Monday, April 24, 2006

Lemon Roll with Meringue Frosting

When I was younger, my favorite snack was a lemon half sprinkled with a little salt. These days, I cannot do that anymore, but I still prefer a lemon dressing over a vinegar one; and I love to lighten a soup or a vegetable dish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. I am not shy of using it for meat dishes, either. However, until quite recently, my indulgence in everything lemony ended when it came to dessert. I deliberately steered away from lemons except for the occasional use of the zest in cakes and cookies. I think I owe it to blogging which must have widened my culinary horizons, because my reluctance to mix lemons and sugar started to disappear during the past year; and I now find myself more open to the idea of tart and sweet desserts. Athough I still will not go for a slice of lemon meringue pie, I thought that this roll with a lemon curd filling and meringue topping was quite delicious.

The roll was inspired by Lemon Roulades in Alice Medrich's Cocolat and Lemon Meringue Cake in Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes.

  • 13"x18" Hot Milk Sponge layer
  • Sugar syrup (recipe below)
  • Lemon Curd (recipe below)
  • Meringue Frosting (recipe below)
Sprinkle the cake layer with syrup. Spread the lemon curd on top and roll tightly. Frost the roll with the meringue, spiking it as you do so. Color the meringue with a chef's torch (or very briefly in the broiler) the same day you are going to serve the roll.

Sugar Syrup
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c water
Mix water and sugar in a pot. Stirring continuously, cook until the sugar dissolves and it comes to a boil. (You may add some lemon zest and juice if you wish.) Remove from heat and cool.

Lemon Curd

This lemon curd from Cocolat is a relatively mild one; just what we needed. For a more pronounced lemon flavor, RLB's lemon curd in Cake Bible is recommended.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 6 tbs softened butter
  • 1/2 c lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Heat the sugar, lemon juice, zest and butter in a small pot until the butter melts. Pour the hot liquid slowly on the eggs, whisking until the mixture comes together. Pour back into the pot and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture is almost boiling. Sieve and cool. Can be kept covered in the refrigerator for a week.

Meringue Frosting
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 c sugar
Put the egg whites and sugar into a clean mixer bowl and set the bowl in a pot of simmering water. Whisk and warm the mixture until sugar dissolves completely. (If you are concerned about egg safety, you can continue heating until the mixture registers 160F.) Remove from heat, and beat until the mixture cools down to room temperature and becomes thick and marshmallowy.