Lemon curd roulade is a real crowd-pleasing dessert

‘Even people who are not fans of meringue are won over’

Lemon curd meringue roulade. ‘With lemon curd oozing from the ends and extra summer berries and cream on the side, it will be hard to resist.’ Photograph: Harry Weir

Lemon curd meringue roulade. ‘With lemon curd oozing from the ends and extra summer berries and cream on the side, it will be hard to resist.’ Photograph: Harry Weir

 

This lemon curd roulade is a real crowd-pleaser of a dessert. I don’t think I have met anyone who doesn’t like it. Even people who are not fans of meringue are won over when it is rolled into a roulade with sweet-sharp lemon curd.

Making the meringue isn’t difficult but there must be no spots of yolk in the egg whites and no trace of grease on the whisk or bowl. It is a real upper body workout to whisk egg whites to stiff peaks by hand. This is definitely a job where I would break out a food mixer or electric hand whisk if one is available.

Don’t worry that the meringue will start to crack slightly when it is rolled up. It is more appealing when it looks like it has been baked by a human, not manufactured in an industrial estate. With lemon curd oozing from the ends and extra summer berries and cream on the side, it will be hard to resist.

The roulade is best assembled within a few hours of serving, though it does freeze surprisingly well. Wrap it well to prevent freezer burn and defrost on the day you want to eat it. Freezing it also makes it very transportable if you can bring yourself to share it.

Any leftover lemon curd mixed through leftover whipped cream can also be frozen and makes a delicious lemon ice cream. For extra thriftiness, fold crumbled pieces of leftover meringue through the mix before freezing.

Variation: Make the curd with limes instead of lemons.

Lemon curd roulade

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 large egg whites
Pinch salt
225g caster sugar

For lemon curd
50g butter
100g caster sugar
2 lemons, zest and juice
4 egg yolks

Filling
125ml cream, whipped
To garnish: mint leaves, icing sugar

Method

1 Preheat an oven to 170 degrees (fan oven), or equivalent. Grease and line a 30cm by 20cm baking tin with parchment (cut the paper higher than the sides of the tin so the meringue doesn’t catch when it rises).

2 Put the egg whites and salt into a large mixing bowl and use an electric whisk to whisk to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar in spoonfuls, continuing to whisk on a high speed for at least 5 minutes, until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks.

3 Using a spatula, spread the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 15 minutes (then turn down the heat to 160 degrees and bake for another 5 minutes) until the surface is pale golden and firm (don’t overcook it or it may crack). Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

4 For the lemon curd: Melt the butter in a medium-sized heavy based saucepan on a low heat. Add the sugar and lemon zest and juice. Stir until blended. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the buttery liquid on to the egg yolks in a bowl, whisking to incorporate. Return the egg yolk and lemon mixture to a clean saucepan and place on a low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and transfer the curd to a clean bowl, allowing it to cool slightly before refrigerating it for 1-2 hours (it will thicken as it chills).

5 Once the roulade has been baked and the lemon curd has been chilled you are ready to assemble and roll the roulade. Place a sheet of baking parchment wider than the baking tray on to a flat surface and lightly dust with icing sugar. Rest the long edge of the tin on the work surface and invert the baked meringue on to the dusted paper, remove the tin and carefully peel back the lining paper.

6 Spread half the lemon curd on to the surface of the meringue. Fold the remaining lemon curd through the whipped cream. Spread the lemon cream over the surface of the roulade.

7 Positioning the short edge in front of you, roll the roulade upwards and away from you using the paper to help roll over like a swiss roll.

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