I swear I didn't plan this, but my subconscious must have played a role here. I mean, it can't just be a coincidence that on the very day before we're taking our middle guy to college and shrinking from 4 to 3 in the house, that I chose today of all days, to highlight Christina Lane's, Dessert for Two, a cookbook that's devoted to small yield desserts! Ok, ok, I know we're still 3 on a regular basis, but still...
That we're going to miss him is unquestionable but it also leaves us with the very real dilemma of having one less mouth to consume all of the dangerous desserts that I churn out here. If this is something you struggle with too, then you're going to love Dessert for Two because it allows you to make all sorts of large idea treats, but on a small, portion-control sized scale. There are brownies for two that you bake in a loaf pan, layer cakes you bake in a 6-inch pan, cookies that yield only 10 per batch, and even pies you bake in mason jar lids. Everything's adorable and irresistible and can only do so much damage to your diet, because no matter what, you're not going to have many tempting leftovers!
As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. All of us LOVE lemon meringue pie and predictably these cookies were gone in a matter of minutes!! You start by making a simple meringue which takes only minutes to put together and then bakes at a low oven temperature for quite a while, but leaves you free to do the surprising amount of laundry that only 2 (or 3 ) people can make!
Once the meringues have baked, you let them dry out in the oven for another hour. Meanwhile you make the lemon curd, which comes together very easily too.
Next, you whip 1/4 cup of heavy cream with some confectioners' sugar and assemble your mini-pies. Each meringue shell gets a large scoop of lemon curd and is topped with a generous amount of sweetened whipped cream. Heavenly!
Each bite is the perfect combination of crunchy meringue, tart lemon filling and sweet whipped cream. Just right for a light after-dinner treat! And another good thing, they're gluten free!!
So if you love dessert, but don't want to be left with tons of willpower-draining leftovers, pick up a copy of Dessert for Two or take a look at Christina's website, www.dessertfortwo.com. We'll be carting our baby boy off to his dorm this weekend, sniff-sniff, and planning some small batch desserts, at least for the next couple of weeks until the older one comes home for a short visit and brings his appetite! Have a great weekend, guys!!
Dessert for Two's Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies-Famous Fridays
Makes 4 cookies
Prep Time for Meringues: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 40 minutes, plus 1 hour to dry out in turned-off oven. Prep Time for Lemon Curd: 10 minutes; Assembly Time: 10 minutes
For the Meringues
- 1 large egg white
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup sugar
For the Lemon Curd
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, plus 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
For the Whipped Cream
- 1/4 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1. To make the Meringues: Preheat oven to 200ºF. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg white with the cream of tartar in a medium sized bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar while still beating. Beat until you can see stiff peaks.
3. Using 2 spoons or a piping bag, place 4 equal-sized disks of the meringue mixture on the baking sheet. Make a shallow well in the center of each cookie. Bake for 40 minutes, then turn of the oven and without opening the oven door, allow the meringues to cool for 1 hour in the oven. Remove from oven and gently peel off of the parchment paper. Cool completely on a wire rack. These are best the day they are made.
4. To make the Lemon Curd: While meringues are cooking you can prepare this. Into a medium-sized bowl, place the butter and sugar and use an electric mixer to mix them well together. One at a time, add the egg and yolks and beat well between each addition. Then you stream in the lemon juice and salt. It's ok if it looks a bit curdled.
5. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once it's simmering, remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
6. In a medium-sized bowl, whip the cold heavy cream with the confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Place a large scoop of the lemon curd on top of each of the 4 cookies. Top with a dollop of the whipped cream. Serve immediately.
7. These are best when eaten soon after they're made as meringues tend to fall apart and get soggy once they're topped with something.
Note: Recipe adapted from Dessert for Two by Christina Lane. I omitted the crushed graham cracker on top--felt it didn't really need anything more than whipped cream.