[Stacks of meringue, layered with whipped cream and Meyer lemon cream]
A few days ago, Mark suggested making Dorie Greenspan's famous lemon cream. She uses it to fill shortbread crusts, but he thought it would be good to make a lemon cream pavlova (of sorts) instead. Fast forward to us, taking turns whisking that freaking lemon cream, and me, chanting to myself that I would never -- never, never, never -- make it again.
1. The lemon cream was supposed to get to 180 degrees in under 10 minutes, quoth Dorie Greenspan. Only, try this: 40. minutes. of. continuous. whisking. (I later found that Dorie updated the recipe on her blog.)
2. The cream was supposed to be creamy and silky, only ours -- after a night in the fridge -- rebelled. When I pulled it out of the fridge, it was full of lumps of butter. What the what!!! as my best friend Julia would say.
It was the lemon cream of a hundred cuss words.
Once you get through all the whisking, though, the lemon cream is good: light, lovely, velvety, and perfumed with sweet Meyer lemon zest and juice. Dorie Greenspan calls it her "extraordinary" lemon cream and it is (despite my cranky ranting). It just happens to take a long-ass time to make. Did I mention the obscene amount of butter? 21 tablespoons of butter. That is not a typo!
No matter how good it tasted in the end, I don't want to post a recipe that didn't quite work the way it was supposed to. So, no recipe. But the important thing is that making this dessert reminded me how much I love Mark's version of pavlova. A traditional pavlova has a marshmallow-y interior, but Mark bakes layers of meringue until they are entirely crisp throughout. In the end, you get this really lovely layered dessert: each bite has a layer of crisp meringue and soft whipped cream, plus lemon zest or chocolate or whatever fruit you like. His recipe is coming soon to a blog near you. It will be easier than this one and I promise it will not involve any lemon cream.