Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lemon Meringue Phyllo plates

My lemon induced cooking spree continues. But I am almost out of this last batch of curd so there will be a break soon.

Honestly, Phyllo dough is one of my least favorite things to work with in the kitchen. Phyllo sheets everywhere - butter drippings everywhere - a fine layer of sugar dust everywhere. It's all a bit bothersome. 

But these little plates get such rave reviews I have to occasionally suck it up and make them for my guests. And then of course, all memory of my earlier angst is gone as everyone is gobbling up dessert and smiling so lovingly at me for providing such a wonderful little treat.

Anyway, try these. They are lovely to look at and even lovelier on the tongue.

I think I originally saw this in a magazine somewhere. I cannot remember which one or how long ago. But this is my variation of what I do remember.


3 sheets phyllo dough
1 or 2 sticks of butter - melted
a brush for brushing the sheets with the melted butter
about 1/2 cup of sugar
1 jar lemon curd (recipe to follow)

3 egg whites - at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of cream of tartar

zest from 3 lemons
juice from 4 lemons (should have almost 1 cup)
2 sticks butter 

1 1/2 cups sugar (i prefer superfine sugar but the regular works also)
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Preferably a day ahead to ensure it sets and firms up.

note: you can also use a store bought curd. It will be just fine.

Combine butter, lemon juice and the cornstarch in a pan. 
Cook on medium heat until the butter is melted - occasionally whisk the mixture to make sure the cornstarch gets cooked in. 
In a separate bowl blend the eggs and sugar thoroughly. 
Temper the egg mixture with about a cup of the butter mixture.
Slowly pour in the rest of the butter mixture while whisking the entire time (check out my posting on Lemon Curd filled cookies - better explanation there)
Return the entire mixture to the pan and cook on medium low heat about 10 minutes - stirring almost constantly. 
Mixture will thicken.
Strain into an airtight bowl and store in the refrigerator until needed.


oven to 375

On a large work surface lay your first sheet of Phyllo. 
Brush with butter working from the center out to the edges - this seems to be the best way for me to NOT rip the thing to shreds! 
Lay a second sheet of Phyllo on top of the first and repeat with the butter brushing but then sprinkle a fine layer of sugar all over the top. 
Then lay your third sheet on top of these and repeat with the butter and sugar. 

Carefully slice the sheets into squares - about 3 inches wide/square. 
Carefully arrange these little squares onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 
Bake about 6 minutes at 375 or until tops are golden brown. 
Let cool completely.

note: make sure to trim your parchment paper so it lays completely flat in the tray - otherwise the phyllo pieces around the edges get a little crazy curve on them which I found to be most annoying.

Egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer. 
Mix until foamy and starting to turn white - add the pinch of cream of tartar - mix another minute or so - then slowly pour in the sugar. 
Mix until firm peaks.

Set your oven to broil.

Carefully spread about a tablespoon of lemon curd on top of each phyllo square - then add about a tablespoon of the meringue to the tops of this. 
Every square on your sheet should have lemon curd and meringue. 
Back into the oven under the broiler just until the tops of your meringue are browned. 
Once out make little stacks of two then serve.

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