Monday, February 15, 2010

Luscious Lemon Mousse

While my Valentine's day gift was being unleashed in a cooking store, Mr. Humble's was a camera store. After a decade together, this is how gift giving works between us. We get to buy something with the guarantee of no grief from the other, well... within reason of course. Mr. Humble cannot go out and just buy himself a llama.

All livestock purchases must be discussed in advance.

So Mr. Humble picked up a new lens for his dSLR and of course, I get to play with it today while he is at the laboratory! (Yay for Valentine's day gifts that benefit yourself too, right?)

Since starting the blog, I've learned that my biggest challenge was staging and photographing the food I make. Making food taste good isn't much trouble, making it look good on the computer well, lets just say I had--and still have--a lot to learn.

So this new lens in Mr. Humble's camera bag has a nice wide aperture that lets in tons of light. I shot all of my tart photos with it last night, lit only by ceiling lights! Generally I get awful photos at night, but the photos with this new lens didn't come out too bad.

Apparently this lens (for the camera nerds who actually care it's a Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.8) also gives good bokeh (a funny term to describe the background blur). So armed with his new lens and a bowl of lemon mousse I attempted a daylight shoot.

It has a razor thin plane of focus when I am shooting up close (with moderate light) and everything else becomes fuzzy, in an attractive sort of way. When I can't get the focus in just the right spot, everything ends up looking out of focus (I think I caught the edge of the glass in this one. Yup, that's me the total amateur). Still, this lens is very cool. I just need to learn how to use it properly.

Alright, enough with the camera talk, time to get to the food...

By now everyone has figured out I have a thing for lemon desserts.

It is one of my favorite flavors (up there with marzipan and chocolate). So when I stumbled across Luscious Lemon Desserts this weekend and saw it was well under $20 and packed with recipes, it was impossible not to impulse buy a copy.

(Not livestock, so Mr. Humble can't say a thing!)

This was so good. I'm sure this mousse will find its way into many other dessert creations...

Luscious Lemon Mousse
from Luscious Lemon Desserts
serves 4-6
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon plain gelatin
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks (save the whites for macarons, of course)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

In a small bowl add the water and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Allow it to bloom for 10 minutes and then set the bowl into a dish of hot water and whisk until dissolved.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the sugar, salt, lemon juice and zest. Whisk together and then add the egg yolks. Place over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon (this should take roughly 8-10 minutes). Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle, if it begins to steam remove it from the heat for 20 seconds to allow it to cool then return it to the heat.

Once it has thickened, whisk in the gelatin and then immediately pour through a fine mesh strainer into a second bowl.

Allow this mixture to cool too temperature, stirring occasionally.

Once the lemon curd has cooled, beat the whip cream to stiff peaks. Adding the cream in thirds, gently fold it into the lemon curd.

Divide the lemon mousse between 4-6 bowls and chill for a minimum of two hours before serving.

Top with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a candied violet.

All in all, I'm loving my mousse and Mr. Humble's new toy. More than I love this shot, since my candied violet looks like a dead insect...


  1. I love lemon more than you though. I'm not trying to start an argument, I just definitely do. :)

  2. Ms. Humble you can increase or decrease the amount of things that will be in focus by adjusting the aperture. Do a quick google search for all the information. But try experimenting a bit with really big apertures (small numbers) and really small apertures (big numbers) so you can see the difference. :)

    Oh, and that looks stinking delicious.

  3. Ooooooooo, a 1.8 prime. Ooooooooooo. Ooooooooooooo...sorry.

    Mr Humble probably knows this, but if you're having focus issues set it to use the center dealybopper to focus only (instead of it using the array and picking one, that red light that you see light up before a shot is the focus point it chose). The center point is twice as accurate as the other points anyways, apparently. I started using it for shows when I got sick of a perfectly in focus microphone and a blurred singer.

    Also, the camera focuses on contrasts, so if you can't get exactly what you want by pointing where the shot is, focus on a contrast at the same depth of field and then move the camera to where you want to shoot. For example, you could focus on the line between the white and yellow of the mousse, then slightly move the shot so the spoon is still in frame. This is why its almost impossible to focus on a totally white wall, and why singers with beards are so much easier to shoot!

    Regardless, these look lovely, as have all your photos.

  4. Your photos made my mouth pucker. And I love lemon the most. LOL

  5. As always, 'twas a fun to read post.

    I was wondering *why* Mr. H couldn't purchase a llama... but then you answered my question quite nicely.

    "All livestock purchases must be discussed in advance."

    :) Why of course.

  6. If Mr. Humble can't have the llama, can I have it?

  7. Absolutely!

    Though, I am quite curious as to why you would want/need a llama in LA.

  8. Looks like the lens was a hit. Just saw your pics on TasteSpotting!! And lemon desserts are the best, the book looks awesome.

  9. Llamas are made of win, who doesn't need a llama?

  10. Well he also benefits from your present. You unleashed in a cooking store mean yummy stuff at home later. lol

  11. Ok off to get some fresh lemons...thank you, this looks de-yummo! Hugs, Ingrid

  12. Looks delish!!!
    Thanks Photos are beautiful!!!

  13. Ms. Humble, your photos are always amazing (as are your recipes)! The Pioneer Woman has some pretty great tutorials on all things photo, if you're bored you might check them out...

  14. >> since my candied violet looks like a dead insect...

    I was _wondering_ what that was!

  15. sounds heavenly, i love your photography skills, jealous!

  16. I love lemon desserts! Great job on the photos!

  17. Lemon is my favorite flavor. My lips are puckering and my mouth is watering. I love your photos. Bravo to the food and the way you make it look. You're a rockstar, Mrs. Humble!

  18. That looks delicious. Btw, bokeh comes from the Japanese language. It can also mean crazy. They use it the same way, to describe picture that are not focused.

  19. This mousse looks perfect. I'm bookmarking it! I wish I could just pick up a new lens whenever haha.

  20. *sigh* Lemon...need it, want it, must have it! Next to chocolate, lemon is my fav, too...and **LOL** about your candied-violet insect...I wondered what that was ;) Oh, totally green about the new lens!!

  21. Great work on both mousse and photography! Josephine is correct about the aperature. Decreasing the aperature (increasing the f-stop number) will increase the depth of field and allow you to get more of your subject in focus. The trade-off is a slight reduction in background blur. Also consider using manual focus to ensure you're focusing on the intended point of interest. Now if you'll excuse me, I've suddenly developed a craving for lemon mousse...

  22. AAGGGHHHHH this is good lemon mousse, our family has decided that lemon (a fruit) and mousse (containing dairy), is completely appropriate for breakfast. Thanks for the treat, this one is a keeper.

  23. Wow, this turned out to pretty and it sounds absolutely fabulous! I don't know about everyone else, but this post about lemons has got me ready for Spring!

  24. Oooh man, I just drooled all over my keyboard. I'm so excited that HuffPost posted your science cookies, because now I'm madly in love with your whole blog! (Yes, I would marry it, I don't think my husband would mind at all.)

  25. I made a batch of lemon mousse with my friend today, using the given recipe. It was an instant hit. My brother ate two bowls D:


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