Lemon Basil Mascarpone Custard With Lemon Shortbread

Menu PartDessert

Jason Campbell
Executive Chef
Lakes 23
Fremont, Mich. 

Chef Jason Campbell of Lakes 23 restaurant creates a refreshing springtime sweet by pairing citrus-flavored shortbread with lemony custard. Creamy mascarpone cheese distinguishes both the custard and the cookies with its farm-fresh flavor and smooth texture. Use any seasonal fresh fruit or berries as a garnish for this plated dessert.


Frozen custard

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

2 lemons, zested and juiced                                      

2 containers (8-oz. each) mascarpone cheese                                                                      

8 egg yolks                                                                                         

2 cups sugar

1 cup water                                                    

1 oz. fresh basil                                                                                  


1 cup all-purpose flour                                                          

3 tbsp. sugar                                                  

¼ cup chilled butter                                       

¼ cup mascarpone cheese                             

1 lemon, zested and juiced                                                    

¼ teaspoon salt

Fresh berries or sliced fruit


  1. For custard: In 2-quart saucepan, combine cream, milk, lemon juice and zest. Stir in mascarpone cheese; place over medium-low heat. Whisk until combined. 
  2. Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Beat with electric mixer until the color is sunshine yellow; set aside. 
  3. When cream mixture starts to scald, remove from heat. Temper some of the mixture into the egg yolk mixture, a little at a time as to not curdle the egg yolks. When about 2 cups have been mixed in, temper remainder of mixture in the saucepan.
  4. In another small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and basil; poach over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat; remove the basil.  Place liquid in container; chill overnight. Chiffonade reserved basil leaves and stir into custard mixture. 
  5. Transfer custard to an ice cream maker large enough to hold mixture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make frozen custard. When custard is complete, place in a container; freeze until ready to use.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare shortbread: Preheat oven to 325 F. In bowl, combine flour, sugar, butter, mascarpone, lemon juice and zest and salt; mix until well combined into a dough.  Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
  7. Remove plastic from dough before rolling out. On well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness.  Cut out desired shapes for cookies. Place cookies on a parchment lined sheet tray. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.  Allow cookies to cool completely before using. 
  8. To serve, plate cookies with a scoop of frozen custard. Garnish with basil chiffonade and berries or fruit.

Photo courtesy of Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese

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