Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!!




Easter is a wonderful excuse for making meringue baskets. You can make them in stages, assembling them at the last minute or a few hours before to allow the meringues to soften.

Meringue Baskets (makes about 6 baskets)

Click here for printable recipe.

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar, superfine is best
½ tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 200º F.

Beat whites until frothy on medium speed. Add cream of tartar and turn up speed to medium high. When soft peaks form, start adding the sugar very slowly in a tiny stream while beating at high speed. Add all the sugar and continue beating until mixture is stiff and shiny.

Prepare 1 large baking sheet and 1 medium baking sheet with shiny side down foil. (The side probably doesn’t matter, but I’m superstitious.) Trace as many 3 inch circles as you can fit with about an inch in between.



Fill a large piping bag, fitted with a star nozzle, with the meringue mixture. You'll need to refill it once or twice. Pipe 6 bases in 6 of the circles. Start by piping a ring just inside the traced line and continue until circle is filled in.

For the handles, if desired, pipe meringue along edge of traced circle, going a little bit over half the circle. Pipe a little rosette at the end of each handle. Pipe a few extra handles in case one or two break.


You can press down any pointy tips with a wet finger.


Next pipe 3 rings on top of each base to form the sides. See note.




With any extra meringue, pipe little

Hershey Kiss type shapes

in between the baskets. I use those as

sentinels. If THEY don’t come off the baking sheet easily, then the larger shapes I’m baking are definitely not done.



Bake for an hour and a half in preheated oven.

Test a little kiss for doneness. If it comes off easily and doesn't taste too gummy inside, it’s done. Turn off oven and leave baking sheets in for up to another hour. Remove from oven, carefully remove meringues from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

Fill as desired with fruit and/or lemon curd and top with a bit of whipped cream. (You can also fold a 1/2 cup of whipped cream into the lemon curd for a creamier filling.) Attach handles with a dollop of whipped cream.



The meringues may be made up to a week ahead and stored in an airtight container or frozen, which I prefer. Thawing isn’t necessary, just fill the baskets straight from the freezer.

Note:

Don’t make baskets more than 3 inches wide. With the base and 3 layers of meringue for the sides, that’s more than enough meringue for one serving.

A slight variation on baskets is making NESTS. There's only a slight difference in piping the sides.

* For BASKETS, pipe the sides as 3 separate rings, one right on top of the other. Then you’ll pipe handles as outlined above.

* For NESTS, pipe 3 rows along the edge of the base without stopping…going continuously up the sides. The top edge may be a bit less straight than the basket. Also you might want to start with an oval base, instead of a round.

Lemon Curd (makes 2 cups)

Click here for printable recipe.

3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
4 oz. (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup fresh lemon juice (2 large or 3 smaller lemons)
2 tbls. fresh lemon zest

Place the eggs and sugar in a small metal mixing bowl on top of a medium pot of gently simmering water. Beat until well mixed. (With a fork is fine.)

Stir with wooden spoon or plastic spatula until sugar is dissolved. Stir in butter and lemon juice. Continue to cook until thick, stirring most of the time, until the butter is completely melted and the foam has disappeared from the top.



(I like to use candy thermometer. The lemon curd is done when the mixture comes to just 175º F.)

Immediately take lemon curd off the heat and pour it through a sieve into a small bowl.

Stir in lemon zest. Place plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Note: I had a few extra yolks around, so I used 2 eggs and 2 yolks for the lemon curd. Some folks use all yolks. In that case, use 6 egg yolks, instead of 3 eggs.

7 comments:

Phyllis said...

oops, a bit late on wishing you a Happy Easter! The meringue baskets and lemon curd look wonderful. Hope you had a great holiday!

Tom said...

These look beautiful, Sue! And a lovely weekend to bake, too. Hope you had a happy Easter!

Sue said...

Thanks so much, Phyllis,
I'll be seeing you soon!

Thanks, Tom,
They were sooo yummy. I hope your weekend was lovely too and that you've been appreciating those gorgeous cherry blossoms.

Emily said...

Happy Easter to you!

These baskets are gorgeous, and delicious, I'm sure. I will never ever be as good as you are with making and piping meringue. You have skills! Mmm lemon curd.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

These are too cute! The kids in my family would devour them! (Well, they would remove the actual fruit first, but they'd dig the baskets). Glad to see a nice basic lemon curd recipe. I have to keep this in mind.

Sue said...

Thank you, Em! Maybe my piping is better than yours...for the moment (which I totally don't believe, by the way), but your everything else is way better than mine!

Rach,
Yeah, these are definitely kid-friendly.

You'll love the lemon curd, It's so...lemony.

Tracy said...

Those baskets were beautiful!