Parfaits a sweet finish to sentimental evening


White chocolate, lemon mousses layered in glasses


Sunday Gourmet

October 12, 2003|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Tribune Media Services

Last week, we had three dinner parties at our house. Never would I have planned so much entertaining in such a short time, but a series of serendipitous events led to this outcome.

The first of our suppers was our anniversary celebration. I proposed a small dinner with friends at home. I had forgotten that this was the same week I had invited two recipe testers and their spouses for a Wednesday-night potluck meal to sample dishes for a future article. Then friends from out of town called, asking if they could visit.

Simple menus would be essential. I braised a ham in the morning, then offered it at room temperature for one dinner. Another day, I roasted fall vegetables early in the day and reheated them at serving time. For each gathering, there were make-ahead desserts: Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse Parfaits for the anniversary fete, a rustic peach tart for the next dinner and a dense chocolate cake for the final soiree. The parfaits turned out to be one of the most popular offerings.

Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse Parfaits

Serves 6

3 large, thick-skinned lemons

4 egg yolks

6 tablespoons sugar

2 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons whipping cream

2 cups (1 pint) raspberries or blueberries or a combination of both, optional

fresh mint sprigs for garnish

To make the lemon mousse, zest enough lemons to yield 1 tablespoon. Juice the same lemons to yield 1/3 cup. Place egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until mixture coats the back of a spoon and is very thick, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a nonreactive medium bowl and cool to room temperature.

To make the white chocolate mousse, place chocolate and 2 1/2 tablespoons cream in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until smooth and creamy. Remove to a medium bowl and set aside to cool 10 minutes.

Whip remaining cream with an electric mixer on high speed until firm. Gently fold half of the cream into the lemon mixture, then gently fold remaining whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture.

Using half of the lemon mousse mixture, mound equal amounts in each of 6 parfait or sundae glasses or 6 large, wide-rimmed wine glasses. Smooth the mousse in each glass with the back of a teaspoon. If adding berries, use a third of them and sprinkle over the lemon mousse in each glass. Using half of the white chocolate mousse, mound equal amounts in each of the glasses and smooth with the back of a teaspoon. Continue in this way, adding one more layer of lemon mousse to each glass, sprinkling with a third of the berries, if desired, and topping with a layer of white chocolate mousse. (The mousse parfaits can be prepared a day ahead; cover the top of each with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

At serving time, garnish each with a mint sprig and some of the remaining berries, if desired.

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