Almost an entire week has gone by without a dessert recipe. That’s not like me. Time to change that.
I adapted this recipe from “Gooey Desserts” by Elaine Corn, so all you “dessert in 10 minutes” people, avert your eyes! This one does take a little more effort than my one-bowl wonders. On the other hand, it’s one of those desserts for which you won’t need to dirty a Tupperware for storage afterwards, because there won’t be any left. When my friend Yossi tasted this dessert one Shabbat, he threw up his hands and yelled, “Geheinom!” (hell!). Oddly enough, this was one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received for a dessert, because he meant that it was so decadently delicious that he was destined for “geheinom” after eating it (at least that’s what he claimed).
This works really well as a parev dessert, and it’s light and tart, with that perfect combo of lemon curd and meringue, so it goes down really well after a heavy meat meal. But I can’t imagine that anyone would complain about eating this after a light meal either. It’s “upside down” because it doesn’t have a pie crust, and the meringue is on the bottom instead.
UPSIDE DOWN LEMON MERINGUE CAKE
5 egg whites (save the yolks for the filling)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
How to make the meringue
1. Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF)
2. Line a large over tray with baking paper and grease it well.
3. Beat the egg whites, baking powder and lemon juice until you reach the stiff peak stage
4. Add the sugar and beat to stiff peak stage again and fold in the vanilla.
5. Spread the meringue into the oven tray evenly
6. Bake for 1 hour or until the meringue is crisp. Cool the meringue completely before filling.
6 egg yolks
¾ cups sugar
Finely grated zest of one lemon
2/3 cups fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
How to make the lemon filling
1. With a whisk, on top of a double boiler with rapidly boiling water, whisk the yolks, sugar and zest until it thickens (I don’t have a double boiler, and instead I use a saucepan with a long handle over a pot of water – make sure it’s a snug fit so it’s easy to rest the saucepan on the sides of the pot without it touching the water)
2. Add the lemon juice and carry on mixing, until it cooks and thickens. This will take about 10 minutes, so clear your schedule. Note: It’s really important to keep mixing so you don’t get lumps.
3. Strain into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so the wrap comes into contact with the entire surface of the lemon mixture (to prevent a skin from forming) and cool.
2 cups of cream or non-dairy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (omit the powdered sugar for non-dairy cream, which is already sweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
How to make the cream
Whip all the ingredients together until you reach the stiff peak stage.
Assembling the dessert
1. Placed the cooled meringue on a large tray or serving dish. You can turn it over and peel off the paper. I just trim the paper from the bottom of the meringue and leave it upside up as I prefer to have the top part of the baked meringue exposed.
2. Spread about one third of the whipped cream over the bottom of the meringue.
3. Give the lemon filling a mix to soften it up again, and spread it over the cream, trying as best as you can not to mix it with the cream
4. Put the rest of the cream into a piping bag with a large nozzle and pipe it onto the top of the lemon in any pattern you like. If you don’t want to patchke, you can spread the cream on top, being careful not to mix it into the lemon.
You can decorate with fresh fruit if you choose to.