Lemon meringue entremet

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RECIPE: My brother-in-law was pretty upset to miss out on my lemon meringue tarts, so with his birthday here, I thought I’d make a variation on lemon meringue. I didn’t have a fully formed idea but knew I wanted to make an entremet (a multi-layered mousse based dessert). I wanted to use the lemon curd recipe that I’d liked so much in Felder’s lemon raspberry macarons, and I also knew I wanted a lemon mousse and Felder had a lime mousse that he sandwiched inside a coconut dacquoise – perfect! I switched lemon for lime, and decided to use the coconut dacquoise as well. Because I wanted to emulate a lemon meringue, I knew I’d finish off with a meringue. A basic rule for meringue is using a ratio of egg:sugar of 1:2 (ie. sugar is double the weight).

COMPONENTS: I made half a quantity of the curd in advance. See my lemon raspberry macarons – I followed the same method and had the same good finish. I started the mousse next. Gelatine soaked, cream chilled in bowl, lemon syrup prepared, and then cream whipped. I accidentally over whipped it, but I had recently learnt that adding a little more runny cream would bring it back – and it did immediately. I added the cooled syrup to the whipped cream and it turned into this wonderful smooth mousse. This was left on the bench while I finished preparing the dacquoise as I didn’t want the gelatine to set before I’d poured it into a mould. The trick with dacquoise is a light touch. I prepared the nuts, then the egg whites and gently folded them together. I marked the outline of my mould on my baking paper and piped two lots of the dacquoise mix to fit the outline, then sprinkled them with the coconut. Quick bake and they turned out beautifully. I prepared the meringue once I arrive at my sister’s house because I didn’t want it to get damaged in transit or start weeping.

ASSEMBLY: Once I had all my components decided on, I thought it would work best in my rectangle frame. I trimmed the dacquoise to fit the frame, chipping small amounts off the edges. I spooned in the curd and smoothed it to cover the base. I then used a quarter cup measure to spoon in the mousse, placing it gently so it didn’t disturb the curd. I finished with the other layer of dacquoise then put it in the fridge to set. Once I was at my sisters, I removed the frame, prepared the meringue and piped it on top of the dessert and torched it to toast the meringue.

IMPRESSION: I am so so happy with my first attempt at this type of dessert, and I feel like it was kind of my idea, because I used bits from several recipes to create it. It looked amazing on the plate with clearly defined layers, tasted sensational and the only thing I would change is piping more meringue on top as it was necessary to balance the tartness of the lemon mousse, which had much more of a bite to it than the curd. Sean seemed pretty happy and I was almost sad to leave the leftovers with him. I’m loving the frame: I’ve never used a mould without a bottom before, but it really works with a sponge base.

Recipes from Patisserie by Christophe Felder

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Coconut dacquoise

300g egg whites
280g sugar
230g ground almonds
70g ground hazelnuts
100g unsweetened shredded coconut

Heat the oven to 180 Celcius and line two baking sheets with baking paper. Draw an outline of the mould for your finished cake on each sheet of paper.

Whip the egg whites with a little sugar to a soft peak. Gradually add the rest of the sugar and beat the egg whites until firm and glossy.

Gently fold in the almonds and hazelnuts.

Spoon the mix into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm round tip nozzle. Pipe the meringue mix to the desired shape to 10-15mm depth. Alternatively use a spatula to spread the meringue. Repeat on the second tray. Sprinkle evenly with the shredded coconut.

Bake the meringue for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned, rotating halfway through if necessary. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Lemon curd

1 gelatin sheet (gold) (2g)
130ml lemon juice
135g granulated sugar
3 eggs
175g butter, diced

Soak the gelatine sheet in a medium bowl of cold water until softened, 5-10 minutes.

Combine the lemon juice, sugar and eggs in a medium heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking.

Place the butter in a medium bowl. Squeeze the gelatine dry and add to the butter.

Pour the hot lemon mixture into the butter. Process with an immersion blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. Or use a whisk. (I also passed it through a sieve)

Chill until set, about 2 hours (can be made the night before).

Lemon mousse

6 gelatin sheets (gold) (12g)
400mL heavy cream
70mL lemon juice
100g sugar
250mL lemon juice (additional)

Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water until softened, 5-10 minutes.

Pour the cream into a large bowl and chill.

Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves.

Squeeze the gelatin dry. Add the softened gelatin to the lemon syrup and stir over low heat until just dissolved. Add the additional lemon juice and remove from the heat. Whisk well and let cool at room temperature so the gelatin does not set.

Whip the chilled cream until it holds a soft peak.

Transfer one third of the whipped cream to another large bowl and add the lemon gelatin. Whip until the cream holds a firm peak.

Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream with a flexible spatula.

Assembly of the cake

Trim the meringue layers to the shape of your mould. Place one layer in the base of the mould. Using a piping bag, pipe about half a quantity of the lemon curd over the base, to about 5mm thick. Spoon on the mousse, making sure it has been spread to the corners of the mould. Gently press a meringue layer on top. Chill in the fridge at least two hours until set. Remove the mould.

Meringue

50g egg white
50g caster sugar

Beat the egg white to soft peaks with a little of the sugar. Add the rest of the sugar and beat to firm peaks. You should no longer be able to feel the texture of the sugar if you roll a bit of the meringue between your finger tips.

Use a spatula to add the meringue to a piping bag fitted with your preferred tip.

Decoratively pipe the meringue on top of the cake. Use a brulee torch to colour the meringue, and enjoy!

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