So for the past couple of years, I’ve been quite miffed each time I tried to make lemon curd because inevitably, there would be an underlying tinge of egginess, which I convinced myself was a sign that something had gone horribly wrong. Bloggers galore warned about the perils of overcooking the mixture (or cooking it too quickly) and inadvertently scrambling the carefully whipped eggs in what should otherwise be smooth, creamy, lemony goodness, and so I figured that had to be the root of my crisis. So there I was, spending 40 minutes endlessly stirring yet another batch of oh-my-goodness-how-have-you-still-not-thickened lemon curd over the smallest amount of heat that my stove could possibly produce without shutting off altogether, and being foiled by residual egginess nevertheless.
At some point I finally caved and just bought a jar of the premade stuff from the grocery store.
And when I finally cracked it open and took a first taste, imagine my surprise when I noticed that it too had just a teensy, tiny bit of egginess to it too.
The moral of this story? Fruit curd is unavoidably slightly eggy. Egg-averse individuals beware.
(On the bright side, vegan options apparently exist, and despite their shorter shelf-life (thanks, clumpy cornstarch), they are 100% un-eggy and delicious nevertheless).
If such a travesty is a cross that you are willing to bear, then prepare yourself for this week’s delightfully bright lemon meringue verrine. Start with a layer of crunchy gingersnap crumbs, layer on lemon curd and fluffy little dollops of meringue, aggressively attack with a tiny torch (incidentally, I discovered that in a pinch, a candle lighter will do if Amazon Prime manages to fail you and not deliver your new kitchen torch before the last rays of the sun set), and end up with a relatively low effort to outcome ratio treat. If you go out and purchase premade gingersnaps and jarred lemon curd, the process whittles itself down to just crumbling cookies and whipping meringues. Easy peasy!
(As an aside, I’m never entirely sure what to call layered-things-in-a-cup. Parfaits? Trifles? Verrines? Something else entirely? The world may never know.)
So if you’re looking for some sunshine during these dreary April showers, whip up a glass or two of lemon meringue pie in perfectly spoonable form. Hope you enjoy!
Lemon Meringue Verrine
Lemon curd recipe adapted from FineCooking
Makes 2 very large verrines
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crystallized ginger pieces
Granulated sugar and ground ginger for rolling
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbs lightly packed finely grated lemon zest
1 pinch of salt
2 egg whites
120 g granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
- In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
- Mix in the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients until fully incorporated, then fold in the crystallized ginger.
- Wrap the dough in saran wrap and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- After chilling, form the dough into small balls about 1.5″ in diameter. Mix about 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbs ground ginger in a shallow plate, and roll each of the dough balls to cover with the ginger sugar.
- Space out the cookie dough balls about 2″ apart from one another on the lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are firm but the center is still slightly soft. Set aside to cool, then crumble about 6 of the cookies and set aside for assembly!
Tip: This recipe makes about 36 cookies, which is way more than you need for the trifles. Fortunately, the cookie dough freezes really well, so feel free to bake up just 6 for the trifles (or more for a little snack) and freeze the pre-chilled cookie dough balls before rolling in the ginger sugar in a quart size freezer bag for a rainy day.
- In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and half of the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs until fully incorporated and emulsified into a smooth mixture.
- In a small pot, heat the lemon juice until small bubbles begin to form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat, then add to the egg mixture a little at a time while whisking vigorously.
- Transfer the mixture back into the pot and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat immediately and immediately strain with a sieve into a heat-proof container.
Tip: DO NOT let the lemon curd boil. It will almost certainly scald the eggs and ruin the texture and taste of your lemon curd.
- Stir in the lemon zest and salt, cover with a layer of saran wrap that touches the top surface of the curd, and set aside to cool completely!
- Beat together the sugar and egg whites to firm peaks. At this point, when you lift out the beaters, you should see peaks that gently curl over at the tip. Immediately begin assembly.
- Spoon a layer of gingersnap crumbs into the bottom of the serving glass. Top with a layer of lemon curd.
- Load the meringue into a piping bag with a round tip (I used the Wilton #1A!). Pipe small dollops of meringue over the layer of lemon curd.
- Repeat to add another layer of gingersnap crumbs, lemon curd, and meringue. Gently toast the top layer of meringue with the torch and top with lemon zest. Serve immediately. Enjoy!