Crème au citron

Watercolor lemon fruit branch with leaves isolated on white background. Lemon citrus tree. Lemon branch and slices. Lemon branch with leaves. Hand painted illustration

Bonjour mes amis! And welcome back to Mised Out!

Dessert Month continues this week with a crème au citron. Tart and bright lemon shines through in this creamy, custard-like dessert. This crème is a true chemical wonder because unlike traditional custards, it does not use eggs. Or gelatin, for that matter. Three simple ingredients – lemons, heavy whipping cream and sugar – are all it takes.

So how’s it work? Like I said, chemistry! The acid in the lemons basically turns the cream – in the same way we get sour cream. A brief heating on the stove top and the addition of sugar ensure a smooth, creamy texture. If high school chemistry were this delicious, I would have paid a lot more attention!

But back it our crème au citron. Not only is it a fascinating chemical reaction that requires just a handful of ingredients, it is ridiculously easy to make. Prep and cooking are 15 minutes, max. The crème then chills for 3-4 hours to set.

Red jug with milk. Watercolor illustration. Isolated on a white background.

The result is a gorgeous, pale yellow, silky smooth crème. Less is more when it comes to decoration – a bit of crumbled graham cracker and whipped cream are both a beautiful and tasty addition. If you’re feeling really indulgent, feel free to use crumbled shortbread cookies and meringues in place of the graham crackers and whipped cream. A couple of fresh blackberries with a spring of mint would also be lovely. Or fresh raspberries! The point is, you can let your imagination run wild – just with a bit of restraint!

This is the sort of weeknight dessert that you can easily whip up one night and serve the next.

And now, chers lecteurs without further adieu – Elvira Masson‘s Crème au Citron!

creme au citron

Crème au citron

Lemon Cream
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 4


  • 2 lemons
  • 40 cl heavy cream whipping cream
  • 80 g sugar


  • Zest one lemon. Juice both lemons.
  • Put the cream and sugar in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture just comes to a boil.
  • Add the lemon juice and zest. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. You will know that the crème is ready when you can dip a spoon in the crème and draw a line across the back of the spoon with your finger.
  • Pour the crème into four individual serving bowls and chill for 3-4 hours.
  • Serve with a garnish of crumbled graham crackers and a dollop of whipped cream.


Source: Elvira Masson