Monday, May 30, 2011

Lemon Meringue Custards with Butter Cookies


I once said that my desk reminds me of my purse.  It is big and unorganized, hard to navigate and mostly holds things of importance.  As I sit here typing -at said desk, I spy a twelve-stack of cookbooks with notes and pieces of paper jutting out from every angle. Piles of printed-out recipes cover every square inch of surface area.  I have at least four-hundred & eleventy-two recipes composed, mapped-out, bookmarked and dreamed up for posting and booking,  and they all reside on this desk

I didn't make any of those recipes today.

I can't bear to relinquish one minute of my three-day weekend to the grocery store, so I've decided to work with what I have.  Today that is eggs, butter, sugar, flour and lemons.


Some of the best treats are unplanned.  This dessert is like lemon meringue pie with the crust served on the side.  Like me, you may choose to forgo the spoon altogether and opt for the cookie-shovel instead.


make a gif


Lemon Meringue Custards
Serves 4-6
Lightly adapted from desserts to give thanks for.                                                        [click to print]

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar for custard plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar for meringue
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice from 6-8 lemons)
3 eggs, whites and yolks separated, both reserved for use
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups cold water
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla

Custard:
Have four 6 oz. custard cups at the ready, or six 4 oz. custard cups.

In a medium saucepan whisk together 1 1/4 cups sugar, lemon juice, egg yolks, cornstarch and 1 1/4 cups water.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly.  After 7-10 minutes, the custard will start to thicken. Remove from heat when bubbles have disappeared and mixture is thick.  Stir in butter until melted. Divide between custard cups.  Chill in refrigerator while preparing the meringue.

Meringue:
The meringue is browned in the oven or with a kitchen torch.  If using the oven, go ahead and preheat to 400 degrees. Skip this step if using a kitchen torch.

Fill a medium saucepan 1/4 to 1/3 full of water and bring to a simmer.  Combine egg whites, remaining sugar, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla in a heat-proof glass bowl.  Have ready your hand mixer and a candy thermometer.  Place bowl over simmering water and beat with hand mixer on low speed until temperature reaches 160 degrees on the thermometer - this won't take long!  Remove from heat and beat until stiff peaks form.

Remove custards from refrigerator and top with meringue.  Place on a baking sheet and brown meringue in oven for 6-8 minutes (keep a close eye on this) or brown with kitchen torch.

Serve at room temp. or chilled - delicious either way!


Butter Cookies
Yield: about 3 dozen 3" cookies                                                                                               [click to print]

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened (3/4 lb.)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Generous pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together.  Don't over mix!  Beat until just incorporated.  Add the vanilla and mix again briefly.  Sift together flour and salt and add to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a piece of wax paper and top with another sheet of wax paper. Roll into a flattened disk.  Chill for 30 minutes.  Dust work surface with flour and place dough - wax paper removed - on surface. Roll dough to 1/2" thickness and cut into desired shapes - I used small round fondant cutters, the largest at 3".  Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and fragrant.

Note:  If making small holes in the 3" round cookies as I did, cut the smaller holes just after the cookies come out of the oven.

56 comments:

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

What a delicious dessert! The presentation is so pretty!

Averie said...

This is beautiful!

And I love the little video/animation part...I read tons of blogs and ive never seen that anywhere. Very cool :)

And the toasted tops to the meringue...ooh-la-la. I love it!

Cooking With Abandon said...

Looks wonderful!

SUNY SENABRE said...

Una verdadera exquisitez de postre con una presentación preciosa. Me ha encantado.

Besos,

chefpandita.com said...

Love the animated photo! Those cookies are adorable. You always come up with such beautiful and creative posts, Heather :)

Jessica @ How Sweet said...

This sound perfect for summer. Love it!

Burnt Mill Candles and Soap said...

love the animated photo. now I have a bad craving for lemon meringue :)

Jessica said...

Looks so YUMMY
I'm a massive fan of lemon meringue! i made some lemon meringue cupcakes
http://devonshiregirly.blogspot.com/
X

Heather (Heather's Dish) said...

i really can't imagine a more perfect summer dessert than anything lemony and creamy. this sounds like heaven!

warmvanillasugar said...

These sound deadly! Love this!

Jennifurla said...

Now you gone and added live action! I can't take anymore genius lady! Lovely creation.

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

Thank you so much for this! I have 2 lemon trees in full bloom and I think I'm going to have to whip this up today, although unfortunately that means a trip to the store for cream of tartar. Oh well, it sounds very worth it!

xo Mary Jo

Nicolette said...

This looks amazing! I love lemon desserts so refreshing in the summer time :)

cookies and cups said...

So yummy! Those butter cookies are adorable and I am sure delicious :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is a heavenly dessert! I love lemon merigue pie, so this version is just up my alley. *drool*

Cheers,

Rosa

Lauren at Keep It Sweet said...

This is the most gorgeous dessert presentation! Everything you make I want to eat. I'd definitely use a cookie instead of a spoon:-)

Katherine said...

Lemon desserts are my favorite and I love that I have almost everything in my pantry/fridge to make these right now - just missing cream of tartar! Know of any good substitutes? Gorgeous photos as always.

Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) said...

Beautiful. Just Beautiful. Lemons, shortbread and meringue. Just beautiful!

teri@thefreshmancook said...

These are beautiful. I can't wait to make these. I think i have everything I need here at the house. How lucky(and unusually odd)is that!! love the animation. Also, Your desk sounds like mine looks. Thanks for a great post

Alisa said...

Ahhh, it looks so delicious! Beautiful presentation. It is a delight to look at your creations.

SprinkleBakes said...

Thanks all! For those asking about the cream of tartar - you could probably get away with leaving it out. It stabilizes the egg whites so they are extra fluffy. I've made meringue without it before.

Jocelyn said...

Ok, this is a perfect looking summer dessert! Love how you decided to just make something with what is on hand...I make way to many trips to the grocery stores!!! Beautiful pics too:-)

The Vanilla Bean Baker said...

Love your cookie shovel, love the video. Both the dessert and the presentation are so original!

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

I love this! Imagining desserts from new and interesting angles is always exciting to me.

Butter Hearts Sugar said...

Cookie shovels! love it! they look so delicious.

Misbah said...

what a heavenly summer dessert. And i also love your cookie spoons :)

kouky said...

hummm!!! j'adore ton dessert!! merci pour cette superbe présentation et ce plaisir visuel! en attendant de réaliser la recette et de la déguster! bonne journée!!

Lora said...

I agree, some times when we are forced to pillage our cabinets and fridge creativity abounds. Crust on the side is just so clever. Love it! Lemon meringue is my favorite pie.

A qué huele mi cocina ... said...

Magnífica presentación y un postre absolutamente delicioso!!

Kristan said...

I loooooove lemon meringue. It is my all time favorite dessert. But I could give or take the crust sooo...this is perfect.

And I envy that you have a desk. I set up at my dining room table, which gives me no option for clutter :( Hopefully soon...

The Café Sucré Farine said...

So cute! I love the presentation and it looks so delicious! What a great dessert for a warm summer eve! Thanks, Chris

Kristen said...

Love the animation! And the recipe looks marvelous. =)

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Megan's Cookin' said...

I love your presentation and that last picture where your eating it! Nice job :)

Sadaf Trimarchi said...

What I love best is that you've created perfect portion control with this. Love it. Small cups of pie instead on one big one!! Gorgeous!

Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking said...

Heather,
I just want to dive into those dishes and eat them from the inside out so I leave the meringue for last.
Another beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing!

sherri lynn said...

This is such a gorgeous dessert!

vanessasaindieguez said...

This is too funny because I too made lemon meringue this weekend by total chance. At first I wasn't sure an impromptu dessert like this was a good idea - all signs pointed to failure as my meringue fell while be transported in the car to the Memorial Day party - but in the end it was really good! I'm not a pie fan so I love the idea of the cookie. Definitely going to try that next time. My recipe didn't call for heating the meringue over water - I may try that next time as mine was a little weak. Yours looks beautiful!

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Absolutely gorgeous!!!

marla said...

Heather, I love the cookie shovel!! Funny I was talking with a friend yesterday about how things often work out better when unplanned. This dessert is so creative & I bet beyond delicious!

Beth said...

Lemons and meringues are two of my favorite things. This dessert looks divine!

Lili said...

Oh my gosh I just sat here and watched that animated cookie shovel waiting to see how much of the dessert would disappear. (I'm a little slow tonight!) I'm still amazed that you just whipped this little dessert up with what you had on hand. Gosh it's so yummy looking and how fortunate that I just purchased an entire bag of lemons the other day without a thought as to what to make with them. Now I know. xo ~Lili

Kelly Senyei said...

These look to spectacular! Now they're the frontrunner (next to your Key Lime Swirl Cheesecake Bars) as to what's on my baking menu next...

Michelle said...

These look so delicious!! I am going to give them a go for my blog!

Michelle
www.kissedbysweets.blogspot.com

Sue said...

This looks out of this world! I love the cookies on the spoon, and your little "movie"! You always have something new up your sleeve and I love it! Have a great weekend, heather!

Leslie said...

Love the animated gif..soooo inciting.

Aarthi said...

This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog...I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that
http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/2011/05/chocolate-recipe-and-chocolate.html

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Love the green color with the yellow. I'd seen this cookie idea on other blogs like Tartelette and wanted to try it for a while now.

Joy said...

That looks so good.

Michelle Ferrer Garcia said...

Hello! I absolutely love your blog and am always trying your recipes. When I saw this one I knew I had to make it. The custard and meringue turned out great, but the butter cookies turned into a goopy mess in the oven. I looked over the recipe again and tried it once more and this time they burned in just a few minutes! Do you know what might be wrong? I followed the exact ingredients in the recipe so I am unsure what went wrong :(

SprinkleBakes said...

Hi Michelle!

Awfully sorry to hear you ran into a spot of trouble with the cookies. I can't say for sure what went wrong, since both results were so opposite. Perhaps the cookies needed to be chilled for a longer period of time before putting them in the oven -that may solve the "goopy".

As for them browning too quickly... perhaps your oven is running hotter than the dial says? An inexpensive oven thermometer can help you best gauge what's going on.
I wish I could be more help Michelle! Thanks for the feedback!

Michelle Ferrer Garcia said...

I tried it again at a friends house and it worked! My own oven failed me. But of course in the end everything was fantastic. Thanks for the recipe :)

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Rheanne said...

hi heather! i made the curd and it never thickened - not to a custard/curd consistency. i was whisking for an hour, adding more cornstarch (mixed with a bit of the mixture and some water before adding it) along the way when it wasnt thickening. i did double the recipe and i did let all the ingredients rest in the saucepan while juicing the lemons. could these have affected the result?

Rheanne said...

oh! and it made made only 7 4oz dishes and the colour was much more brown than it was yellow.

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