Spring is here…. the birds are singing, the weather is getting warmer and the flowers are starting to bloom! So, why not celebrate the change in season with this decadent dessert that is a beautiful mix of both sweet and tart. These Meringue Nests topped with Lemon Curd and Fresh Fruit are deliciously refreshing and melt in your mouth! They are perfect for spring and make a festive dessert for Easter!
Lemon Curd: Makes ~16 Servings
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon zest from fresh lemons
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
Tip: Make a Double-Boiler by filling a small pot with water and warming over medium to high heat. Once steam starts to form and water starts to boiling, place a heatproof bowl (Pyrex) on top of the pot. Reduce the heat to low and keep the water simmering.
1) Add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt into the heatproof bowl, combine by whisking constantly for 7 to 10 minutes until the lemon mixture cooks and thickens to a consistency that resembles a thick sauce or gravy.
Tip: Constant whisking prevents the egg yolks from curdling. If the lemon mixture is not thickening, turn up the heat and constantly whisk until it thickens.
2) Remove the bowl from the heat and add in 1 Tablespoon of softened butter at a time to the lemon mixture, whisking until it melts, then repeat this process until all 8 Tablespoons of the butter have been added in.
3) If there are visible lumps in the curd, strain it through a sieve to achieve a nice smooth consistency.
4) Transfer the curd to a container, placing plastic wrap directly on the top surface of the curd to prevent a skin or film from forming as the curd cools. Once cool, the plastic wrap can be removed.
5) Chill before serving. Refrigerate the curd for up to 5 days.
Meringue Nests: Makes ~16 Nests Cook time: 2-3 hours
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup fine sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 200°F or 90°C
2) Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Can also use a hand mixer.
3) Beat eggs at medium speed until frothy, then add in cream of tartar and continue to beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.
4) Add in fine sugar a Tablespoon at a time, allowing it to gradually dissolve until all sugar is incorporated and you have stiff peaks and the Meringue has a glossy sheen.
5) Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in the vanilla and beat another 30 seconds.
6) Transfer the Meringue to a piping bag and pipe onto a parchment lined baking sheet. **Use a Round or Star tip with the piping bag (1 cm wide).
7) Pipe the Meringue onto the parchment in a nest like shape by making a circular base, then continuing the circles around the edges.
8) Bake the Meringue Nests in the oven at 200°F or 90°C for 2 to 3 hours. The exterior should be hard and crisp, but the interior slightly soft.
9) Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container until ready to serve.
Tip: If you do not have a piping bag, use a large freezer bag- fill with meringue and close tightly at the top letting out the air as you close. Twist the freezer bag to push the meringue to one corner of the freezer bag and when ready to use, cut the corner of the bag off big enough so that the meringue is rounded when creating the nests.
Tip: When stored in an airtight container and placed in a cool, dry place, meringues can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. Freezing is the best option if you won’t be using the meringues for a while.
How to Assemble:
1) Place Lemon Curd on top of Meringue Nests
2) Add favourite Fresh Fruit… ie. Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries (Fruit does not have to be berries, any fruit can be used)
3) Garnish with Mint Leaf and sprinkle with Icing Sugar (optional)
Caring is Sharing – Gift Ideas:
- This treat is perfect to give as a small gift such as a gift basket!
- Fill an 8oz or 16oz mason jar with Lemon Curd, add a tag with a sweet message and some ribbon.
- Place the Meringue Nests in nice cellophane cookie bags and tie with some colourful ribbon.
- Lastly, fill a container with pre-washed and cut fruits with instructions on how to assemble and how to properly store.
- If you are feeling really crafty, you can decorate the outside of the mason jar with pipe cleaners to make ears and stick eyes and a black cotton ball for a nose on the jar to make the jar look like a bunny. This is a great way to get the whole family involved.
- If you would prefer to use something different than mason jars and cellophane, you can also use different shaped jars or bottles and package the Meringues in festive tins lined with wax or parchment paper. Add a bow for an extra touch!
- If you want to make this delicious dessert, but do not feel like making any or all of the components from scratch, pre-made Lemon Curd and Meringue Nests can be purchased at your local grocery store – usually in the baking aisle or where ice cream cones and toppings are found.
- Instead of piping Meringue Nests, try piping different Meringue shapes such as an egg shape or bunny ears – so fun!
- Not a fan of Lemon Curd? Substitute with an instant pudding, ie. Lemon, Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry flavour etc.
- Instead of using fruit, top with chocolate shavings or chocolate Easter eggs.
- The options are endless and can be customized to what ever fits your fancy!