Fresh Mint & Lemon Meringues

Temps des Fêtes 2014
food and drink

BY: Joanne Yolles

Fresh mint and a dash of mint extract enhancethese crisp meringues. A tart lemoncurd complements their sweetness. The meringuescan be made one or two days in advanceand stored in an airtight container. Thelemon curd, with a small amount of gelatin forstability, can be made and refrigerated abouttwo days ahead. To maintain a crispy texture,fill the meringues just before serving.

4 tbsp (60 mL) + ⅓ cup (80 mL) sugar
⅔ cup (150 mL) icing sugar
½ cup (125 mL) egg whites (from about 4 eggs),
room temperature
¼ tsp (1 mL) mint extract
10 large mint leaves, very finely chopped

½ cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice,
from about 2 large lemons
½ tsp (2 mL) gelatin
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup (125 mL) sugar
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter

1 For the meringues, preheat oven to 225°F (110°C). Set oven racks in the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a small star tip.

2 Sift 2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar with icing sugar and set aside.

3 Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin mixing the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating to soft peaks. Add the remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) and ⅓ cup (80 mL) sugar in a slow stream. Once all the sugar is added, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating until the whites form stiff shiny peaks and the meringue no longer feels grainy to the touch.Beat in the mint extract.

4 Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold the icing sugar mixture into the meringue, one-third at a time. Fold in chopped mint leaves.

5 Fill the pastry bag with meringue and pipe small “S” or double “S” shapes (or a shape of your choosing) onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.

6 Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the meringues release easily from the paper. Test one after 5 minutes of cooling. It should be crisp. If not, continue baking. If the meringues begin to brown, reduce oven to 200°F (100°C).

7 Cool meringues on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

8 For the lemon curd, measure 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the lemon juice into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin overtop; set aside.

9 Cook the remaining lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot.

10 Whisk together the egg yolks and eggs, then slowly whisk in the hot lemon mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens without boiling.

11 Off the heat, whisk in the gelatin mixture until dissolved, followed by the butter, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time. Strain the lemon curd into a medium bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 to 4 hours.

12 Just before serving, place the lemon curd in a piping bag fitted with a small star tip and pipe onto flat side of meringues. Top each with another meringue.

Makes many, depending on the size.