Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Egg Meringue Nests

Time for a super quick post (again).  I feel like I say this a lot, and every single time that I say I'm going to write a super quick and short post, I end up writing wayyy more than I meant to, and the post ends up being as long as any of my other posts.  But this time, I actually really, really, REALLY mean it.  I'm super busy, and super behind on work, but I couldn't let Easter pass me by without one more cute dessert idea. 

In the meantime though, let me tell you about why I'm super busy.  My senior architecture portfolio is due a week from Monday, and I still feel like I'm not even close to finishing.  There's just too many drawings to edit, too many new drawings to be made, and too many options for layouts, and this, in conjunction with my horrible indecisiveness, is giving me a lot to stress over.  I've been working in studio nonstop, every chance I can get, working late nights, and drinking tons of coffee, yet I always feel like there's still so much left for me to do.  Part of it is my own fault, for not being organized with my past work (I literally just can't find a lot of the work that I've done, so I've had to redo some of it), but regardless, portfolios just take so much time to put together!  It'll be worth it though, and I can't wait until it's finally printed.  That will be such a happy day. However, there's still a week left until that happens, and there's only a couple of hours left before Easter, so let's get back on subject!

Aren't these little meringue nests cute?  They're filled with lemon curd and topped off with speckled jelly Easter egg candies.  These nests are an adorable and easy option if you find yourself in need of a last-minute dessert for Easter.  

Meringue is one of the easiest desserts to prepare, and it stores well in an airtight container, so you could make the nests a few days in advance.  Because I wanted this to be a quick and simple recipe, I decided to just use store-bought lemon curd (I got mine from Trader Joe's, I love it!).  Feel free to use your favorite brand of lemon curd, or go ahead and use homemade lemon curd if you prefer.  The Easter egg candies are what really make this dessert pop though.  I found some in pale pastel colors with little speckles on them, and I think they worked perfectly!  

These meringue nests are a festive and beautiful dessert option for Easter, and take very little time and effort to prepare.  This post managed to not end up being too long, so I'm going to go back to work now (ugh).  Happy Easter everyone, enjoy!

Easter Egg Meringue Nests
meringue recipe from Joy of Baking

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch 
lemon curd (store bought or homemade)
Easter egg candies


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F, and beat a rack in the middle of the oven.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and draw 3-inch circles with a pencil onto the paper.  Turn the parchment paper over so that the circles are on the opposite side. 

In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed, just until they begin to hold soft peaks.  Begin adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat the egg whites, stopping just when the meringue holds stiff and shiny peaks.  The sugar should have dissolved by this point, and the meringue should feel smooth, and not gritty (you can test this by running a small amount of the meringue between your fingers- if the meringue feels gritty, continue to beat the egg whites for a little more).  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue, and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula.  

Fill a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the meringue mixture, and begin to pipe it onto the the circles traced on the parchment paper.  Cover the circles completely, and then pipe a border over the top of the circles, so that the edges of the circles are higher than the centers, to form the nest shape.  

Bake the meringue nests in the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes, until the outsides have become dry and a pale cream color.  Turn the oven off, open the oven door, and leave it slightly ajar.  Allow for the meringue to cool completely inside the oven.  The meringue should feel firm to the touch, but if you gently press it, it should crack a little bit, and the inside will be soft and have the consistency of a marshmallow.  The meringue can be stored in an airtight container for a few days before serving, or be decorated as Easter egg nests one cooled.  

Fill the meringue nests with lemon curd (I used about a teaspoon or a teaspoon and a half per nest).  Top off each meringue nest with 3 or 4 Easter egg candies, and serve.  Enjoy!

Makes about 2.5 dozen meringue nests 


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