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I have a son who loves all things lemon, especially lemon desserts, like a classic lemon meringue pie. I was excited to try this mini version sans the crust. The meringue has a lovely crunch on the exterior and the interior is chewy and just melts in your mouth. And the homemade lemon curd in the center is just heavenly. You don’t really miss the crust (this coming from a die-hard crust-lover) because of the texture of the baked meringue.

Quick note: I made these first as little sandwich cookies or meringue whoopie pies, perhaps (pictured above) adapted from a terrific Joy the Baker recipe. Aren’t they cute?  Being that I had some lemon curd leftover, I brainstormed a different shape to hold the curd – a meringue nest of sorts. They are equally delicious both ways, but I found the second batch much easier to eat and transport/serve. All that’s to say, you certainly have options with this recipe. Get creative and have fun with it.

I will warn you that these are terribly addictive. They’re so small and light and airy it’s easy to eat several of them without even thinking about it. But, aren’t those the best kind of recipes?  I would be beyond thrilled if I went to an event (like a baby shower or an afternoon tea or a Mother’s Day lunch) that served these. They’re just so fun and bright and pretty, perfect for spring and summer.

Mini Lemon Meringues

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Adapted from [Joy the Baker|http://joythebaker.com/2011/03/lemon-meringue-cookies/] (Lemon Curd originally from David Lebovitz)

Yields: 1-2 dozen meringues

  • For the Meringue:
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3c sugar
  • 1t lemon zest
  • 1t vanilla
  • For the Curd:
  • 1/2c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 6T butter

!To make the Meringues:

Place oven racks in the upper and middle level of your oven. Preheat to 200. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Reserving the yolks for the lemon curd, place egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Add the pinch of salt and increase speed to medium-high. Slowly add sugar. Beat until the egg whites become thick and glossy, holding stiff peaks, similar to melted marshmallow.

Fold in the lemon zest and vanilla. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. To make the nest shape onto the parchment, pipe a silver-dollar sized circle, from the center outward, making sure it's solid so it will hold the curd. Then, pipe another layer around the outside edge, leaving a nest in the middle. Repeat until all the meringue has been used.

Bake for 60-75 minutes (you'll need to try one to test doneness- meringue should be crunchy on the outside and no longer sticky, but chewy and airy on the inside. If it's still wet and frothy on the interior, they're not done yet. If it's dry and crispy throughout they are overdone).

Cool completely on racks.

!To make the Curd:

Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and salt. Turn heat to medium-low and add butter, whisking constantly. Cook the curd until the butter is completely melted and the mixture has thickened significantly, like pudding. It does not need to come to a boil, it will be fully cooked before it comes to a boil.

Pour hot curd directly into strainer, pressing the curd through using a rubber spatula, separating out any egg bits.

Pour curd into a jar and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the curd to prevent a thick film from forming. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

!To assemble:

Place curd into a piping bag with a small tip or a plastic zip bag with a corner cut off. Squeeze curd slowly into the meringue nests until just full.

Serve immediately.

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