You mustmustmust try this. I’m not kidding, and I only really like chocolate desserts. (Plus, this is a must for Passover in addition to–never instead of!–the standard flourless chocolate cake.) This recipe came to us with such strong recommendations from my good friend Michael, whom I totally trust when it comes to food (and much else!), that I decided to open up and go with it. Maybe I just don’t get out enough, but I’ve never had anything quite like it—light but rich; smooth but textured with the meringue chunks; gentle but zippy with Meyer-lemon tanginess. Plus, I loved that it was frozen, but nothing like ice cream or sherbet—you’ve just gotta make this!
Here’s what Michael said: “This was created by our friend Gail Monaghan, who wrote the fabulous Lost Desserts book and teaches cooking classes in her chic apartment. She made this up when she had some leftover lemon curd (who else would?). I made it for our friend Norman’s 87th birthday party, and people raved like I have never experienced before—literally demanding the recipe, saying it was the best thing they had ever tasted. Better than the fabulous (Martha Stewart) chocolate cake I had made the year before. Eight of us finished off the whole thing (it supposedly serves 10) but then one guest had four pieces! And if you make the meringue and lemon curd the day before, and then assemble it the next morning, it’s actually quite easy. You need a microplane however. How else zest 6 lemons!”
As soon as Michael sent the recipe I was in. Fortunately, I still had a drawer full of Meyer lemons in my refrigerator, but no microplane—I did the zesting on a grater, and of course shredded my knuckles (but it was worth it). Also, I can’t make meringue in my kitchen–it’s too humid and it always detumesces (I tried for years to make Caspar cookies with Emma on Halloween to no avail)—so I bought vanilla meringue cookies and broke them up—I probably used four ounces; the mixture was pretty full of meringue chunks. Made the recipe even easier!
Serves 8 to 10
1 recipe lemon curd, see below
1 ½ cups heavy cream, whipped
1 recipe meringue, broken into big pieces, see below
Note: Best to make meringue and curd the day before assembling dessert.
1 ¾ cups sugar
Finely grated zest of 6 lemons (use a microplane if you have one)
Juice of 4 of the zested lemons
10 egg yolks
9 oz. heavy cream
Mix the finely grated lemon zest with the sugar.
Whisk the yolks with the sugar and zest until pale yellow. Stir in lemon juice.
Heat the cream to scalding in a large saucepan and then pour it into the yolk mixture in a steady stream while whisking continually.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continually with a whisk. When the mixture has thickened and simmered for a minute or two, pour it back into the bowl and stir for two to three minutes to cool the cream and to keep it from curdling. Let cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
3 egg whites
1 cup of super fine granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
¼ t. cream of tartar
¾ t. vanilla
Add salt and cream of tartar to egg whites. With the electric mixture set on low, beat until stiff enough to hold shape. Slowly raise the speed while gradually adding sugar, about two tablespoons at a time, beating about two minutes after each addition. Add vanilla and beat about five minutes longer at high speed.
Spread in a large circle on a buttered parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and bake at 325 degrees for about an hour, or a bit more. Turn off oven and leave the meringue in the oven several hours, or preferably overnight.
Fold the whipped cream into the lemon curd. Then fold in the chunks of meringue. Pour into a 9- or 10-inch springform pan and freeze, covered with aluminum foil, for at least four hours or up to four days. You will probably need to slip a spatula around the sides before removing the springform. Serve immediately.
Other Recipes from Gail