A Summer Fling
I’d like to start with the fact that I don’t normally get emotionally involved or gush over dessert. Yes. I enjoy decadent treats in moderation: a piece of Victoria sponge or chocolate cake on occasion. I don’t, however, just lose my mind over sweet things…….until last week.
It started out innocently enough. My dad is a fine gardener and always has a bounty of vegetables to share with friends and family. Every summer, he sends my in-laws squash, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, etc. from his garden; and, in an act of reciprocity, my mother-in-law bakes bread or makes a special treat for my parents. About a week ago, after receiving an installment of vegetables from Dad, my mother-in-law sent my parents fresh berries with a homemade “cream” topping. Bless her heart, she even sent some for us.
Of course, Farmguy and I had no inkling this wasn’t any normal berry and cream combination. After dinner, we dished out some berries and dollaped the “cream” on top and proceeded to enjoy our desserts. After one bite, I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh–This. is. SO. good!! It’s not just regular cream–there’s more to it! We’ve GOT to get the recipe from your mother!” The next day, I called Farmguy’s mom to thank her for this unexpected treat and to get the recipe. I went on and on about how much we enjoyed it, and how it was the best thing EVER. The memory is blurry now, but to give you an example of my
crazy unabated enthusiasm for this dessert, I think I may have even said……wait for it…. “it’s so good I could swim in it.” Wow!
Can I just say that I was falling hard for this unlikely “cream” dessert. I was quickly developing an emotional attachment. What was the attraction you may wonder? Well, let me tell you: First off, it’s not cream; it’s lemon mousse. Next, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart—not at all pushy with its sweetness, acidity, or richness, but understated and simple. There’s also the texture which is fluffy and fine as well as silky and smooth. And, there is one more thing. It reminded me of a childhood treat—Creamsicle popsicles (popsicle with a sherbet-like shell and vanilla ice cream center). All of these attributes completely left me with one huge crush on this refreshing summer dessert. I don’t often use the word luscious—-actually, I NEVER use the word luscious—but this time it’s definitely an apt descriptor. This was a luscious dessert!
As I said, I was having a relationship with the lemon mousse, and I missed it once it was gone—which was soon, because there was only a helping for each of us. So, I made a new lemon mousse a few days later. Farmguy and I decided that we should share half of it with my parents, because we didn’t need to consume the entire large bowl ourselves. This being said, it made what was left even more precious to me.
We enjoyed a little lemon mousse each day over fresh berries, and sometimes I would lovingly dip a spoon into the container as I passed the refrigerator now and again. I would just like to get it out there that I am a fairly reasonable and easy going person. I share special treats willingly and am never possessive about food in general. But this was about to change. I didn’t realize how jealous and possessive I was becoming over the lemon mousse, until yesterday evening.
I had been in the den listening to a meditation on “letting more grace into one’s life,” when I walked into the kitchen and spied a dirty spoon on the counter. It had a suspicious film of lemon mousse still on it. I will just tell you that “grace” went right out the window! I quickly glanced up at Farmguy, and accusingly asked, “WHAT have you been eating?” Sitting at the computer in the sunroom, he looked up and said, “I had some of that lemon mousse. It was SO good…I couldn’t stop eating it. I finished it up.” My face must have frozen with a look of disbelief and disappointment. I gasped, “NO, YOU DIDN’T! I can’t BELIEVE you did that! I’ve been looking forward to having some for dessert ALL day!” That’s when a sly smile slithered across his lips, and he said, “I’m just kidding!” I let out a sigh of relief, while realizing in that moment I’d become too involved with this dessert. I knew then that it was just a fling, and I had to end it. I smiled back, and said, “There’s enough left for both of us.”
Here’s the thing: Everyone can use a little, luscious, lemon fling in their lives. So, I decided to share this simple yet wonderful recipe. As I said, it’s fabulous over berries. You could also serve it with pound cake and berries or in a parfait glass with a berry garnish. It’s such a light and refreshing treat—perfect for summer! Just remember….it’s best when shared with someone you love! 🙂
Recipe courtesy of Lynn Burke
*Use organic, non-GMO ingredients when possible
1 small package of low-fat cream cheese
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
zest from one whole lemon
*Special note: Remove cream cheese from refrigerator 1-2 hours before preparation so it may soften.
Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and zest. With mixer on, slowly pour in cream and beat until it’s reached a preferred consistency. The lemon mousse is good with either a thinner or thicker texture.
*Antique linens are circa 1940s and belonged to my grandmother, Lois McManaway Rieley.