Lemon Honeycomb Mold

Here is one more summer dessert recipe. I have lost count of how many times I have read Laurie Colwin’s books Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. I love her writing and feel, when I read her books, that I am in the kitchen chatting with a friend. One of the most intriguing and delicious recipes that I have made and adapted came from her second book, More Home Cooking, and is called “Honeycomb Mould.” The original recipe came from the charming English food writer Jane Grigson. It is a three-layer gelatin dessert similar to panna cotta but contains eggs. It looks like lemon mousse when you put it in the refrigerator to set, but when you un-mold the dessert there are three distinct layers: a spongy mousse-like bottom layer, a custard layer like panna cotta, and a thin clear jelly on top. Last night I hosted our book club and we read an English maid’s memoir Below Stairs by Margaret Powell, the inspiration for Downton Abbey. In keeping with the British theme I made this English custard. I surrounded the custard with fresh figs dabbed with a bit of mascarpone honey cream for a lovely presentation. Everyone enjoyed it, including my teen son, who ate the majority of the leftovers and has never been a custard fan. I used a beautiful English pudding mold I bought 6 years ago when we spent a summer living in Cambridge. A regular gelatin mold would work just as well.

Lemon Honeycomb Mold
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 envelop unflavored gelatin
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. heavy cream
2 pinches of salt
1-1/2 c. half and half (or whole milk)
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Lightly spray a 4-cup pudding or gelatin mold and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine egg yolks, lemon zest, gelatin, sugar, heavy cream, and 1 pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth and set aside. In the top of a double boiler heat half and half until almost boiling. While the half and half is heating beat egg whites with 1 pinch of salt until stiff. Set aside. When half and half is hot whisk in egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly until you have a thin smooth custard. This should take 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Remove from stove and place custard in a clean bowl. Fold in egg whites. Let stand 5 minutes to cool slightly. Pour into prepared mold. Cover and chill overnight. When ready to serve run a knife around the custard edges. Place bottom of mold in warm water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving platter. Serves 6.

Note: If you would like to use figs and mascarpone honey cream in your presentation, wash and cut figs in half and place around the custard. In a mixing bowl combine 1 (8 oz.) container of mascarpone cheese, 1 c. heavy cream, 1/4 c. honey and 3/4 tsp. vanilla. Beat for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Do not over beat. Spoon a bit of cream onto each fig and serve.

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This entry was posted in Custards, Desserts, Fruit. Bookmark the permalink.

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