Meringues are not miraculous. You beat a few egg whites and some sugar fiercely. You take the resulting pearly foam and spoon or pipe onto a baking sheet. And then, after a while in a low oven... that's it, job done. Yet a few times now I've been met with awe at having managed to make these simplest of treats at home. The truth is, when a welcome heatwave rolls around - as it did this weekend - and activates every lazy molecule in my baker's body there is nothing easier or better than a few fresh meringues you've made yourself to crush over ice cream or fill with berries. So that's exactly what I did.
Lime curd (ideally made a day ahead):
- 2 teaspoons lime zest, finely grated
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 egg whites
- 170g caster sugar
Berries and garnish:
1-2 cups mixed summer berries: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, plus a few sprigs of mint or basil to decorate
For the lime curd: Place the eggs, lime juice, lime zest and sugar in a bowl and whisk lightly. Have another bowl and some cheesecloth on hand for straining later. Place over a pan of water set over medium-high heat and whisk continuously for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens to a mayonnaise-like consistency. Be patient and don't stop stirring, as the eggs will curdle. Strain through a cheesecloth into your other bowl and stir in the butter thoroughly. Leave to cool at room temperature before refridgerating.
For the meringues: Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Beat the egg whites at high speed using an electric mixer (hand or standing), adding a little bit of sugar at a time. When all the sugar is incorporated, continue whisking until the meringue mixture is stiff (doesn't drop off the whisks) but still glossy. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe flat disks about 5-6 inches across. Once you've piped your discs, continue piping up and around them to create a meringue basket. Bake for 40 minutes then remove to cool completely before filling with lime curd and decorating with berries and herb sprigs. Alternatively, just crush your lovely meringue baskets into a glass, mix with the lime curd, berries and a bit of extra cream, knowing they will taste just as amazing.