This stacked meringue torte is layered with lemon cream and topped with fresh raspberries for the ultimate light summer dessert!
When I think of the perfect spring or summer dessert, two things come to mind....lemon and meringue. I love them both alone and together they create an amazing light and airy flavor combination! So when one of my co-workers asked me if I wanted to make something for another co-workers birthday, I came up with this meringue torte with lemon cream to combine those two fabulous flavors. I wanted to do something a little different than a traditional cake, or cupcakes, and lighter since my team at work is focused on getting fit for summer.
Meringue has always been one of my favorite sweet treats. I remember eating meringue cookies from the local market's bakery when I was a kid and went grocery shopping with my mom! I think it's super yummy and a nice way to satisfy a sweet tooth without too many calories. I used to think meringue was complicated, however it just takes a little practice and some patience while waiting for it to bake! Patience is definitely key with this recipe as you want the meringue to be completely cool before you add the lemon cream.
As it is with anything meringue, the cook time for this is a bit long, so you just need to plan in advance. You'll need to let it cool in the oven for at least an hour, though I recommend two or more if you can plan for that. You can also make the meringue discs the day before and then assemble just before serving if that works better with your schedule.
The initial cooling, in the oven, is important so you get a nice crunchy outer layer and slightly gooey inside. Try not to open the oven and peek inside, as this can let moisture in which isn't great for meringue! The torte can be assembled ahead of time, but I recommend that you leave the meringue and the cream separate until shortly before serving, as the meringue will get a little soggy if refrigerated.
Meringue Torte with Lemon Curd Cream
- For the meringue:
- 6 egg whites
- 2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
- dash of salt
- For the lemon cream:
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 whole large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
- For the topping:
- ½ cup fresh raspberries
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200°F. On parchment paper draw 3 8" circles (depending on the size of your baking sheets you may need to do this on two separate pieces of paper). Make sure the circles are not touching and fit within the edges of your baking sheet(s). Turn the paper over so the circles are on the back and lay on baking sheet(s).
- Separate egg whites into a small bowl to ensure you don't end up with any yolks in them. Reserve 1 yolk for the lemon cream (discard the rest or save for another use). Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites on high until foamy. Add vanilla, vinegar and salt. Beat on high until stiff peaks begin to form, approximately 1 minute. Add half the sugar and beat until glossy and stiff peaks have formed. Add the remaining sugar and beat until incorporated and meringue is smooth; 2-3 minutes total.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 circles on the parchment paper. Using the back of a large spoon, smooth into circles to fill the outline, ensuring the thickness of the circle is even. Bake for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Once baking is complete, turn off the oven. Leaving the door closed to let the meringue cool in the over for at least one hour.
- While the meringue is baking, combine the lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl. Use a fork to mix together. Combine the sugar mixture, lemon juice, egg, egg yolk and salt in a small saucepan. Whisk together. Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened; about 5-6 minutes.
- Pour the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl; use a spoon to push all of the curd through the strainer. Cover with plastic wrap so the wrap is directly on the lemon curd. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. After the lemon curd has cooled fold the curd into the whipped cream. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the torte.
- To assemble the torte, place one meringue round on a serving plate. Top wth ⅓ of the lemon cream. Repeat with remaining meringue rounds. Top with raspberries and toasted almonds (if desired). Serve immediately.