Use egg whites for knockout, wispy meringues and use yolks and whole eggs for a bright, lip-smacking and lemony curd. Yin and yang in pudding form.
Simply three ingredients – but the devil is in the detail. Make sure that both the bowl and your hands are very clean, and cook slow in a low oven. Patience is essential. An electric whisk or mixer is vital.
Ingredients (makes about 10)
300g caster sugar
5 egg whites, at room temperature (take care that there is no egg yolk in the white)
½ lemon, juiced
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl or tray and put in the oven for five to ten minutes to heat through.
3. Wipe the mixing bowl and the whisk all over with the lemon juice (discard any excess juice). Add the eggs to the bowl and whisk until foamy. Pour the hot sugar slowly into the bowl, with the whisk still going.
4. Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled. It should now be glossy and hold its shape in stiff peaks. Turn the oven down to 100°C.
5. Using a large metal spoon, scoop the meringue onto the lined baking sheet in big, oval-shaped spoonfuls. Leave space between the meringues as they will increase in size as they bake. Use the back of the spoon to make an indent in each meringue. This will give your meringue a pocket to fill with curd and cream later.
6. Put the meringues into the oven and turn it down to about 70°C. Bake until they are crisp on the outside and feel hollow when tapped underneath. This should take about 3-4 hours. When cooked, turn off the oven, leaving the meringues inside to cool slowly, or they may crack. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
To make the Lemon Curd
If using waxed lemons, rinse each one under hot water and lightly scour with a clean wire brush to remove any wax.
200ml lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
1. Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of just-simmering water. Make sure that the bottom of the basin does not touch the water. Stir with a whisk from time to time until all the butter has melted.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and egg yolks lightly with a whisk. Add the eggs to the bowl of lemon juice and melted butter. 3. Whisk the curd over a gentle heat for about 12 to 15 minutes, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Scrape the sides of the pan with a spatula regularly to prevent the mixture sticking.
4. Remove the bowl from the heat, stirring occasionally as the curd cools.
5. Store in sterilised jars in the fridge. Unopened, it keeps for up to three weeks.
To Serve: Scoop lemon curd and a dollop of whipped cream into a meringue.