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Although I love just about any kind of pie, lemon meringue will always be my favorite because that’s the one my mother made. Her pie was a special treat for my brother and me on report card days.
No matter the grades (sometimes good, sometimes not so good) there was a beautiful pie — sweet and tart lemon curd sandwiched between a flaky crust and a toasted cloud of meringue — waiting for us.
Lemon curd is a thick custard made from fresh lemons, sugar, eggs, and butter, and it is easy to make. Cornstarch is added when it is used as lemon pie filling.
Lemon curd on hand offers quick-fix desserts, whether layered as cake filling, spooned into small tart crusts, or drizzled over a pound cake. It can be folded into whipped cream for a mousse, added to a cheesecake batter, or swirled on top of that cheesecake. It’s delicious stirred into yogurt or cottage cheese, or spooned over ice cream.
You can buy lemon curd in jars, but you’ll never taste a better version than one made make using fresh ingredients. The curd will stay fresh for about one week in your refrigerator.
If you’re looking for something beyond the usual lemon, look no further than the rest of the citrus family: Meyer lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, lime. Never substitute reconstituted, bottled juice for the real fruit. Fresh juice doesn’t keep long. If you have too much, freeze it in ice cube trays.
This recipe is adapted from Bring It! Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining, by Ali Rosen.
How to make Mini Lemon Meringues
First, preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until combined, about one minute. Then, add in salt and increase the speed to medium high and add in sugar and cloves slowly, mixing until it forms stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest.
Using a spoon, drop small circles of the meringue onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and make an indent in the middle of each. If you don’t feel comfortable using a spoon, a piping bag will work.
Bake mini meringues for 20 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
To make the lemon curd, beat butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the two large eggs and two yolks one at a time, mixing slowly. Add lemon juice and combine.
Heat a saucepan on low heat and add the lemon mixture. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat to cool.
Once the lemon curd and meringue have cooled, spoon the curd on top of the meringue and smooth it out. Garnish with a mint leaf and blueberry on each meringue.