This is easily the most epic dessert I have ever made. My Mom made it for Easter dinner and I fell in love and neeeeeeded the recipe. Mom got it from a member of her book club who got it from her Mom who got it from her Mom and so on. It’s a very traditional-style dessert – eggs, butter, milk, sugar, lemons, essentially – and I have never attempted anything like this before. Eggs milk butter! I usually avoid those ingredients and use vegan alternatives, but nothing really compares to the frothy whip you can get with egg whites and whipping cream. So I didn’t attempt to adapt this into anything more “modern”, I think it’s perfect as it is. If you have an afternoon to kill and a dinner party to impress, this is the recipe for you!
Frozen Lemon Meringue Torte
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cup lemon juice
6 large eggs (I used yolks only, but the original recipe notes that you can use whole eggs not just yolks)
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided (meaning you use half first, then the second half later)
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp grated lemon zest
6 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
Trace four 8″ circles on parchment paper and place on baking sheets. Preheat oven to 300deg.
Start with the meringues: combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and zest in a bowl and set aside.
Separate out egg whites into a bowl setting aside the yolks for later, and beat the whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually beat in remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and blend.
Fold in the sugar/cornstarch/zest mixture you set aside and spoon evenly onto parchment circles, smoothing the tops.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until dry and lightly golden. Because my oven is so spazzy right now my meringues didn’t cook perfectly (it doesn’t come up to temperature properly sometimes and things have just been sitting on the racks drying out rather than baking). They were still soft on the underside when the tops were golden despite the fact that it was way past 1 hour. So hopefully your oven isn’t a jerk and this step works out well for you. You could probably check that they are all crispy by gently picking up a piece of parchment and seeing if it is still soft underneath. While I don’t think it is a huge deal if they are still slightly soft because they are ultimately being frozen, maybe skip the step where you crumble one on top if it is still gooey because it looks funny haha. Anyways… on to the lemon filling.
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat 1-1/4 cups sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice until the sugar dissolves.
So much delicious lemon juice!
Beat the egg yolks you set aside, then whisk into the heated lemon mixture in the pot. Heat, stirring until just boiling. Simmer for one minute then pour into a bowl, wrap with plastic and let sit until room temperature.
After 1 hour your meringues should look like this (or better haha) When your lemon mixture has cooled to room temperature whip up the 1-1/2 cups of whipping cream and fold into the lemon mixture.
Assembly! Crumble the least attractive meringue and set aside for garnish. Carefully place one meringue into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and pour 1/3 of the lemony/whipped cream mixture over top. Repeat with the last two meringues and sprinkle the remaining meringue crumble over top (mine was more of a smush than a crumble)
Freeze for at least 8 hours, wrapped well. Let soften in the fridge for 45 minutes prior to serving, or just dig in like I did haha. Commence lemony-sugar coma!!