The Lemon Meringue Cake Crisis

 

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A lemon meringue cake, that was the brief. Decorate it however you want mama…

No problem what so ever kiddo, of course I can do that. With three obvious components to the recipe, this should be an easy one, and not something to be worried about at all right?

Right??

Cake, done and dusted. I made that the day before. Curd? Yep, being the efficient person I can be, I made that one two days before. On the celebratory day, it’s just a simple Italian meringue and assemble the thing. Easy peasy.

I was using a new candy thermometre, which I thought was particularly adult of me, instead of the usual guess work that I normally do to get to hardball stage. The thermometre didn’t seem to work out so well though.  I burnt the sugar syrup before it had even gotten close to the magic temperature it needed to get to. Which as I’m sure you can image, burnt sugar is a pure joy to clean off.

Start again, new eggs, new sugar, clean pan. I didn’t move a muscle, no distractions what so ever. Just my full attention in the pot, and yet it seemed to be heading in the exact same damn direction as the first failed lot. Why oh why? No time to wonder, I had to slap this all together quick sticks and make do with what I had.

And it’s at this point, where a good cake, that had lots of potential just began to look sadder and sadder. Three upturned waffle cones, with piped (slightly burnt tinged, but we can ignore that) italian meringue with pretty cachous and rock sugar sprinkled throughout sounds like a good idea.

Well turns out it looks like a snow-capped earthship. Even the smallest declared I might have put a bit too much ‘icing on’. I kept adding to it, hoping it would get better.

It didn’t.

I added tall beautiful beeswax candles, that did help a little as a distraction technique, and then all we had to do was cut into it.

All was ok again once more, it really did taste great.

Lemon and olive oil cake with lemon curd and italian meringue is a combination that works, that part is definitely tried and true. It’s the decorating bit that needs an overhaul, unless you are wanting a snow capped earthship building cake of course, and then hey, I’ve got you covered.

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Lemon and Olive Oil Cake recipe here.

Three Blue Ducks Lemon Curd recipe

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie was always my childhood favourite dessert. Mums recipe was a little cut out one from some out dated ’70’s magazine and I thought it was heaven in a pie dish.

Actually I still think its heaven in a pie dish.

There are so many sweet lemony concoctions that pass as lemon meringue pie. Pastry base vs biscuit base. Tangy vs sweet. Meringue that is sky high or just slapped on.

I get nervous ordering this if I am out somewhere as its such a let down when the taste isn’t up to scratch.

My mums lemon meringue pies have actually evolved a little over time, and depends on who is coming to visit on which type she will make. For me the original is still the best, with a few tweaks from me if I make it though. I’ve only made it a few times as,

1/ I’ll eat it all with no holding back and,

2/ When something is such a favourite, I actually get a little nervous cooking it. High expectations!

The original recipe calls for a biscuit crumb base, but I think the pastry does it more justice though.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pastry

300gms (2 cups) plain flour

150gms butter

1 tsp vinegar

1/2 cup icing sugar

a little cold water

Knead dough lightly, cover in cling wrap and rest in fridge for about an hour. Roll dough out. Cutting to pie shape (I did individual sized ones), bake blind at 180C. Pastry does shrink a little, so allow room for that. Any left over pastry can be put in the freezer for another time.

Lemon Mixture

1 tin condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

grated lemon rind of 2 lemons

3 egg yolks

Add all the ingredients together, combining well, and then carefully spoon into cooked pie shells.

Meringue

3 egg whites

1/2 cup caster sugar

In a mixer slowly add sugar to egg whites until forms stiff meringue peaks.

Dollop meringue on to lemon mixture in the pie shells, and bake at 180C until peaks start to colour (approx 15 mins).

I also had some left over lemon mixture and meringue, so rather than make up more pies I made a Lemon Meringue Cake. Just added a cup or so of S/R flour to the lemon mixture and then folded the meringue through. Whack it in the oven and bake until springs back and golden. Easy- peasy.