March 3, 2011

Meyer lemon cream meringue stacks

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[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.

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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!

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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.

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5 comments:

Amy said...

It looks lovely anyway! That's the thing about cooking ... people don't know how many times you swore behind the scenes, unless you tell them. I enjoy hearing about it, though ;)

The lemon cream doesn't look lumpy in the photos, though ... did you do something to smooth it out? I have Dorie's new French cookbook and haven't had any problems with recipes not working out, though this recipe sounds a little more, uh, temperamental.

Laura J. said...

Interesting! I'm not a big pavlova fan (too gooey in the middle) but I really like this idea of stacking meringues with whipped cream and lemon cream so you have layers of crisp/soft in each bite. I LOVE that stuff but such a pain to make, right?! I've made it several times -- one time, I had the same seized butter problem, but it was fine the other times. Weird.

Lauren said...

Love Mark's Pavlova. I remember him making one sometime filled with fruit, etc., but it looks like he has tweaked his recipe since then. Either way, Pavlova is a lovely dessert.

And 21 tablespoons of butter is, indeed, obscene.

So is whisking for 40 minutes.

Kim said...

Amy - I let the lemon cream sit at room temperature for 20 minutes and then whipped it in the stand mixer. It kind of worked? I don't know. There were still a few lumps, but I gave up at that point.

Laura - I'm guessing that the seizing butter had to do with the temperature, or maybe it didn't emulsify correctly? I agree. Weird.

Lauren - The very saddest part about the butter is that I tasted the cream prior to adding butter, and again after adding the butter, and I couldn't decide which one I liked better. I mean. If you add 21 TB of butter to something, don't you think it should just be spectacular?! Argh.

Liz in DC said...

Wowza! This looks so pretty! Despite the 40 minute whisking business. Yikes.