The New Year definitely feels like a rebirth. I always like the clean slate that the transition into January brings. Sort of like a Monday after a weekend of indulgence. And sort of like Easter. These little meringue nests with lemon curd are very Easter-esque. And as fancy and delicate as they look, they’re actually one of the easiest recipes to make. Seriously. Just look how little the ingredient list is below.
Years ago when I went to France for one of our annual trips to visit my husband’s family, my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law made this pavlova for dessert one night. Talk about awakening. I’ve been pretty obsessed with meringue ever since. If you are too, check out Swedish Almond Meringue Cake, Mocha Almond Egg-White Cookies (GF) and Tarte au Citron Meringuée.
I’ve taken that beloved Pavlova concept and this time instead of pairing it with fresh seasonal fruit, I’ve made individual meringue nests to be filled with lemon curd. And let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. Beautiful, cute, easy, festive, and most of all delicious. Something about the sweet crisp meringue and the tart creamy lemon curd that really pair so well together. It’s sort of like a Lemon Meringue Tart revisited. Enjoy!
Lemon Meringue Nests
- 3 eggs
- 3 lemon, juice & zest
- 1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- Begin by making the lemon curd. (Skip this portion if you have store bought curd). Prepare the lemon curd by beating the eggs and sugar in a bowl for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, beating until combined.
- Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook on low heat for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the butter a little at a time. The mixture should come to a low simmer and thicken noticeably. Pour the mixture back into the mixing bowl (for the sake of less dishes) and transfer to the refrigerator for 4 hours, or until completely cool.
- Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, whip the egg whites on high until they become frothy and form soft peaks, about 1 minute. While still on high speed, add the cream of tartar and begin adding the sugar a little at a time. The trick is to take your time — it may take as long as 10 minutes. Make sure to consistently scrape the sides of the bowl.
- When the eggs have formed stiff peaks, fill a piping bag fitted with a pretty piping tip. (You can also use make a pastry bag by using a zip lock bag and cutting the corner tip). Gently pipe a rough 2 or 3-inch circle on the prepared baking sheet. Without lifting the tip, do the second and third layers around the outside of the circle, forming a mini nest.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 300F, and then reduce heat to 250F and bake for 10-20 minutes more, until hardened and ever so slightly golden. Turn oven off, open doors lightly, and leave meringue in the oven for 1 hour to cool.
- When ready to assemble, spoon lemon curd into the center of each nest. Optionally top with fresh fruit or a sprinkle of powdered sugar to finish.