Lemon White Chocolate Mousse Berry Parfaits

I just couldn’t let the Fourth of July pass without making some sort of red, white and blue dessert.  In case you are still looking for ideas, this one is easy and beautiful.  Layers of lemon mousse, fresh berries and white chocolate mousse are stacked in whatever serving dish you choose.  I haven’t always been a lemon lover and even though I now like a lot of lemon desserts, lemon curd still grosses me out.  I was super skeptical even after folding the curd into the whipped cream and taking a tiny sample taste.  But something magical must have happened in the time the desserts were chilling in the fridge.  I suppose the flavors needed time to meld.  When I served them, I ate mine in record time.  The white chocolate mousse was of course my favorite component, but the spoonful containing a little bit of each layer was fantastic.  The flavors are so bright, and the light texture makes this perfect for summer.

Here’s the other great thing about this dessert – it’s very adaptable.  If you dislike lemon even more than I do, skip that part of the recipe and melt double the amount of white chocolate you melt.  If you aren’t crazy about white chocolate or are a serious lemon lover, make twice the amount of lemon curd so you can do all lemon mousse.  Personally I’ll continue to make it with both types of mousse because the layering of flavors was just right.  Enjoy!

Lemon White Chocolate Mousse and Berry Parfaits
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8 servings

5 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
4 tsp. lemon zest
Pinch of salt
¼ cup plus 2 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
3.5 oz. good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
4-5 cups assorted berries (I used sliced strawberries and blueberries)

To make the lemon curd, combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers about 170˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd (this prevents it from forming a skin.)  Cool until the mixture is at least at room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine ¼ cup of the heavy cream in a heatproof bowl with the white chocolate.  Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Once both the lemon curd and white chocolate mixtures have cooled, beat the remaining heavy cream in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  Once the cream is fully whipped, divide the mixture between the two bowls with the lemon curd and the melted white chocolate.  Gently fold the whipped cream into each until well incorporated, smooth and no streaks remain.

Layer the lemon mousse and white chocolate mousse as desired in serving dishes with berries between the layers.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Bon Appetit, April 2009

27 Responses

  1. Yay! I’ve been waiting for you to post these! SO yummy! I admit, I was skeptical of the lemon flavor as well – but it was so refreshing!

  2. I’m pretty sure you just won my heart with this one! I was going to make some festive rice krispie treats but now .. oh now .. I will make this in a trifle bowl!! YUM!

  3. I love lemon and berries so this looks perfect. Also I got some new glasses that are just begging to be filled with a beautiful parfait!

  4. These parfaits sound wonderful!

  5. I am already thinking up a reason to have a party so I can make these!

  6. I was really looking for a 4th of July dessert that was inspiring me. This is definitely it! Although I also love the cupcakes you have under “Forth of July food”, and the summer berry pie and the berry shortcakes…Oh well, I guess I’ll have to try them all.

  7. Beautiful! The mousse looks and sounds delicious — I’m totally going to give it a try this weekend. 🙂

    By the way, I adore your site!!!

  8. This sounds YUMMY!!!! I can’t wait to try!!

  9. I guess I’m one of those people who are anti lemon, but the custard came out tasting more like egg than lemon. I just whipped up two batches of the white chocolate mousse and my dessert is ready to go tonight. Thanks for the idea!

    • Yes, it does taste eggy until it’s mixed with the whipped cream. You really need that to cut the egg/lemon flavor.

  10. I actually have been going through a list of ideas on what dessert to bring to a Fourth of July party, but am not too convinced on any of my choices. This, however, is SUCH a perfect idea! Do you think the mousse would keep well in a cooler on a 30-minute drive?

    • Georgia, I think as long as the mousse has been fully chilled and set before you leave, that would be fine. Enjoy!

  11. I’d love to know if you have a particular brand/type of white chocolate that you like to use. I tend to steer away from recipes that involve melting it because I’ve botched a few attempts! (I’m sure I was doing something wrong)… lemon curd is unusual, but we like to eat it spooned over pound cake with fresh berries and whipped cream- divine!

    • Mary Beth, I pretty much always use Ghirardelli unless I happen to have Callebaut on hand. It always works well for me but the key seems to be the double boiler method.

  12. Looks like I found the perfect dessert for the fourth! yum!

  13. These mousse parfaits look incredible! As a lemon curd lover myself, the flavors sound absolutely delicious. I think the commenter above is on to something about layering it all in a trifle dish – great idea!

  14. I really want to try this recipe, but I don’t have a stand mixer. Would this still work with just a hand-held electric mixer?

  15. Good to know Annie! I’ll try that next time!

  16. these look amazing, and would be perfect for this weekend!

  17. Yummo! I just made these. So easy and it turned out perfectly! It looks just like yours! I love your blog and the delicious recipes you have!

  18. Annie, this looks absolutely tasty!

  19. Hi Annie,
    I want to make these for a dinner party and was wondering if I could make the mousse the night before (and then layer the next day before the party)? Thanks!

    • Hi Grace,
      No, you need to layer it while the mousse is just made. It will “set” once you let it chill, so it needs to be layered at that time. You can do the whole thing in advance though – that is the best way to do it.

  20. Thx Annie. Do you think the fruit would keep well if I layered and set it the night before the dinner?

  21. Annie! The parfaits were a hit and made me look like a rock star! I made these instead of a traditional birthday cake and it was scrapped up. Thank you for your awesome recipes!

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