For lemon lovers, a yeast-raised doughnut filled with puckery lemon curd, topped with a swirl of meringue, browned with a propane torch. These lemon meringue doughnuts are gorgeous and impressive.
Yes, I said propane torch. You could brown these under the broiler, keeping a close eye on them, but it is so much easier to use a propane torch. This will come in handy in the kitchen for crème brulée, as well. Lemon curd can be found in jars in some supermarkets but it is never as tangy as homemade; it is worth the time and effort to make your own. And as long as you are making it, also take the time to squeeze your own lemon juice. The meringue would be difficult to make in double the amount, so I have recommended you make half of the yeast doughnut batch.
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
- Pastry bag and coupler
- Bismarck #230 tip
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pastry bag
- Large star tip such as Ateco #847
- For the Lemon Curd: Place juice, eggs, yolks and sugar in top of double boiler. Whisk together to break up the eggs. Add butter. Place over bottom of double boiler filled with hot water that is just touching the bottom of the bowl. Place over a medium heat and bring water to a simmer.
- Whisk mixture frequently over simmering water, for about 12 minutes, or until mixture reaches 180 degrees F. (The temperature is more important than the time it takes and the curd itself should not simmer). The curd will thicken and form a soft shape when dropped by spoon. If desired, stir in zest after removing from heat. Let cool to room temperature, scrape into airtight container and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 week.
- For the Doughnuts: Have batch of dough finishing its first rise.
- Generously flour two rimmed baking sheet pans; set aside. Gently punch down dough and divide in half. Roll out one piece of the dough at a time on a lightly floured surface to ½-inch thickness. Cut out doughnuts with a 2 ½-inch round cutter. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Place doughnuts well spaced apart on prepared pans. Allow to rise in warm, draft-free location for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Prepare deep pot or deep-fat fryer. Line a rimmed baking sheet pan with triple layer of paper towels; set aside. Heat oil to 350° to 355°F. Fry a few at a time; do not crowd. Fry until light golden brown, for about 1 minute and 30 seconds, flip over and continue frying about 1 minute and 30 seconds more and light golden brown on that side as well. Remove from oil, drain thoroughly on paper towels. Repeat with remaining doughnuts. Cool thoroughly.
- Scrape lemon curd into pastry bag fitted with tip. Insert tip in top of doughnut. Squeeze pastry bag and fill doughnut with lemon curd just until the center of the doughnut slightly bulges. . (You are aiming to pipe a generous 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of filling inside). Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
- For the Meringue: Whisk together egg whites and sugar in top of double boiler. Place over bottom pot with hot water that touches the bottom of the bowl. Bring water to a boil; whisk whites occasionally. As temperature nears 140°F., whisk frequently until mixture reaches 160°F. Remove from heat, add cream of tartar and beat on high speed with electric mixer until a thick meringue forms. Keep beating about 5 minutes or until it cools to a barely warm temperature. Meringue must be used immediately.
- Scrape meringue into pastry bag fitted with tip. Pipe a generous swirl of meringue on top of each doughnut (covering the hole where you inserted the lemon curd). Brown with propane torch. Serve immediately.
- Eat your lemon meringue doughnuts as soon as they are made. Within the hour if possible. They really do decline after that and it’s just the way it is.
Image: Dédé Wilson