At last! I am happy to write that I have finally made a successful batch of Lemony Meringue Cookies! Sunday, after wasting over a dozen eggs on batch #2 (sorry, Chicken Little) and washing and re-washing my equipment, I finally made a great batch of Lemony Meringues on my third batch.
Batch #2: Sunday, armed with a dozen eggs, lemon curd, and all my meringue ingredients, I set out to make a beautiful and lemony batch of meringues. I separated my egg whites carefully, and on the fourth of four eggs, a dab of yolk escaped and joined it’s egg white buddy in the bowl. Ugh. Four eggs down the drain. (Egg whites containing yolk will not beat properly, so yolk is considered death to meringues.) I grabbed four more eggs. On the third egg, a dab of yolk slipped through again, ruining the first two whites. I reached for four more, hoped for the best, and successfully separated four egg whites! Huzzah!
It was too early to celebrate; however, so I pressed on. I attached the whisk to my electric mixer and beautifully frothed my egg whites. I added cream of tartar and salt, and after a short period of whisking, my egg whites developed a nice soft peak. It was then safe to start slowly adding the sugar. I added about a tablespoon at a time, and I watched as my whisking created stiff peaks.
Then, it happened. I added lemon curd, and my happy high turned to a languishing low. My gorgeous stiff peaks became a glossy river of goo – delicious, but goo. My face and heart fell in unison. My entire carton of eggs was gone, and all I had to show for it was tasty goo. I am not a gal who is quick to give in to defeat. I’ll admit defeat, but I am not quick to give in to it. I was going to make these meringues if it took all night!
Batch #3 Meringues are a fickle friend. They’re tricky, and one mis-calculation, one mis-step can destroy a batch in an instant. My mis-step only cost me time and a dozen eggs. No defeat. I knew I could do this. I knew when and how I’d made my mistake, and now my only choice was to correct it. After a run to the store for an even larger carton and quantity of eggs this time, I started over.
I carefully cracked four eggs and separated the egg whites and used my faithful mixer to whisk the egg whites to a froth.
So far, so good. Feeling confident, but certainly not cocky, I added 1/2 tsp of cream of tarter and 1/2 tsp of salt and whisked until soft peaks began to form and then gingerly added a cup of sugar about one tablespoon at at time. Instead of adding a tablespoon of lemon curd, I zested a lemon into the mixture.
I continued to whisk until the peaks could stand on their own. They were nicely peaked and did not drip when lifted.
To achieve that wonderfully lemony flavor I desired, I lined my pastry bag with lemon curd and added the mixture. I piped sweet droplets of my mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets and baked at 200 for an hour and a half. The cookies cooled in the oven for an hour.
I couldn’t wait to taste them and see if I’d succeeded. I bit into one little cookie, and it practically melted in my mouth. The light and airy cookies were sweet with a bit of lemon to balance the sweetness, and they had a nice crunch to them.
Meringues are, indeed, tricky, but the reward is an adorably sublime little cookie. For some great tips on making meringues, visit www.whatscookingamerica.net and read their post, Meringue Recipe, How to Make Perfect Egg White Meringue. Reading their story, I can still see that I have so much to learn about making meringues. My meringues aren’t perfect, but they sure are tasty!