Lemon cream meringues are a light, airy dessert that’s perfect for summer. They’re easy to make too! Just whip together some lemon zest and sugar with egg whites until they form stiff peaks…
This recipe is adapted from
Lemon cream meringues are a creamy lemon dessert. They are made by whipping egg whites, sugar and lemon juice together until it forms a stiff, glossy meringue. The whipped mixture is then folded into the batter of the lemon curd.
I’m not sure who I can trust if they don’t enjoy lemon curd. You may choose not to believe anybody who makes broad, sweeping, and dubious proclamations, but if I had to select a totally unnecessary soapbox to stand on right now, it would be this. Lemon curd is a favorite of many people. Lemon curd against a pillowy meringue and a plume of gently whipped cream is the only thing better than lemon curd. These three tastes go well in so many desserts, including one in my second cookbook that I call a Lemon Meringue Pie Smash. Working on this recipe allowed me to perfect my go-to lemon curd, which now has a basic formula that never fails, as well as enjoy the culinary harmony of a dessert that doesn’t leave us with stray egg whites or yolks.
These meringues — which are really baby pavlovas in that they should be crisp on the surface and soft on the inside, rather than crisp all the way through — are how I serve these tastes to visitors. I began preparing them for Passover a few years ago, and despite the fact that there were a lot of chocoholics in the room, everyone forgot about chocolate for at least a few minutes. Since then, I haven’t stopped. I’m not generally a fan of pre-assembled desserts since I don’t have the room or time for plating, but these are great for planning ahead, which is the only way to keep sane while serving a large group. You’re better off creating the meringues since they take a long time to bake and chill. Make the lemon curd while you’re at it, since it stores well and tastes best when it’s chilled. And adding sour cream or crème fraîche to your whipped cream, as Nancy Silverton suggests, not only makes it more delicious and sophisticated, but it also stabilizes the whipped cream, allowing you to dollop it from the fridge whenever you’re ready, even a day or two later. I’ve served them both constructed and a-la-carte, with a large tower of meringues and spoons for pouring your own curd and cream to taste. There’s never any leftovers.
Pavlovas (Previously: Pavlovas)
If you don’t like for the whipped cream, I guarantee you that they are equally delicious with fresh berries on top of the curd. Blackberries and blueberries are my go-to berries.
- 4 egg whites, big
- salt (two pinches)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (white)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extract de vanille
- cornstarch, potato starch, or arrowroot powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons
- 2 lemons, medium/large
- granulated sugar, 3/4 cup (150 grams)
- 4 big yolks of eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (45 grams)
- 1 quart (225 g) heavy cream or whipped cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extract de vanille
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraîche (30 g)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (25 grams) or more to taste
- If desired, add fresh berries and/or powdered sugar.
Make the meringues as follows: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Beat the egg whites on medium/low speed in the big bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, until they begin to thicken — they’ll seem satiny and you’ll see some trails develop from the beaters. Increase the speed to medium and sprinkle a tiny bit of the sugar-cornstarch mixture into the egg whites at a time while the machine is running, allowing it completely dissolve for 10 to 20 seconds before adding more. After that, beat for another minute or two, then add the vinegar and vanilla. Continue whipping the egg whites until they are glossy and firm peaks form when the whisk is lifted. I do it at a slower pace than others because it results in a thicker, more stable meringue.
Place generous 1/4-cup dollops of meringue batter equally spaced on the two prepared trays. You should have a total of 12. Create a swooshed depression in the middle of each with the back of a soup spoon, excellent for puddling lemon curd. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, flipping the pans midway through the cooking time to ensure equal cooking. Reduce the heat to 225 degrees for the remaining baking time if they seem to be browning. At lower temperatures, I’ve found that home ovens may be highly variable, so here’s what we’re looking for when they’re done: The meringues should be firm and dry on the outside, with a hint of softness within if lightly touched in the middle. They should be simple to remove from the parchment. Turn off the oven and allow the cookies cool completely inside (at least 1 hour).
Make the curd: In a heatproof dish that will fit over a saucepan (double-boiler type), combine the sugar and zest, but don’t put it on the burner yet. Rub the peels together with your hands to extract the maximum flavor out of them. Set the bowl over an inch of boiling water with the other ingredients; the bowl should not contact the water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to gel or thickens to the point where it coats the back of a spoon or whisk (between 170 and 180°); do not allow it to boil. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh screen to remove any remaining solids. Cover and set aside to chill; the sauce will thicken as it cools.
To make the whipped cream, beat the cream on medium speed until it thickens slightly, then gradually add the sugar and whisk until loose peaks form. Mix in the vanilla extract and sour cream until soft-to-medium peaks form.
To make the meringue, place one on a platter and top with a dollop of lemon curd. Using whipped cream, make a dollop. Finish with powdered sugar or berries, if desired.
Making the meringues ahead of time/planning: I normally make them the day before or the morning of the evening I need them. I normally prepare the lemon curd at the same time; it stays in the fridge for up to a week. I’ve found that if I create the whipped cream (the sour cream or crème fraiche acts as a stabilizer) and keep it in a sealed container or jar, it’ll be 95 percent to 99 percent the following day, which is good enough for me and more than enough for dolloping.
Lemon meringue pots are a classic dessert that can be made with just a few ingredients. The lemon cream filling is so light and fluffy, it melts in your mouth. Reference: lemon meringue pots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does lemon juice stabilize meringue?
A: Yes, lemon juice helps stabilize meringue.
What is the difference between meringue and whipped cream?
A: Meringue is a type of whipped cream thats made with egg whites while whipped cream uses only the fat and sugar.
Is lemon juice or cream of tartar better for meringue?
A: Cream of tartar is the better option, cream of tartar will help to raise your egg whites and make them firm while lemon juice would result in a runny meringue.
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