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