The last Lemon meringue you will ever eat

 

Lemon meringue traditionally is very sweet. Too sweet for me in fact. Which is why this recipe made such a big impact on me selecting it as my first  recipe for this blog. The balance is amazing, and wether you prefer to lean towards a more, subtle lemon/sweeter meringue combination, or a more tart/less sweet combination, it’s exactly that. Textures to excite your taste buds and flavours to satisfy them. The aromas stimulate your nostalgia with scents of lemon, toasted nuts, meringue and cake wafting through your entire house. It has been my awakening to possibilities of creating spicy without spice. A true keeper. I know it seems like a lot, but do not be put off by the number of elements. They are all easy to make, and come together beautifully.

To start, you want to make the crumble.

Crumble

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 32g brown sugar
  • 62.5g all purpose flour
  • small pinch of cinnamon
  • small pinch of salt
  • 17.5g oats
  • 12g almond flakes
  • 12g chopped hazelnuts

With a stand mixer, mix the butter, flour, cinnamon and salt until it forms a crumble consistency being careful not to create a dough. Lastly, mix in the oats and nuts with a spatula, breaking up any big lumps you might still have. If you do over mix and create a dough, just leave it to chill for an hour and grate it, or press it through a cooling rack. Store in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Lemon sponge cake

  • 4 lemons zested
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 230g whole eggs
  • 200g all purpose flour
  • 7g baking powder
  • 20g lemon juice
  • 150g fresh cream (warm)
  • 70g unsalted butter (melted)
  • vegetable oil, butter, or spray and cook if you don’t have silicone moulds
  • 2 x 18cm cake rings or cake tins
  • crumble from previous step

Preheat the oven to 165 degrees c.

Mix the lemon zest and sugar in a bowl.

Whisk together eggs and lemon zest sugar mixture until its smooth and creamy with a pale colour.

Grease the baking tins.

Sieve together the baking powder and flour, and mix with a spatula.

Using a spatula gently fold in the flour mix into the batter. a little bit at a time.

Add lemon juice and continue to fold.

Combine melted butter and warm cream in a bowl.

Add a little bit of the batter to the cream (about a third) and gently combine. This gets the textures closer together so that the least amount of air is lost from the mixture. Keeping the cake light and fluffy.

Add the rest of the batter and fold gently.

Divide into your cake tins and sprinkle the crumble on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven.

This cake is delicious on it’s own, you could just glaze it with some honey and serve it like that with some coffee, it is absolutely superb.

Lemon curd

  • 108g lemon juice
  • 6g lemon zest
  • 90g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 60g whole eggs
  • 60g egg yolks
  • 132g unsalted butter, room temperature

 

 

Whisk the sugar,lemon juice, zest, eggs and egg yolks in a double boiler until it starts thickening. The consistency you would want is controlled here. remembering that the longer it cooks, the thicker it will get. Also, the curd continues to thicken while resting. Once you have your required consistency, pass it through a sieve to remove the zest particles. Mix that well (paddle attachment on a mixer) while adding the butter once piece at a time. When all the butter is incorporated, scrape the mixture into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. make sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from developing. Rest in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.

Italian meringue

  • 108g (3.81oz) egg whites

  • 2.7g (0.1oz) cream of tartar

  • 216g (7.62oz) caster (superfine) sugar

  • 54g (1.9oz) water

 Hint: Only start your meringue an hour before you are ready to serve… It ensures the consistency is at its best, and toasting it in front of your guests adds to the drama of the presentation.

Bring the water and sugar to boil in a saucepan

Start whisking the egg whites and cream of tartar until it reaches medium peaks.

For best results, when the sugar syrup is about 117 degrees, (if you don’t have a thermometer, drop a drop of the syrup in a bowl of cold water, it should make a pliable tear drop) This is not crucial, when the colour of the syrup starts to get a lovely golden brown, it would be just as wonderful.

Pour down the side of the bowl in a slow and steady stream, making sure not to let it touch the whisk.

Continue whisking until it reaches room temperature. Make sure the meringue is room temperature before you apply the curd, or else the curd melts.

Assembly

Option 1: Layer as you would a two layered cake.

  • A lemon sponge
  • Half the meringue
  • Half the curd
  • A lemon sponge
  • Remaining meringue
  • Remaining curd
  • Toast meringue with a blowtorch for added effect

 

 

Option 2: plate portions for your guests. (this can be arranged entirely as you wish, your creativity is your only limit. For the example I’ve chosen, I have decided to create a sponge crescent, on a bed of meringue, and lemon curd drops. this also can be presented or decorated as you like. I’ve used lemon chips, mint and dark chocolate for some delightful colours. Very important, in choosing your garnishes, make sure the flavours go well together. Here the mint accentuates the different flavours, and the bitterness of the chocolate balances with the sweet of the meringue. 

 

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