Frozen Citrus Mousse (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


You may have heard that we had a hurricane here in the Boston area over the weekend. Except we didn’t, really. By the time Irene arrived in Beantown, she was considerably weakened and downgraded to a still-potentially dangerous tropical storm. And for those of us who don’t live in seashore communities, her effects were pretty mild. At our house, there was some gusty wind, lots of rain, and a few large tree branches in our yard. That was it. So was it worth all the hype? I certainly think so. After Katrina, community leaders can’t afford to be complacent. They need to be proactive instead of reactive when facing a storm such as this. So we heeded their advice and took some precautions, filled containers with drinking water, cleared our patio of furniture, grill and potted plants, and made sure we had flashlights, batteries, and transistor radio at the ready. All of these measures turned out to be unnecessary, but that, of course, is a good thing.

We also spent most of Saturday cooking our little hearts out. This wasn’t hurricane prep so much as we just felt like it. I picked every single tomato from our garden that even a hint of colour, thinking that I’d rather them ripen inside than end up blowing away in fierce winds. With those that were fully ripe, plus a few pounds from the farmer’s market, I canned tomatoes to have some for the winter. I also made some lovely gazpacho for dinner. My husband made burgers with the intention of grilling them, but it had already begun raining by Saturday afternoon, so they were cooked on the stovetop. We cooked some ribs too, having found some on sale at the grocery store. And I made a lovely frozen treat that I’d had my eye on for quite some time.

The inspiration for this came from a cookbook I was given at my bridal shower. It’s crazy to think that this was almost 10 years ago! It’s one of those gorgeous, picture-filled cookbooks from Williams-Sonoma, simply titled “Dessert”. One of my good childhood friends knew that such a book would appeal to me greatly, and it certainly did. I haven’t actually made that many items from it, but it’s one of those books that is just a pleasure to look at and thumb through. And I happened to be thumbing through it this summer, when the recipe caught my eye as a perfect candidate for a low carb makeover.

There was so much to love about the recipe, the elegance of it, the way the mousse rose above the rim of the ramekin so perfectly. And the fact that two of the main ingredients, eggs and cream, are staples in any low carb pantry. But to my eyes, there were also a few unnecessary steps in the instructions, like using room temperature eggs, and stirring the citrus curd frequently while it cooled. The latter would have been particularly hard to do, since the instructions also said to lay plastic wrap flush to the surface, which would mean removing and replacing the plastic wrap constantly while trying to stir. So, as always, I did it in a way that made more sense to me. But I did take the time to fit the ramekins with parchment-paper collars, so I could get the mousse to rise perfectly above the rim of the cups. I also cut the recipe down to 4 servings, since this sort of dessert is best served as fresh as possible.

The Results: I knew using chilled eggs would work just fine! And I knew that stirring the curd would be unnecessary. My version was truly lovely, an elegant, rich dessert that tastes light and citrusy. Creating little collars for the ramekins is technically unnecessary too, you could simply spoon the mousse into mounds above the rim. But if you have the time to do the collars, I would say to do it. Especially if you are having company, it somehow makes the final product look more impressive.

I will say, if you are going to make these ahead of time and freeze them for longer than a few hours, they will harden up considerably. Be sure to let them soften in the refrigerator for an hour or so before serving.

Frozen Citrus Mousse

4 large eggs, separated*

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

18 drops stevia extract

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp finely grated lime zest

1 tsp finely grated orange zest

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup granulated erythritol

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Prepare four 3/4-cup capacity ramekins by fitting them with paper collars. Cut strips of parchment that are 1 inch longer than the diameter of the ramekin and 1 inch higher than the height of the ramekin. Wrap the paper strip around the ramekin and secure with tape.

In a medium glass or metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, stevia and salt. Set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, but do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water. Whisk constantly until mixture just begins to thicken, 8-12 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and continue to stir until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Press a piece of plastic wrap flush to the surface of the curd and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.

When curd is chilled, whip cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. In another large bowl, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. With clean beaters, beat the whites until foamy. Gradually add erythritol and continue to beat stiff but not dry.

Whisk the lemon mixture until smooth and add to whipped cream, folding in gently until just combined. Add the egg whites and fold in until combined. Divide mixture among prepared ramekins.

Freeze mousse 2 hours, until firm but not rock hard. Remove collars and serve.

Any portions that do not get eaten after 2 hours of freezing should be wrapped tightly in plastic to avoid freezer burn. Let soften in refrigerator for half an hour to an hour before serving.

*Use Safest Choice Pasteurized Shell Eggs if you are concerned about the consumption of raw egg whites.

Serves 4. Each serving has 3.6g of carbs.


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  1. Jeanette says

    So glad to hear that the hurricane had died down by the time it reached you. So nice that you were able to finally try this recipe and added your own adjustments to make it even simpler.

  2. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    I agree that the storm wasn't over-hyped. I'm happy I was more prepared than necessary… much better that than the other way around!

    What a wonderful hurricane dessert:-)

  3. Sandi G says

    Every time I visit your site I'm in awe of your pictures, so I just looked at your food gawker pics too, so GREAT!

    Per your comment on my blog, AGREE, fresh cilantro w/everything is wonderful :) Make it a great day!

  4. Jill Colonna says

    Sounded like the perfect Saturday in the kitchen, creating your own storm with these gorgeous, zingy desserts. They look fabulous, Carolyn!

  5. Parsley Sage says

    I'm totally coming to your next 'hurricane' party! The tummies were totally covered :) Glad to hear you're safe and sound!

  6. The Mom Chef says

    Great minds think alike. I saw the comment about stirring the curd and immediately thought, "why don't they just put the plastic wrap flush on the curd's surface?"

    I love this mousse (as you knew I would). Definitely my kind of dessert. I'm assuming regular sugar would work just as well? :)

    I'm glad Irene petered out before she got to you.

  7. Yesim says

    It looks so nice.. i never tried this before.. i like to see new things and learn , whenever i get chance wanna give a try;)

  8. Sandra says

    I am so happy that hurricane weakened before it came to your city..
    Frozen citrus mousse, count me in:)) love this idea, and I think you did fantastic job on these..sounds very delicious looking at the ingre…would love to try it one of these days!

  9. RavieNomNoms says

    I am glad you didn't get as much of the damage as other people did. That is always good to hear.

    This mousse is so gorgeous Carolyn. You did such a nice job with it, wow!

  10. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says

    I think I have to bookmark this one because I am always on the look out for low-carb desserts like this! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Tiffany says

    Yeah, I def. think better safe than sorry! And plus… you got to make delicious wonderfulness like these frozen mousses!! 😉

  12. Lindsay @ Delighted Momma says

    I love you for making this and I dont even know you :) I am pinning this now!! Cant wait to try it

  13. Cassie @ Bake Your Day says

    Great recipe, Carolyn. This sounds like a great alternative to ice cream. I love your healthy recipes!

  14. scratch-made wife says

    They're absolutely adorable little desserts! I'm glad they turned out nicely for you. And I'm glad you were spared in the storm last weekend. My hometown was not quite so lucky, and my parents are still without power and could be for at least the next five days. :(

  15. Kim Bee says

    This recipe is so lovely, fresh and inviting. Love it. I like that it's made to be mini's so each person can enjoy their own. People seem to really like that. I'm glad you guys were okay and that you saved your tomatoes. Lol! On a side note I passed your blog on to a friend who was looking for gluten free recipes. So she will be stopping by.

  16. Cookin' Canuck says

    I'm glad you didn't get hit hard by the hurricane!

    This mousse is so pretty and I'd imagine it would be really refreshing on a hot day.

  17. Kari says

    I'm glad that the worst of the bad weather passed you by :)

    This looks absolutely amazing. I love that it's frozen, but still looks mousse-like!

  18. Nicole - Bake Me Blush says

    That mousse looks so delicious and light. I'm in the mood for ending a meal with a light frozen treat and this recipe looks like a keeper :) Thanks for sharing.

  19. Karen says

    What a perfect light and summery dessert…the citrus flavors must be so zesty! I love the idea of frozen mousse.
    I'm so glad Irene wasn't too bad for you…I've never experienced a hurricane, but I don't think I'd want to even if it was weakened!

  20. Erin says

    Looks like quite the treat! Glad that the storm turned out to be basically nothing. But you are right, you can't be too careful!

  21. Heather Jacobsen says

    I'm so happy the hurricane didn't amount to much. I lived through one of the worst hurricane seasons in Florida, where we had 7 storms (2 named) hit us in one season. One of those was Katrina, which hit hard (but not as hard as in LA). Another, Rita. Lost power for a total of 4 weeks that season! The others were not so bad. But you just never know which one is going to be "the one". As they say in Florida – prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

    I love that you made this amazing looking mousse. I may have to do that for my next hurricane party. Or just my next party. :) Do you have any idea if I could whip nutcream or coconut cream and substitute for the whipped cream?

  22. Magic of Spice says

    Glad the storm turned out to be mild and you did not get any damage :)
    This recipe is wonderful…such a gorgeous dessert!

  23. Jen at The Three Little Piglets says

    I'm a big fan of the pictures in the Williams-Sonoma cookbooks. I have one called Vegetable, and that book makes me so hungry for brussel sprouts it's ridiculous. And I don't even like brussel sprouts! The mousse looks simply divine…

  24. says

    If this recipe is half as good as the picture looks these will be awesome! I maybe just missing it in the above recipe directions but at what point do you add the zest? I am assuming it goes in the lemon curd mixture but do you add it while cooking over the double boiler? Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to try this out!

      • Jessica Maria says

        Woops… My curd is currently in the fridge sans zest…was just looking through whole recipe to see when to add…I’m sure it will be fine without…

        (Novice Kitchen Person here haha)

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