I often fill meringues both large and small with whipped cream and fruit but when I found myself making several batches of lemon curd last week, I knew this would be a match made in heaven. Egg yolks are key to the curd’s smooth, rich texture and rather than discarding the whites, I whipped them up into beautiful little shells – just like my mini pavlovas – that were the perfect base for dollops of delicious lemon curd. It’s like all the yumminess of a lemon meringue pie, in a different – and easier – form.
- 2 large eggs, separated (reserve yolks for lemon curd, if making)
- 1/3 cup (85 grams) white sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250 mL) lemon curd
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 330F.
- With an electric beater or stand mixer, whip egg whites until foamy.
- Add sugar slowly, about a teaspoon at a time, and continue to whip until the egg whites hold stiff peaks.
- Add salt, vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla and beat well; the mixture should be stiff enough to stand when cut (draw a knife through the mixture and the cut should hold, rather than collapsing).
- Transfer the mixture to a small zip lock bag and seal the bag, pressing out air in the bag as you do so.
- With scissors, snip off ¼” (.6 cm) on one corner of the bag.
- Pipe the egg white mixture into small nests on the baking sheet by squeezing the bag gently. Start by making about a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) disc (the base of each meringue) and then surround that with a crown of meringue about 1 inch (2.5 cm) high. You should be able to make at least 12 tiny nests in this fashion.
- Turn the oven off and put the baking sheet into the oven.
- Leave the meringues in the oven until it is cold (this will take several hours or even overnight).
- When the oven is cold, remove the baking tray. The meringues can be filled and served right away, or left unfilled and stored in an airtight container and stored for up to a week.
- When ready to serve, put a heaping teaspoonful of lemon curd in the centre of each meringue nest.
Makes 12 mini meringues or 6 larger ones.