And they make people stupid, too. Good stupid, promise. Cross my heart.
Plus, they have a little surprise inside. Hubs took some to work and shared them, and the yummy lemon curd filling was unexpected and everyone was really happy about it. Like, really.
I know that this is all super braggy, but sometimes, I just really need to make sure you guys understand just how awesome something is. This is one of those times.
Oh, and P.S. they can totally be made gluten free!
Let’s get something settled early…these aren’t just like lemon meringue pie. These are topped with meringue cookies, rather than the soft, fluffy, creamy, frosting-like meringue that you want to dive into on the pie. Instead these are light, airy, crisp, sweet little clouds that you want to curl up on and nap. Just watch out for the caramelized points.
Lest you think these little cuties are simply lemon flavored (which they totally are), allow me to show you that they’re also filled to the brim with fresh, tangy lemon curd. This is where I would normally insert the heart-eyed googly face, but since that’s just on my iPad, I can’t.
To fill these, I rolled the lemon zest-speckled shortbread out and used a scalloped 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. While the cookie was still inside the cookie cutter, I used a tart tamper to press down firmly on the cookie dough, creating a depression to hold the lemon curd. At this point, I debated dusting the cookies with sugar for a little added sweetness, but I decided against it, because the meringues are very sweet. I filled each cookie with a tablespoon of curd. If you use a smaller cookie cutter than I did, then you will use less curd. Likewise, for a larger cookie cutter, more curd.
Once cooled, I topped them each with a generous dollop of meringue, which I played with and made spiky and fun. Then, I whipped out my kitchen torch…….and the Hubster toasted the tops of each cookie. He had way too much fun with it, too. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can toast these in your broiler.
I mounded the meringue on these, because…meringue. More meringue is always better. Plus….pretty.
The cookies themselves are amazingness. They have such a great balance between the crumbly, mild-flavored shortbread, the sweet-tart curd, and the light crunch of the meringue. Eaten fresh, the day they’re made, these taste to me like a gourmet Pop Tart…except better. Way better. Obviously. The next day, the meringue is still crisp and lightly crunchy on top, but the very center softened up a bit and reminded me of the true lemon meringue pie topping. Basically, what I’m saying is, these are awesome day old cookies.
Since this entails making three separate recipes, it is somewhat labor intensive, but all three recipes are simple and easy, and only take a few minutes to prepare. That said, you can make the lemon curd up to a week in advance. Just be sure to keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. The shortbread dough can also be made up to a week in advance, if kept wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to use. The meringue has to be made fresh, when you’re ready to use it.
These would be lovely on any Easter or spring table, and people will be wonderfully surprised by the hidden lemon curd centers.
- FOR THE COOKIES
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (or margarine for vegan/dairy free)
- ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
- 1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup flour (GF for gluten free)
- pinch of salt
- One recipe Lemon Curd (link below)
- Half recipe Meringues (link below)
- Prepare the lemon curd; set aside.
- To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest. Add the flour and salt, and continue beating until everything is fully incorporated and the mixture forms a cohesive dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the cookie dough out. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out a cookie shape. While the cookie is still inside the cookie cutter, use a tart tamper or other flat object to press down firmly on the cookie dough, creating a depression to hold the lemon curd.
- Fill each cookie with about 1 tablespoon (less for smaller cookies, more for larger) lemon curd.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
- While the cookies are cooling, prepare the meringue.
- Reduce oven temperature to 175 degrees (80 C).
- Allow to cool completely before topping with meringue.
- Top the cooled cookies with the prepared meringue. Toast gently with a kitchen torch or under a broiler.
- Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes.
- Cool completely before serving.
Lemon Curd Recipe
Meringue Recipe (cut recipe in half, omit raspberry flavor, prepare as directed then top the baked cookies with it)
Recipes by Darla