Chocolate, the darker the better, has always been one of my favorite indulgences. Whether eaten by itself in chunks, or used to create a decadent dessert, it is always wonderful, any time of day or night, without exception. In the past years, however, I have found myself exploring desserts that are more subtle, whose flavors taste at first like mere suggestions, but then seem to expand and enrichen on the palate with every passing moment. Lavender, honey, raspberry, chai spice, almond, pear, and many others, create delicate and wonderful desserts that can be, if I may say, as luxurious as the best of dark chocolates.
In the store the other day Meyer lemons were in stock. Having no specific plan for their use, I bought a bag anyway and took them home. Lemons, I thought, a most useful ingredient for so many different types of cooking. What to do with them, these bright, sunny fruits? Making a jar of preserved lemons seemed to be in order, so I used a few for that. Squeezed into a mashed avocado with salt and pepper? Check. The juice shaken with olive oil, a touch of grainy mustard, and a dash of seasoning to create a dressing for mixed greens? Wonderful. But I still had a few left, and my thoughts turned to sweeter preparations.
I have eliminated sugar from my diet for the most part, and feel much better for it, but sometimes, sometimes, one must indulge. (That is one philosophy of life, and it seems to have great merit.) To that end, I decided to concoct a simple lemon mousse with white chocolate. The recipe below results from that effort. It is light and delicate, and yet rich and creamy, all at once, shifting and mingling. Easy enough to make for no particular reason, it is also eminently suitable to serve at the end of a fine meal. You won’t miss the dark chocolate one bit.
Lemon White Chocolate Mousse
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
6T white sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup lemon or Meyer lemon juice
Put the chocolate, sugar, and eggs in a blender, and whirl just until the chocolate is chopped more finely. Bring the milk to a slight boil, then pour into the blender and whirl until the mixture is smooth, and the chocolate has melted completely, about 3o seconds. Pour in the lemon juice and brandy, and briefly whirl to incorporate. Pour into eight 4 ounces ramekins, or little teacups, and refrigerate until firmed, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve with whipped cream, a sprinkle of chopped mint, or as is.