Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lemon meringue tiramisu

Something to celebrate from Victoria Abbott (aka Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini)

We were looking something special to make for Easter, something pretty and not too challenging. Something with NO FLOUR! Something with eggs, of course, and bright spring color: yellow, for sure.

We've been thinking about tiramisu a lot lately and thought about a lemon variation. We put it together using layers of our favorite flavors. You could certainly experiment and make it your own. 

There are three steps plus assembly to this Lemon Meringue Tiramisu, but it’s all easy stuff. Plus at the end, you’ll have a recipe for meringue, one for lemon curd and one for the whole shebang. A bargain, we think. 


You will need to make one recipe of meringue, one recipe lemon curd and one recipe Mascarpone cream. 


This is the meringue MJ and Victoria both remember, one of MJ’s mum’s recipes.It was always made as meringue 'kisses'.  It’s very easy, as long as your eggs are at room temperature and there’s not a speck of anything greasy near bowl or beaters and that means not a drop of yolk.

Preheat oven to 225 F.

4 egg whites (from extra large eggs, at room temperature)
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tsp good quality vanilla
½ tsp almond extract (optional because we ran out!)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Beat the egg white with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla and almond.  Slowly add sugar tablespoon by tablespoon, beating well after every addition, until stiff peaks have formed.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop out meringue and shape into discs or little bowls or twist into meringue kisses, depending on what you want to do with it.  We wanted them fairly flat to build our tiramisu.

Bake at 225 for twenty to thirty minutes.  Don’t let them brown at the edges. If your oven runs hot, reduce temperature. 

FOR THE LEMON CURD (makes about 1 2/3 cups)

3 medium or 2 large lemons (juice and zest) 
34 cups granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
12 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure about a tablespoon. Make sure you don't get the bitter white part. Squeeze lemons to produce 1/2 cup juice.

In a metal or tempered glass bowl whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs.

Add the butter cubes to mixture. 

Set bowl over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water and cook mixture, whisking frequently, until thickened, smooth and glossy, about 20 minutes. Don’t let the water boil, keep to a simmer. 
That's it.  Just a little patience. Confession time:  MJ watched an episode of New Tricks while squeezing, zesting and stirring.  

The lemon curd will keep covered in the fridge about three days. 

Serve lemon curd warm or chilled, but of course, we are using it in our tiramisu.


1 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon Limoncello, optional. We opted not to. 
We did not include sugar in the cream segment because the meringues and the lemon curd both have a lot.  But, suit yourself and your sweet tooth.
Whip the Mascarpone and cream (and maybe Limoncello) together until creamy and smooth.
Some assembly required
Place a disc of meringue in the bottom of each of six pretty, transparent serving dishes or glasses.

 It’s quite rich, so you may decide to go with small glasses or dishes. We didn’t. Ahem.  Layer on about half the meringue.  Layer on half the cream mixture.  Add a second disc.  Repeat with lemon curd and cream. This didn't lend itself to being photographed for some reason.
Crumble any remaining meringues and sprinkle on top.

Cover and refrigerate at least overnight. We added a strawberry to the top of ours. You'll have your own ideas.  Serve with verve!

Happy Easter!  

Victoria Abbott is the mysterious collaboration between the artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother, the mystery writer, Mary Jane Maffini.  Normally they're quite sensible but there's a lot of treats around Easter and well, you know ...


That's us! Strangely enough, our three book collector mysteries, The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow all contain lots of desserts and celebrations and a certain amount of silly head gear.

 By the way, we're still celebrating this cover for The Marsh Madness. We think it looks good enough to eat.

The Marsh Madness is due out in September 2015.



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  1. Love the pictures! Lemon is such a nice bright flavor, and this recipe has a great mix of creamy and crunchy, tart and sweet.

  2. Thanks, Sheila. We are trying not to binge on the remaining 'testers'.



  3. I would have trouble not gobbling or doing extra taste tests. This sounds just fabulous. Do those Easter bunnies bite? Very cute! LOL!

    1. Those are very tricky bunnies, Krista. We are thrilled with the recipe.

      Thanks and hugs.


  4. My mom makes the best lemon bars but these sound very good, too!

  5. Mmmm. Lemon bars! I love the sound of than, Elaine.

    Thanks for poppy in.


    MJ and VA

  6. This is so pretty. I love lemon desserts and no flour? Right up my alley! Thank you, thank you!

    Daryl / Avery

  7. I was thinking of you, Daryl! Thanks for coming by.

    We love lemon desserts too. It is even better the second day, BTW.



  8. First, you two are such a hoot!
    This sounds delicious. Fresh, bright, and spring-like.
    Well done all around.

  9. Thanks, Libby. Every stage is quite easy and it was fun and yummy.


    MJ and Vic (hootily)

  10. What a sweet recipe, and the photos made it look so easy. In my opinion you can't lose with mascarpone.

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo. Even my Italian MIL, a truly gifted cook, loved it!



  11. It's going on my trial tester tomorrow. And, then for Easter Sunday dinner. Cute bunnies!

    1. Thanks, Linda. We hope you are happy with the results! XO MJ and Victoria (aka bunnies)

  12. Lemon meringue tiramisu looks scrumptious! Perfect for Spring. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. We're glad you dropped in, Jen! Happy spring to you - hope there's plenty of lemon and some chocolate.


      MJ and Victoria