Lemon Meringue Pavlova Celebration Cake

I was walking through the shops with the family the other day, pacing ahead as I normally do. The kids were dawdling behind, as was my husband, all of whom are quite happy just meandering along.

But this is not all that unusual, for I do tend to operate at ‘hyper’ speed these days. My morning is spent running from one end of the house to the other, picking up clothes and toys, moving washing into the drier (then inevitably putting another load into the washer). Dishes are put away, lunch boxes are packed and school bags (often literally) thrown into the boot of the car. And that’s all before we leave at 7.30am.

And while this approach is mostly productive, it is tiring. It also means that I often start one task only to be distracted by another, as the seemingly never-ending ‘to do’ list swirls around my head.

So I am trying to find time to slow things down, when I can. My morning walk helps, even if it means rugging up and bracing the frigid temperatures outside in the dark.

Baking also helps. For it is pretty impossible to speed up – unless you want to end up with a bit of a kitchen disaster on your hands!

And this pretty little cake that I made a while ago certainly could not be rushed. It was my husband’s birthday – and knowing he loves both lemon cheesecake and pavlova – it felt like the perfect opportunity to create something new to mark the occasion.

I started by making a pavlova base – baked in a round cake tin until firm (but still a little marshmalloey) on the inside. Once cooled, this was topped with a layer of lemon cheesecake, through which I swirled lemon curd. Baked again – until set – then allowed to cool.

Then it was time to decorate. Fresh raspberries, blueberries and cream, finished with a white chocolate decoration and a couple macarons I came across at the local bakery.

Yes, this was certainly not a cake that could be rushed – and the various elements meant that it took the better part of an entire afternoon to create. But it was fun to design, and to create, and I must say slowing down for a few hours was rather lovely too.

Lemon Meringue Tartlets

I am by no means a green thumb.

Gardening does not come naturally to me, and with the frosty Canberra winters, and hot dry summers, well needless to say – we have lost our fair share of plants over the years.

However, there are two plants I seem to be able to grow in abundance – rosemary and lavender.  In fact, I don’t seem to be able to keep up with their growth – resulting in a decent day of pruning the other week.

The other plant that has survived with relatively little intervention is our lemon tree.  I suspect we just got lucky when we planted it, for despite minimal work on our part, it has given us lots of lemons. Even if it is only still a small tree.

And there is something rather wonderful about being able to collect lemons from your own tree, don’t you think? Which is exactly what I did a few weeks ago when asked to bring a “sweet” to share at a BBQ with our neighbours.

The lemons were soon turned into lemon curd, which was then used to fill homemade tartlet cases, and topped with a little meringue. It wasn’t the quickest of sweets to make, and probably not one that I would make if time was short, but over the course of the day the tartlets came together and the end result was quite pleasing.

I loved the vibrancy of the lemon curd, which on this occasion was not overly sweet and still a little tart. I decided not to go too overboard with the meringue either, stopping at just a few piped rounds – although I could have quite easily been more generous and covered the whole of the tartlet with meringue.

Here’s hoping our lemon tree continues to yield!

Print Recipe
Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
  1. Start by making the lemon curd - a day in advance, if possible. Combine the lemon juice, zest, caster sugar and eggs in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of gently simmering water, and heat slowly - whisking continuously. The mixture will slowly turn from a frothy consistency to a thick, velvety consistency - and you will know that it is ready when you can coat the back of a spoon and draw a clear line through it. At this stage, remove the curd from the heat, and whisk through the cold butter until the mixture is rich and glossy. Set aside until ready to use (or place in the fridge overnight).
  1. To make the tartlets, place the flour, icing sugar, salt and butter in a food processor, and pulse until the butter has been cut in. Add the egg, and continue to process until the dough just comes together. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough gently. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180C, and lightly grease 12 tartlet cases.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is around 4mm thick. Cut out suitably-sized rounds from the dough, and press into the tartlet cases - trimming off any excess. Prick the base of each case a few times with a fork. Place the tartlet cases on a baking tray, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove the shells and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the meringue, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar, one spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk until you have stiff peaks.
  5. To assemble - pipe lemon curd into each of tartlet case. Top with meringue, and brown slightly using a kitchen blow torch.
Recipe Notes

If you don't have tartlet cases, you could make the tartlets using a mini muffin tray.

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Lemon meringue pie

IMG_2925 I have mentioned it once or twice before, I am sure, that Mr BBB’s favourite dessert is lemon meringue pie. So much so, that whenever a baking craving strikes me and I ask him what I should make, he will, without fail, request lemon meringue. IMG_2957 Now, while I love to be an obliging wife, if you have ever made a lemon meringue pie from scratch, you will know that it is not a quick nor a simple dish. Rather there are a number of elements, the pastry, the lemon curd, the meringue, all of which take time. But on one fine day, not that long ago, I found myself with both the time and inclination to grant my dearest husband his dessert wish. And, conveniently, it gave this pastry rookie a chance to work on her pastry making skills, with the help of this little gadget the people at the Kitchenware Superstore were kind enough to send me. IMG_2901 That’s right! A rolling pin with changeable thickness guides to get the pastry even and the perfect thickness (something I am terrible at judging myself!) IMG_2899IMG_2902IMG_2904 So with my 4mm thickness guide in hand, I got to work rolling out the pastry that would form the base of our pie.… IMG_2906IMG_2909 And…..voila! IMG_2910 Perfectly even pastry – cooked until golden brown. IMG_2912 Next, the lemon curd. I followed the Women’s Weekly recipe – and it wasn’t long before the mixture turned from runny into thick glossy curd before my very eyes. IMG_2914 Spooned into the pre-baked crust, and refrigerated for 2 hours (remember I mentioned this recipe takes time….) IMG_2916 Finally, the meringue. Simply egg whites and sugar, beaten until stiff peaks formed, then piled high atop the lemon curd filling. And finished by baking in a hot oven for another 5 minutes or so. IMG_2930 Yes, it takes time. IMG_2925 And yes, it is quite fiddly. IMG_2927 But there really is no denying that the ol’ lemon meringue pie is one impressive dessert. IMG_2929 And there is something just so right about the pastry / lemon curd / meringue combination. IMG_2932 Deliciously right. IMG_2955 What about you? Are you a pro when it comes to making and rolling pastry???

Little and lemony

Sometimes life just calls for a little sweet treat. IMG_7501 Especially when that sweet treat involves luscious lemon curd and pillows of meringue. IMG_7505 aka. Mini lemon meringue pies. A few weeks ago, we had friends around for a BBQ lunch, which is always a ‘trigger’ for me to indulge in a little baking. On this occasion, I decided to experiment with making mini lemon meringue tarts, something that may feature at a certain little one’s party in a few weeks time. IMG_7503 I cheated and used frozen shortcrust pastry, but that ended up being a mistake. The tart shells were not delicate like shortcrust pastry should be. Rather, they were almost chewy? IMG_7502 I did, however, make the lemon curd from scratch and it was rather divine. Eggs, sugar, butter, lemon – heated and whisked until thick – Spooned into the pre-made tarts, then topped with a swirl of meringue. IMG_7506 It was about now, that I wished I had a kitchen blow torch to brown the meringue without having to put them back into the oven. But alas, I do not (soon to be rectified), so I put the meringues into the oven for 5 minutes or so to give the tops a little colour (but not too much). The result? Adorable little tarts, albeit a tad ‘rustic’ in their appearance. IMG_7508 I really enjoyed the meringue and lemon curd elements, but the pastry was just not right. IMG_7510 Nonetheless, they were gobbled up by our guests and I am only too happy to experiment with another batch. A work in progress! IMG_7513 What about you? Are you a fan of lemon meringue? I would have to say that it is a bit of a family favourite in the BBB household!

An easy sweet cheat treat in 1, 2, 3

IMG_9211 A little while ago, I had guests arriving for an impromptu afternoon tea, but not a lot of time to prepare a sweet treat to serve. I did, however, have a packet of meringue nests in the pantry (similar to these…) Picture 039 Which were the perfect base for an easy afternoon tea. I am not kidding when I tell you that these treats took only 5 minutes to put together – in 3 easy steps. 1. Set out the nests on a pretty platter. 2. Whip some good quality cream, and spoon into each nest. 3. Top with strawberry slices and a sprinkle of chocolate powder. IMG_9210 - Copy And you are done. IMG_9207 Told you they were easy! Sure you can make your own meringue nests too – but when time is limited – I think ‘cheating’ a little is perfectly fine… IMG_9209 Given there were none left at the end of the afternoon tea, I am calling these sweet treats a win. Although, you really can’t go wrong when meringue + cream + strawberries are involved – can you??? What about you? Do you have a ‘cheat’ treat that you like to serve?

Lemon meringue cheesecake

IMG_4502 Mr BBB celebrates a birthday later this week. And, as we will be away on his actual birthday, we decided to hold a birthday dinner with his family a little early. Our favourite local Thai restaurant provided the scrumptious main meal, but we headed home for dessert. For we had birthday cake awaiting us. And not just any old birthday cake…. IMG_4512 But a cake that was inspired by Mr BBB’s favourite sweet treat – lemon meringue pie. Adapted to be gluten free, and made into a cheesecake. ie. a lemon meringue cheesecake! The base was rather easy – owing to these GF biscuits I found at our local grocery store. IMG_4485 IMG_4486 Crushed, and combined with melted butter. IMG_4487 Then pressed into the base of a lined spring-form pan. IMG_4488 Topped with the cheesecake layer – made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar and lemon rind. IMG_4489 Baked for 1 hour, and finished with a thick layer of lemon curd (store bought….I cheated).

IMG_4492 And set in the fridge overnight. On the day of serving, all I had to do was finish the cake with a layer of meringue. IMG_4493 Egg whites and sugar, whisked until firm, then piped on top the cheesecake layer. IMG_4494 Baked for a further 10 minutes until the meringue had browned slightly… IMG_4508 And our lemon meringue birthday cheesecake was complete! IMG_4501 IMG_4500 Between the buttery base… IMG_4504 The creamy cheesecake and tart lemon curd centre… IMG_4505 And not to mention the fluffy sweet meringue…. IMG_4502 This cake ended up being quite the lovely adaptation of an old classic. IMG_4507 Minus the hassle of attempting GF pastry! IMG_4519 The slices we served were certainly well received for dessert, so I am calling this baking experiment a win! IMG_4522 Although, can you really go wrong when lemon and meringue are involved??? IMG_4524 I think not. Lemon meringue cheesecake (GF)

  • 250g GF biscuits
  • 120g butter, melted
  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup + 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2tbs lemon curd (make sure it is GF)
  • 3 eggs + 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cornflour
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly grease a round spring-form cake pan, and line base with baking paper.
  2. Process biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, and pulse until combined. Press the biscuit mixture into the prepared tin, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat 3 eggs and 3/4 cup caster sugar, until light and creamy.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and lemon rind until smooth.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the cream cheese mixture, and continue to beat until smooth (do not overbeat!).
  6. Pour atop the biscuit base, and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, and allow to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
  7. Once cooled, spread the lemon curd over the surface of the cheesecake, and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  8. To make the meringue – beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar, a little at a time, whisking until they become stiff peaks and the sugar has incorporated.
  9. Fold through the cornflour, and spoon the meringue into a piping bag. Pipe rounds of the meringue onto the top of the prepared cheesecake, until the surface is mostly covered.
  10. Place in a hot oven (220C) for 10 minutes, or until browned lightly.
  11. Remove and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before serving.