Monday, July 14, 2014

Key Lime Mousse

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Key Lime Mousse
Serves: 8
Difficulty level: Moderate
Key Lime Mousse
Imagine a Key Lime Pie light as a cloud, tart one moment, sweet the next.  Imagine it has done away with distraction of a crust. What you have is this Key Lime Mousse! The key lime is in a class all of its own. Much smaller than regular “Persian” limes, the key lime ranges in size from a Ping-Pong ball to a golf ball. The peel is thin, smooth and greenish-yellow when ripe. The flesh is also greenish-yellow, full of seeds, and divided into 10-12 segments, quite juicy and has a higher acidity than the regular Persian limes. It is valued for its strong aroma and their tart, sharp and incredibly sour taste. The green stage is the early stage of ripening and when the Key Lime’s flavor is strongest.  The yellow stage is a final stage of ripening and the flavor is somewhat mellowed. One quick note here: You cannot bottle fresh flavor. Packaged Key lime juice may look easy but it tastes like the shortcut that it is.  Generally made from concentrate and treated for preservation, it lacks punch and often has metallic undertones. Despite their name, key limes are not exclusive to Florida. In Mexico, the same species of limes are called Mexican limes. Key limes have often been referred to as the “bartender’s lime” and they readily complement a whole host of libations.
Zesting key limes
Used this gizmo to squeeze the lime juice

 At first I tried squeezing all those little itty-bitty Key limes myself. Not so easy. By the third lime I could not feel my fingers. Next I called the cavalry, my muscular husband, to give me a hand. He rallied to the task but alas was also beaten by the task. Lastly, I grabbed my little metal lime squeezer – much much better!  Really…whipped right through the last 12 limes with ease.
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1½ Tb grated lime zest
  • 1¼ C freshly squeezed Key lime juice (about 30 limes)
  • 6 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 gelatin sheets or 1 tsp gelatin powder (optional)
  • Water
  • 1½ C heavy cream, plus additional for garnish if you wish
  • Crushed Amaretto Cookies for garnish, optional 

In a heavy saucepan, whisk sugar, zest, lime juice, eggs and 2 yolks until combined. Set over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Eggs in the saucepan
....then wisk
Bloom gelatin, if using: Submerge gelatin sheets in a small bowl of cold water until soft, 3 minutes. Discard water and stir gelatin into lime mixture. To use powdered gelatin, sprinkle the granules over the surface of less than ¼ C cold water.  Do not dump them in a pile, as the granules in the heap will not dissolve. Let stand 5-10 minutes – then add to warm lime mixture. Stir.

Strain the lime mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a stainless steel or glass-mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour or more.

Push the plastic wrap down on the mixture
Use an electric mixer on medium-high to whip heavy cream until soft-medium peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Gently fold all whipping cream into the cooled lime mixture – starting with half the cream, fold and then finish with rest. Pour into individual cups or ramekins, or a single serving dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 1½ hours. Remove from refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. Serve cold with additional whipped cream and/or crushed amaretto cookies on top.

Whipped cream

....folded into the mixture

Amaretto cookies give a flavorful, crunchy garnish!

This is simply wonderful – tart, sweet, and lip-smacking good.  It also stores beautifully overnight.


Adapted from recipe created by Sunny Raymond of Union Square Café, NYC

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