Since I've joined the gluten-free club recently, I've had a divvil of a time trying to find recipes for things which won't cost an arm and a leg to prepare (have you seen the price of gf all-purpose flour?), especially if I want to share with friends, and not put out what people will assume are poison because I refuse to sample my own… well, anyway.
I've also discovered that something I had always assumed had been on my list of severe allergens could be prepared sans the grape (I have had nasty asthma attacks from just a bite of meringue with cream of tartar in it. I usually have to take extra allergy meds before eating out, as a result).
Naturally, I was nearly ecstatic when I learned that the real reason one puts cream of tartar into a meringue is to break down the coil in the egg white protein, so that it will whip up better, and so that it will hold its whippy form once it's set to baking, and that other acids may be used in its stead. Indeed, one source recommended I might use Fruit Fresh, for its ascorbic acid and minimal flavor impact.
But I rather like a little citrus.
Actually, I can eat lemons the way other people eat tangerines, peeled, sectioned, and then popped into my mouth like candy. But I know most people can't handle that sort of thing, so I try not to do it to them, in anything I prepare.
I try, anyway.
I went a little agley with this particular batch… I forgot how very tart Dickinson's lime curd is, and I used in in plentiful amounts. I recommend, for others, a little greater discretion.
Meanwhile, the meringue is light, delicate, a little crispy…dangerous!
Citrus Meringues Filled with Citrus Curd
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup extra fine sugar
zest of one medium lemon or lime (about 1 teaspoon), finely grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup of your preferred lemon or lime curd*
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Set aside.
In a clean, chilled, small bowl, combine salt and egg whites. Whip until foamy, then continue to beat on high speed, gradually adding sugar, until stiff peaks form (at least 8 minutes, often more than 10 minutes). Gently fold in vanilla and citrus zest.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of meringue onto parchment on cookie sheet. With spoon, make a slight indentation in the dollop (or, if you wish, use a frosting bag to squeeze out a little bowl-shaped base.
Gently set about a half-teaspoonful (or less, depending upon the strength of flavor) of curd in the center. Top with enough meringue to completely cover & seal in the citrus curd, then leave a little swirl on top, if you like.
Continue to repeat this until all the meringue is used.
When you have all the cookies assembled, place in middle of that preheated oven, close oven door, and turn off the heat.
Allow to stay in oven at least two hours (overnight is just dandy. Just don't forget you have them in there, and try to bake a breakfast the next morning without having removed them, first).
Makes about 15.
*You can do a batch of pie filling, instead of curd, but if you do this, you'l want it to be slightly thicker than the one the Bat taught me for Pop's birthday pie, here. One can use a variation on it, adding extra starch to the recipe in its beginnings, until it thickens dramatically.
One down side to overstuffing these meringues is, the lime curd settles downward a little too much, causing it to occasionally compromise the integrity of the cookie in this manner–>>>
The tragedy here is, you can't very well pack these up and give them away as your best, prettiest treatsies. You'll have to eat them all on your own (the horror!). The other down side is, the filling can easily overpower the meringue's taste, so you can have a whole lot of curd flavor in a little comparatively bland pouch. Check first to see how strongly tart your curd is, and be discreet in your usage. Unless you're like me, and you love to peel the enamel off your teeth. Then, go wild!