Is anyone else prepared for the fourth of July tomorrow? I am still boggled that it’s July in the first place. We don’t do any get togethers for the day, but I do usually participate in a local non-profit fundraiser running event with the kids. It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. And of course, the island parade, and festivities on the pier and fireworks over the harbor. By the end of the day, I am wiped. But, I love these kind of holidays because it brings all sorts of people out of the woodwork that you may not see the rest of the year. You’d be surprised, that, even though I live on an island with a population count of about 4-5,000 in the winter, of how few people you actually see that live locally. The July festivities on the island include, the fourth of July, of course, boat races, and Fisherman’s Day. The latter being a bunch of booths, food, silly activities and a scholarship fund-raiser set up on the pier in town. It’s a lot of fun. But, July is crazy busy. Especially since my oldest’s birthday is in the middle of all that. And strawberry picking season.
Speaking of strawberries, I canned 4 different kinds of jam on Saturday, so two new kinds will be coming your way!
Now, for this dessert. I know that I promised to share it ages ago, and I am sorry for that. I have a lot of food I have been sort of hoarding and needing to share with you all, I just haven’t been feeling the inspiration to write. I am awfully excited about the foods to come, but when I sit down to write a blog post, nothing interesting comes to my mind. Can’t exactly talk about the weather all the time, amIright? Ha
So, in preparation of of the 4th tomorrow, you should make this dessert. It’s beautiful and so delicious. A light and airy meringue is topped with homemade lemon curd and fresh fruit of your choice. You could even make a little American flag design with the fruit. So cute. This is something you could make today, then assemble tomorrow before a BBQ or gathering. A show stopper dessert perfect for any occasion.
Recipe for the meringue from Bake From Scratch Magazine, lemon curd from Lily’s Café Cookbook, Revised Edition by Kyra Alex
For the meringue
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
For the lemon curd*
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 6 large egg yolks
- 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and chopped
- zest of 2 lemons
- fresh fruit of your choice
- confectioners' sugar
- To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar at medium speed until foamy. Then, increase the speed to high and beat in 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Spoon the meringue onto the lined baking sheet, forming a rough 10-inch round, about 3 inches thick.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake until set and dry, about 2 hours. Turn the oven off, leave the door closed, and let the meringue sit in the oven for about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the lemon curd. Whisk the lemon juice and cornstarch in a medium saucepan until smooth. Mix the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, butter chunks and lemon zest into the lemon juice mixture. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until thickened and smooth, about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to scorch the bottom of the pan by having the heat too high. The curd should hold the pattern of the whisk when stirred. Remove from heat and transfer to a metal bowl. Place plastic wrap over the bowl, pushing down so the plastic is touching the curd completely (prevents a skin from forming). Place in the refrigerator until completely cooled, 2-3 hours.**
- When ready to serve, very gently spread the lemon curd over the top of the meringue (it will crack and break, but don't worry about it), then garnish with fresh fruit. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.
*This makes a bit more lemon curd you will need for the dessert. But, don't worry, save the remains and spread it over toast, stir it into vanilla ice cream or eat it with a spoon!
**The lemon curd will last in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.