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Lemon Meringue Custards

For the custard
3/4 cup sugar
The zest of 3 lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler (being careful to include none of the white pith)
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
4 large whole eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
For the meringue
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Silver dragees for garnish

Make the custard: In a food processor grind the sugar and the zest until the zest is chopped fine and transfer the mixture to a large saucepan.
Add 1/4 cup water, bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and boil the syrup for 5 minutes.
Stir in the milk, the cream, and the salt and cook the mixture until it is hot, but do not let it boil.
In a bowl whisk together the yolks and the whole eggs, add the hot milk mixture in a stream, whisking, and stir in the lemon juice.
Strain the custard through a fine sieve into twelve 2/3-cup ramekins set in a large baking pan, add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, and bake the custards in the middle of a preheated 325° F.oven for 40 minutes, or until they are just set.
Remove the ramekins from the pan, let the custards cool completely, and chill them, covered loosely with wax paper, for at least 3 hours.
The custards may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
Make the meringue: In a small saucepan combine the sugar with 1/3 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Boil the syrup until it registers 248° F.on a candy thermometer and remove the pan from the heat.
While the syrup is boiling, in a bowl with an electric mixer beat the whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks.
With the mixer running add the hot syrup in a stream, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, and beat in the lemon juice.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, blot the top of the custard dry with paper towels, and pipe the meringue decoratively onto it.
Sprinkle the meringue with the dragees, transfer the custards to a large baking pan filled with ice, and bake them in the top third of a preheated 450° F. oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is golden.
The lemon meringue custards may be made 3 hours in advance and kept in the large baking pan filled with more ice.

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Lemon Meringue Custards Recipe