There are a few times a year when I decide I should stop eating so much chocolate and cookies, at least for a little while. In anticipation of a trip to the U.S. and Mexico, where food would obviously be a central part of my life, I felt that letting chocolate go for a few days was the right thing to do (a few days into the trip, I can confirm that).
Oh, it was difficult, all right. At least in the beginning: going from two squares of chocolate per day to two in ten days is a feat by my standards. As for savory dishes, it wasn't as trying: I was back in Saint Dié and we had lean meat and an all-you-can-eat blowout of vegetables. Sounds good, doesn't it? It was.
However, as much as I enjoy non-fat fruit yogurts, there came a moment when I just needed a real dessert. (That's excluding the chocolate-specked brioche I had as a snack one day, but it sure was worth it.) I thought of all the real desserts I felt like eating. Layer cake: not an option. Strawberry tart: come on, it's not the season. Ice cream: none now = more later. Chocolate mousse: I wish. Oh, but mousse...
For a while now, Mary over at One Perfect Bite has been featuring recipes with lemon. If there's one thing I love as much as chocolate, it just might be lemon. I had bookmarked her frozen lemon parfaits, and decided they would be a great, light dessert. Well, except for the heavy whipping cream. I definitely agree that de temps en temps, it feels good to have something a little indulgent. I was also intrigued by how I could tweak her recipe and use fat-free fromage blanc (like a thicker yogurt) in place of the cream.
The result hit the spot. I'll admit I used Splenda instead of sugar--hey, I was taking this diet thing all the way--and that may not be the best idea, especially when you're whipping up a meringue, albeit uncooked. Even with the fake sugar, though, we really enjoyed our mousse. It felt like a true dessert, completely guilt-free and filled with a fresh tang that seemed to be a perfect prelude to Spring.
And a perfect prelude to the end of my sweet-tooth "diet". Bring on the chocolate!
Light Lemon Frozen Mousse
adapted from One Perfect Bite
1 TB lemon zest
1/3 c. strained lemon juice
2 medium eggs, separated
2/3 c. granulated sugar, divided (I used an artificial sweetener: if you do, you might want to use a little less)
pinch cream of tartar
2/3 c. thick yogurt or fromage blanc, any kind
1 TB confectioner's sugar
Whisk egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and half of sugar / sweetener in a saucepan. Whisk together and heat over medium-high until mixture reaches a temperature of 160-170°F, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Let cool completely.
Whisk egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar together on medium speed until soft peaks form. Keep beating, incorporating remaining sugar delicately until whites hold stiff peaks. Fold into cooled lemon mixture.
Clean out bowl and beat yogurt with confectioner's sugar for a minute on high speed. Fold into lemon/whites. Pour into glasses or bowls, cover, and freeze for at least two hours.
Remove from freezer 30 minutes to an hour before serving.