Lemon Curd and Sour Meringue
Lemons are in abundance at the moment and I felt the urge to use the bounty from the tree.
Lemon curd is great because it keeps in the fridge for ages and its so damn good! I'm pairing this a lemon meringue crisp, a 'chips and dip' scenario. The lemon meringue is based on a recipe I used to make in London for a summer pre-dessert. The secret is citric acid.
Start by making the lemon curd:
150 ml fresh lemon juice
200 gm caster sugar
3 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
200 gm cold butter, diced
Half fill a pot with water and bring it up to a simmer.
In a bowl that fits the pot, place the lemon juice, caster sugar, eggs and yolk. Whisk together well. Place the bowl over the simmering water and continue to whisk frequently throughout the cooking process. By cooking the curd this way, it will protect the eggs from the direct heat. Cook the curd until it becomes thick, this takes about 25 minutes. You can tell its ready when the whisk leaves track marks when run through the curd. Remove the curd from the heat and start adding the cold butter, a couple of pieces at a time. It is important to add it little by little or the lusciousness won't be achieved. It will be greasy and look split. We are emulsifying fat into fat essentially and need it to be as stable as possible. Once all the butter is in, the curd will be thicker and glossy. Pass the curd through a fine sieve to remove the little eggy lumpy bits, into a container. Cover and chill until needed.
50 gm egg whites (about 2 eggs)
100 gm caster sugar
1 pinch citric acid
zest of 1 lemon
Place the egg whites in a clean and dry kitchen mixer bowl and whisk until they are thick. Weigh the sugar and citric acid together.
Add a spoonful of sugar and whisk on high. Keep adding a spoonful at a time until all the sugar is added.
Spread the meringue onto a silicone baking mat or some siliconised baking paper, at a thickness of 0.5cm. Zest the lemon over the meringue so the fresh oils will be captured too.
Place in a preheated oven at 110.C for at least an hour. We want the meringue to be crispy and dry. Keep in the oven longer if necessary. Once dry, break the meringue into pieces and serve with cold lemon curd.