Joy the Baker

Lemon Meringue Cookies

March 30, 2011

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If the dream fairies are taking requests, tonight I’d like my dreams to include:

the bright green grass of a perfectly manicured baseball field.

first kisses.

lemonade so cold and tart it almost hurts my teeth.

… maybe a waterfall… that might be nice.

… the sound of my aunt dede humming to herself?…. that could be pretty special.

and perhaps these lemon cookies, cold… from the freezer.

I rarely put in dream requests, but I’m feeling rather particular tonight.  K.  Thanks.

lemon infused

These cookies:  little dreams… I swear to it.

Light meringues are infused with lemon zest and vanilla and baked until crisp and dry.  That’s just the beginning.

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I used this tip and a piping bag to make little meringue star cookies.  It’s a big tip… although I’m not smart enough to know the size.

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I piped 50 stars between two sheets.  Half of the stars stayed full and pretty, the other half of the stars I smoothed into a flat-ish circle.  The flat meringues will be the bottom of the lemon meringue sandwich.

These cookies bake in a low low oven for 2 hours.  The result is a crisp, light-as-air, dream cookie.  Dreeeeaaaaammmmm cookie.

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Citrus curd…  Hello!

So easy to make.  So bright and happy.  So easy to shovel in my face with a spoon at midnight after I’ve already gotten out of bed to make myself a random bowl of grits.

… or whatever.

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The hardest part about making curd is straining it through a fine mesh strainer… and we both know that’s no effort at all.

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Oh, wait.  Another tough part is when you fill the curd jar too full… and you have to spoon a good portion into you mouth to keep it from overflowing.  That’s hard.

lemon on lemon

Lemon bottom.  Lemon curd middle.  Lemon top.

lemon i love you

Sandwiched together, they’re the perfect bite.  All you need is a big mouth.

These little clouds are delicate, sweet and bright.  They taste exactly like Lemon Meringue Pie.  They’re my dream come true.  I wish I could tell you that I shared these cookies with people that I know and love, but the truth is… I shoved most of these cookies in my mouth before I told anyone that I even made them.

There are a few tricks you should know when making these cookies:

Humidity will effect the meringues.  The more humid, or moist the air, the stickier the meringues will get.  It’s just one of those things.

These are not really travel cookies.  They should be assembled right before they’re eaten.  I like the curd cold cold cold in these cookies.  I assembled the cookies, and left them to chill in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving… to myself.  They were incredible!

Assemble.  Chill for 20 minutes to an hour.  Serve.  Freak out.  …that’s how it should go.

Oh!  You may have a bit of extra curd left over.  Eat it.  Just eat it.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

Makes: about 25 cookies

Print this Recipe!

For the Meringues:

2 large egg whites

pinch of salt

2/3 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place two racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Foil will also work in a pinch.    Set the baking pans aside.

Place the egg whites (save the yolks for the curd) in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat egg whites, on medium speed,  until foamy.  Add the pinch of salt and increase speed to medium-high.  Slowly begin to sprinkle in the sugar.  Continue to beat eggs until they become thick, glossy and hold stiff peeks.  The egg whites will be the consistency of melted marshmallow.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.   Spoon into a piping bag, fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe about a teaspoons worth of meringue onto the baking sheet.  Stars can be close together, as they won’t spread or puff during baking.  Pipe stars onto the two baking sheets until no meringue remains in the bag.  Using the back of a spoon, flatten out half of the meringue stars, making them as flat as possible, but not necessarily a larger circle than the original piped star.  The flattened star will become the bottom of the sandwich cookie.

Bake meringues for 2 hours, until no longer sticky , but firm and hardened.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling and sandwiching.

For the Lemon Curd:

from: David Lebovitz

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set aside.

In a medium pot, whisk together lemon juice, granulated sugar, eggs, yolks, and pinch of salt.  Place the pot over a medium-low flame and add butter.  Stir mixture with a whisk, and spatula.  The spatula will help you get into the corners of the pan, ensuring that none of the curd over-cooks too much.  Cook the curd until the butter is melted, and the mixture is the thickness of warm hot fudge.  The whisk will begin to leave a trail of whisk marks and the mixture will have the distinct smell of lemon curd.  You don’t really need to boil lemon curd… it’s probably done it if gets to the boiling stage.

Remove from the flame and immediately pour into the fine mesh strainer over the medium bowl.  Press through the strainer, leaving any cooked egg bits in the strainer, and not in your beautiful curd.

Place curd in a jar, with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly over the curd.  Place in the fridge until completely cold.

To fill the cookies, spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of curd onto a flattened bottom cookie.  Top with a star shaped cookie.  Place cookies in a single layer on a tray and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to an hour.  I love these cookies right out of the freezer.  You can also fill them and serve them immediately.  These cookies do not last well if willed and left to sit.

Curd should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Curd lasts for about a week.  Meringues should be kept in an airtight container, in a dry area, at room temperature.  Meringues last for about 5 days… though humidity makes them sticky balls.

Recipe: Lemon Meringue Cookies

Summary: Lemon Meringues with Sweet Lemon Curd

Ingredients

  • For the Meringues:
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Lemon Curd:
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

For the Meringue Cookies:

  1. Place two racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Foil will also work in a pinch. Set the baking pans aside.
  2. Place the egg whites (save the yolks for the curd) in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat egg whites, on medium speed, until foamy. Add the pinch of salt and increase speed to medium-high. Slowly begin to sprinkle in the sugar. Continue to beat eggs until they become thick, glossy and hold stiff peeks. The egg whites will be the consistency of melted marshmallow.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Spoon into a piping bag, fitted with a large star tip. Pipe about a teaspoons worth of meringue onto the baking sheet. Stars can be close together, as they won’t spread or puff during baking. Pipe stars onto the two baking sheets until no meringue remains in the bag. Using the back of a spoon, flatten out half of the meringue stars, making them as flat as possible, but not necessarily a larger circle than the original piped star. The flattened star will become the bottom of the sandwich cookie.
  4. Bake meringues for 2 hours, until no longer sticky , but firm and hardened.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling and sandwiching.
  6. For the Lemon Curd:
  7. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set aside.
  8. In a medium pot, whisk together lemon juice, granulated sugar, eggs, yolks, and pinch of salt. Place the pot over a medium-low flame and add butter. Stir mixture with a whisk, and spatula. The spatula will help you get into the corners of the pan, ensuring that none of the curd over-cooks too much. Cook the curd until the butter is melted, and the mixture is the thickness of warm hot fudge. The whisk will begin to leave a trail of whisk marks and the mixture will have the distinct smell of lemon curd. You don’t really need to boil lemon curd… it’s probably done it if gets to the boiling stage.
  9. Remove from the flame and immediately pour into the fine mesh strainer over the medium bowl. Press through the strainer, leaving any cooked egg bits in the strainer, and not in your beautiful curd.
  10. Place curd in a jar, with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly over the curd. Place in the fridge until completely cold.
  11. To fill the cookies, spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of curd onto a flattened bottom cookie. Top with a star shaped cookie. Place cookies in a single layer on a tray and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to an hour. I love these cookies right out of the freezer. You can also fill them and serve them immediately. These cookies do not last well if willed and left to sit.
  12. Curd should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Curd lasts for about a week. Meringues should be kept in an airtight container, in a dry area, at room temperature. Meringues last for about 5 days… though humidity makes them sticky balls.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 12

Meal type: dessert

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 4 stars:  ????? 1 review(s)


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