Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lemon Meringue Nests

Those of us who write Passover recipes - myself included - are often guilty of saying that a recipe is "perfect for year-round" - even when we know we'd never really make it except during the week of Pesach. But this dessert? This is one I actually do eat year-round, and it's such a favorite in my family that we request is for special occasions as well.  
The whole thing is served and eaten frozen, so it's a perfect make-ahead dessert that is just as tasty a week later. The meringue is the perfect combo of crispy and chewy and the lemon filling is sweet, tangy and creamy. Traditionally we make it as two large rectangular sheets of meringue with the filling sandwiches between, but I find the mini version much cuter and actually easier to handle without fear of shattering the meringue.


Recipe: 

Meringue:
4 egg whites
1 cup (200g) superfine sugar
2 teaspoons potato starch

Filling:
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (100g) superfine sugar
zest of two lemons
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream or non-dairy cream

Whip the egg whites on high until they hold stiff peaks. Mix together the sugar and potato starch. While the mixer is running, add that mixture a tablespoon at a time, beating to stiff peaks after each addition.
Transfer the meringue mixture to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip (you may need to do it in two batches). Pipe flat 2" circles on to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, then pipe a ring on top of the circle 2-3 times to the desired height. Bake the meringues on 275 F for 40-60 minutes, until they are crisp to the touch and easily lift off the parchment paper. Let cool. completely.
Once the meringues go in the oven, start on the filling. In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Cook the mixture over low heat, whisking regularly, until it just comes to a boil. Don't leave it alone for more than a minute. Once it comes to a boil, whisk constantly for a minute, then remove from the heat, and continue to whisk for a minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until completely cold.
Beat the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Mix in the custard mixture, a tablespoon at a time, until it completely combined. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag, and fill the cooled meringue nests with the mixture. Freeze for at least two hours. Let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving. Store in the freezer. Recipes makes about 16 individual servings.

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