Luscious Lemon Meringue Dessert
Serves 8. Recipe is from Corinne Cook. If the shell is not sturdy enough to serve as a slice, simply spoon the mixture into small dessert dish and top with strawberry slices.
4 eggs (separate whites from yolks in separate bowls)
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt, divided
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups sugar, divided
4 tbls. cornstarch
1½ cups water
½ cup fresh lemon juice (add more if desired)
1 tbl. butter
1 cup cream for whipping
1 cup sliced strawberries for topping if desired
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Butter 9-inch pie plate or cover baking sheet with parchment paper if making individual 3-inch “nests.”
2. With electric mixer, beat egg whites with ¼ teaspoon salt and cream of tartar until very foamy and about double in volume. Add vanilla and while constantly beating, add ¾ cup sugar (1 heaping tablespoonful at a time). Beat until sugar is dissolved and meringue stands in stiff peaks.
3. Spoon meringue into buttered pie plate OR onto parchment-lined baking sheet to make 3-inch meringue “nests.” Push edges up with back of spoon to make rim or shell.
4. Bake in preheated 275-degree oven for about 1 hour for crust in pie plate OR about 45 minutes or less for small “nests.” The meringue should be firm and lightly golden. If they get too brown quickly, loosely cover with a piece of foil. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
5. Make lemon filling while meringue bakes: In large mixing bowl, add remaining ¾ cup sugar, cornstarch and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in water, egg yolks and lemon juice. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then pour into heavy saucepan.
6. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Stir until butter is melted. Pour into bowl, cover surface with piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill until completely cold.
7. Beat whipping cream with mixer until thickened. Chill then layer lemon filling alternately with whipped cream into meringue shell or “nests.” Top with sliced strawberries if desired.