recipe for Aerin's favourite lemon mousse, ideal for enjoying outdoors, preferably under a lemon tree. Or while sipping lemonade. Or, at the very least, while wearing Limone di Sicilia.
Lemon mousse is the perfect refreshing dessert. I especially like to put it in individual, pretty containers to create an element of surprise.
Ina Garten’s Fresh Lemon Mousse
- 3 extra-large whole eggs
- 3 extra-large eggs, separated
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup good bottled lemon curd, at room temperature
- Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
- Sliced lemon, for garnish
In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together the 3 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture is thick like pudding. (I change to a whisk when the mixture starts to get thick.) Take off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until completely chilled.
Place half the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until the whites are stiff and shiny. Carefully fold the beaten whites into the cold lemon mixture with a rubber spatula. Place the cream in the same bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (no need to clean the bowl) and beat on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture. Fold in the lemon curd, and pour into a 7-inch-diameter, 3-inch-deep souffle dish. Decorate with sweetened whipped cream and lemon slices that have been cut into quarters. Chill and serve cold.
Sweetened Whipped Cream:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium and then high speed until the cream just forms still peaks. Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.