For me, this is the ideal Sinful Sunday summer dessert recipe combo, and it’s pretty easy to make too. Gooey meringues are paired with my favourite nuts, pistachios, and vanilla mascarpone. This is then topped with deliciously tart lemon curd, some fresh berries and a drizzle of blueberry or raspberry coulis to further balance out all the sweetness.
This recipe can be quick and easy or require a little more effort. It all depends on whether you want to make your own meringues, lemon curd and berry coulis. Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time, you can purchase these ready-made then its largely just a matter of assembling the final dish.
FOR THIS RECIPE, YOU NEED
Pistachio meringue nests – recipe below. Alternatively, you can purchase 8 ready-made meringue nests, measuring about 15cm in diameter and 50g pistachios. Note that if you decide to make your own, you need to plan ahead because the meringues need to sit and dry out in the oven for an additional 4 hours, or overnight, after baking.
Lemon curd – recipe below. Alternatively, you can purchase a 370g jar of ready-made lemon curd like this one from Woolworths. I also like the Tiptree lemon curd if you can find it (Thrupps stocks it in Johannesburg).
Vanilla mascarpone – recipe below.
Fresh berries – purchase a mixture of your favourite seasonal berries. I used blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
Blueberry or raspberry coulis – see my recipe for tangy blueberry sauce included in our lemon soufflé pudding recipe post. The raspberry coulis recipe is below. Or, you can purchase a ready-made coulis if you’re pressed for time.
Pistachio meringue nests
4 large organic eggs whites, at room temperature (its important to use really fresh eggs)
220g castor sugar (the Delia Smith rule of thumb is 2oz or 56.7g sugar per large egg white)
1 tsp lemon juice
50g raw, shelled pistachios, chopped
3 large organic eggs
¾ cup fresh lemon juice – about 3 normal sized lemons
2 tbspns lemon rind – about 3 normal sized lemons (I prefer it more tart – you can reduce by half if you prefer something more subtle)
¾ cup (140g) castor sugar
¼ cup (115g) good quality, unsalted butter, room temperature
200ml 8% fromage frais – if you can’t find any, see my note at the end of this recipe on how you can substitute this ingredient
2 tbspns good quality vanilla extract
1 heaped dessertspoon of castor sugar
Berries and berry coulis
450g mixed fresh berries
Blueberry coulis: Find the ingredients for my recipe here; or
Raspberry coulis: 200g fresh raspberries and 1 tbspn icing sugar
About 20 minutes to prep, 30 minutes in the oven and then at least 4 hours to finish.
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line 2 large baking sheets with grease proof baking paper – I sprayed mine lightly with Spray & Cook to make sure the meringues won’t stick.
Before you start, make sure that your mixing bowl (cannot be plastic) is clean and grease free. Whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed, if using a hand mixer, until foamy. Add the lemon juice and continue whisking until soft peaks start to form. (I did this with a balloon whisk.)
Then, while continuously mixing, add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and increase the mixing speed to medium-high. Go slowly. Adding the sugar and continuing to beat may take 5-10 minutes. The meringue is ready once stiff peaks form, it’s glossy and completely smooth and the sugar is fully dissolved.
Now spoon 8 heaped dessertspoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. Don’t spread it out too much and be careful to leave at least a 4-5cm space between the meringues. Hollow out a centre to create a nest using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle evenly with the nuts.
Pop the meringues on the center shelf of the oven, immediately reduce the heat to 140°C and bake them for 30 minutes. After that, turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry out in the warmth of the oven until it is completely cold (usually about 4 hours) or even overnight.
About 20minutes to prep and make.
This really is so easy to do – in fact, its quicker to make your own than it is to get into your car and go out to purchase a jar of ready-made lemon curd.
Begin by lightly whisking the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan (no heat). Then, add the rest of the ingredients and place the saucepan over a medium heat.
Whisk continuously using a balloon whisk until the mixture thickens – about 7-8 minutes. Lower the heat to its minimum setting and let the curd gently simmer for a further minute, continuing to whisk. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
About 5 minutes to make.
Whisk the mascarpone, fromage frais (or substitute, see below), vanilla essence and castor sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Done. Refrigerate until you need it.
For the blueberry sauce, see my quick and easy recipe here.
Alternatively, if you’re using raspberry sauce or coulis, place the raspberries in a small pan with the icing sugar and heat for a few minutes until the raspberries collapse and release their juices. Transfer to a bowl and blend briefly until the raspberries are puréed. Pass through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. Refrigerate in a glass jar until you need it.
To assemble the meringues, spoon the vanilla mascarpone into each meringue. Then a healthy dollop of lemon curd. Top with equal amounts of the fruit and a final drizzle of coulis if using. Or, if not using coulis, simply dust with some icing sugar and top with a mint leaf for some added colour.
For more of our Sinful Sunday treats, click here.
A NOTE ON FROMAGE FRAIS
Fromage frais is fresh low-fat curd cheese from France made from cow’s milk. It’s similar to cottage cheese but processed until the texture is smooth and free of lumps. It’s delicious by itself, with honey or fresh fruit purée, and provides a healthier alternative to sour cream as a topping for jacket potatoes. If you can’t find any, you can substitute it by mixing equal parts cottage cheese (or Philadelphia extra-light cream cheese) with plain Greek-style yoghurt, until smooth.