Monday, May 31, 2010

Lemon Meringue Squares

I looooooove piping stuff. I also have a soft spot for my blowtorch. The piping bag and the blowtorch make a pretty sweet team when it comes to meringue. Kind of like Bonnie and Clyde without all the violence.

Pipe, scorch, pipe, scorch, pipe, scorch. The fire turns the meringue into a toasted marshmallow, the tang of the lemon cuts through the mallow sweetness like a knife through a pillow stuffed with feathers.

I don't really get to pipe many things, mostly because I'm not all that into cupcakes, or cake for that matter, I really prefer tarts or pies or anything that isn't spongy, with the exception of scones of course. I took out all my pent-up piping addiction on this slice, it was grand, good times were had.

The only problem with this recipe was the base. When I was blind baking it in the pan it shrunk, (a common annoying problem) and so when I poured in the lemon filling, the base floated up to the surface like some submerged lemon-sea-monster and the filling only just cooked underneath. I would recommend using a crushed biscuit base (not unlike a cheesecake base) for this recipe, instead of the pastry one. It turned out alright in the end but better to be safe than have a wierd floating base.

Lemon Meringue Squares:
Adapted from The Women's Weekly 'Cakes, Biscuits & Slices'

90g butter, softened
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup apricot jam

Lemon Topping:
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
300ml cream
the rind of one whole lemon
the juice of a whole lemon

3 egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Grease base of a 19cm x 20cm slice pan and the two long sides with baking parchment, leaving 2cm hanging over the sides.

Beat butter, sugar and egg in a small bowl with an electric mixer until pale in colour, stir in sifted flour in two batches. Press dough over base of the pan; prick several times with a fork. Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly golden in colour. Cool 20 minutes, spread with melted apricot jam (melt jam in a saucepan over medium heat).

Reduce oven temp to 150 degrees C.

Place lemon topping ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk until combined. Pour lemon topping over the base. Bake about 35 minutes or until set. Cool 20 minutes. Roughen Surface of topping with a fork so the meringue sticks.

To make meringue, beat egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peak forms. Gradually pour in sugar while whisking, until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy. Fill a piping bag with the meringue and slowly pipe it in little mounds over the whole of the slice. Scorch with a blowtorch until lightly browned. If you don't own a blowtorch you can place the slice in a 200 degree oven for about 3 minutes or until browned.

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