Meyer Lemon and Blackberry Parfait Recipe
I spent last week in Southern California. It's become a routine that whenever I find time, I explore farmers' market in the places we visit. I had time to wander around and find new, intriguing ingredients and on this trip, I bought incredibly fragrant pure blackberry extract.
Once I came home, I had one idea in mind: experiment with the new blackberry extract. The result is this luscious creamy, lemony parfait dessert flavored with the oh-so-wonderfully fragrant fruit essence. For a nice contrast of texture, I used mini meringue cookies as the base and topped the miniature dessert cups with fresh blackberries.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Yields: 8 servings4 Meyer lemons
12 mini meringue cookies (click on the link for the recipe or use store-bought)
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
10 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon pure blackberry extract
2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped, then melted in a double boiler
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
1-½ cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar, to taste
1 pinch salt
12 fresh blackberries
Prepping the Meyer cups: Squeeze the lemon juice.
Making lemon curd:
Use a strainer to remove the lemon juice pulp. Place the juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer and heat for 3 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 1-2 tablespoons of concentrated juice. Remove from the heat. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve one more time so the mousse will be silky.
With a handheld mixer, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a small stainless steel (or heat-proof) mixing bowl until you get a pale yellow foam.
Prepare a double boiler: Fill a saucepan with water, making sure the water barely covers the bottom of the stainless steel mixing bowl you'll put on top. I always like to add a little kitchen towel on top of the saucepan. so the bowl won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in your egg mixture. Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the stainless steel bowl over the saucepan and, using the handheld mixer, start whisking the egg mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes to thicken the texture of the egg yolks. The mixture should fall like a ribbon of sauce when you lift the whisk. Add the concentrated lemon juice and melted white chocolate. Stir constantly using a silicone spatula. The mixture will thicken. Remove the saucepan from the stove.
Note: A way to know that the lemon curd is ready (so the egg yolks are fully cooked) is to use a digital thermometer and wait until the temperature reaches 160-175°F.
Making blackberry lemon parfait:
In another mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar to soften it. Slowly add the lemon curd to the mascarpone cheese, adding just a little curd at a time. Add the blackberry extract.
Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water. Always make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whipping cream for optimum results. Rinse with cold water to ensure the blades are cold. The whipping cream should also be whipped cold. Whip the cream (at low speed) for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar. Increase to maximum speed and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes, until it forms soft peaks.
Pour ⅓ of the whipped cream into the lemon/blackberry mixture. Mix well using a silicone spatula. Pour in the rest of the whipped cream; gently fold in the whipped cream to get a light, airy mousse.
Transfer the lemon mousse to a piping bag.
Line up 12 mini tall glasses. Place a meringue cookie in the bottom of each glass.
Pipe the mousse to fill the narrow glass. Level and even out the top with a spreader or spatula. Place the filled desserts in a large food storage container. Seal it with the lid and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up some other food odor from the refrigerator if the container isn't sealed properly.
When you're ready to serve, top with fresh blackberries and decorate with a dusting of powdered sugar.