Lime Meringue Cookies
Yup, limes! I know, you can only find limes here in Jerusalem around the last two weeks of August. But somehow I was lucky enough to get the last limes of the season. Come to think of it, this season is pretty nuts. It’s the end of September and yet the weather is warmer than August. So maybe I shouldn’t be astonished that limes are still here. I squeezed the limes to the last drop and made myself these wonderful lime meringue cookies.
Here lies the problem. Every year I promise myself to buy a huge amount of limes, squeeze them all into ice cube trays and keep them as frozen lime cubes to use for the rest of the year. But I somehow manage to forget about it or just get lazy. No matter, at least I’ll have something to look for at the end of summer. Before you cut and squeeze the limes, make sue to grate the peel and keep the zest as well.
Initially I was planning to make a classic key lime pie. I then changed my mind and made cool little cookies instead. No need to cut, no need for utensils or serving plates. Most importantly, look how cute they are! Of course, if you can’t find limes you can just substitute the same amount of lemons. Another option (which I’ll surely try soon), is to substitute the lime cream with chocolate ganache and get a kind of a s’mores cookie.
I already used this cream in different variations in other recipes, like in this lemon halva tart and that lemon berry tart. This time I reduced the butter by 17% of the original recipe and it worked perfectly. You know, the fact that it comes in bite size will also save you some calories, if you can resist the temptation of going for another cookie, and then another one and… oh well, maybe it’s not going to save you anything after all.
Some zesty notes
* No limes? No problem. Replace with the same amount of lemons.
* Unfortunately, lime meringue cookies are at their best the day of assembly only. The thin butter cookie absorbs the moisture from the cream fast and then loses its crispness a day later. That’s why it’s best to assemble the lime cookies as close to serving as possible.
* The recipe yields leftover lime cream and meringue. You can pipe the leftover lime cream in small cups and keep in the fridge. Pipe the leftover meringue on top and you get gluten free desserts in a cup.
5 g gelatin powder
25 g water
90 g lime juice (about 3 limes)
110 g sugar
112 g eggs (2 large eggs)
Zest of 1 lime
150 g soft butter
14 g gelatin mass
200 g flour
100 g powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lime
80 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
2 large egg yolks (40 g)
2 tsp water (10 g)
100 g egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
180 g sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
Round cookie cutter, 4 cm diameter
Pastry bag fitted with a 10 mm smooth tip
Pastry bag fitted with a 16 mm smooth tip
The recipe makes about 30 lime meringue cookies
Advance prep (the night before)
Gelatin mass: Sprinkle gelatin powder over the water, mix well and keep in the fridge for at least half an hour. Cut into small pieces before use.
Lime Cream: Put lime juice, sugar, lime zest and eggs in a saucepan and whisk. Start warming on medium heat, while whisking all along to prevent the egg yolk from congealing.
Once the mixture starts to thicken (or reaches 84 °C/ 183 °F), remove from heat and add gelatin mass. Mix well and pour the mixture immediately through a sieve into a measuring pitcher.
As soon as the temperature reaches 50 °C/ 120 °F, add the soft butter (gradually but quickly) and mix well. Grind with a hand blender to a uniform consistency.
Transfer the cream into a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap. Keep in the fridge overnight to let the cream set.
Put flour, powdered sugar, salt, lime zest and butter cubes in the mixer bowl and keep in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Remove from fridge. Using the paddle attachment, start mixing at low-medium speed until the batter reaches sand-like consistency. Make sure the butter chunks are as small as possible at the end of the process without melting the butter. Make sure the room is cool enough.
Add egg yolk and water all at once and keep mixing at medium speed until the dough starts to form but is not yet completely uniform. If the dough doesn’t form, add one more teaspoon of water.
Remove dough parts from the bowl and combine together. Divide the dough in two parts. Keep one part in the fridge and place the other on top of a parchment paper. Flatten the dough a little bit and lay another parchment paper on top.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin between the two parchment papers to 2 mm thickness (we want a thin cookie). Keep turning the dough throughout. Place the dough with the parchment papers on a tray. Keep in the fridge for at least an hour. Repeat the process with the second part of the dough.
When the dough is stiff and cold, remove the parchment papers and place the dough back on one of the papers. Using a 4 cm round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Keep in the freezer for about 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 175 ºC /345 ºF in the meantime.
Once the desired temperature is reached, remove the cookies from the freezer and transfer them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. If you’re not planning to assemble them that same day, keep in the freezer in an airtight container to keep them fresh.
Assembly (Day of serving)
Organize the cookies in pairs. Remove the lime cream from the fridge and whisk it until you get a smooth texture (don’t whisk too much though, otherwise the cream will become too soft for piping – in this case, put it back in the fridge until it’s set again).
Fit a pastry bag with a 10 mm smooth tip and fill it with the lime cream. Holding the pastry bag vertically, gently pipe a mound of lime cream on top of half the cookies. Place another cookie on top and press gently to squash the cream a little between the cookies. Keep in the fridge until set. Prepare the meringue in the meantime.
Tip! Pipe the leftover cream in small cups and keep in the fridge. Same with the meringue, pipe the leftover meringue on top of the lime cream and you’ll get gluten free desserts in a cup.
Put egg whites, sugar and salt in a stainless steel bowl and whisk well. Warm the mixture on a double boiler (medium heat) while whisking all along to melt the sugar and pasteurize the egg whites.
Once the temperature reaches 60 ºC /140 ºF, lower the flame and keep whisking for about 5 more minutes (OR bring the temperature to 70 ºC /160 ºF and whisk for 1 minute).
Make sure the temperature doesn’t pass 75 ºC /165 ºF. (I just lower or turn off the flame accordingly and keep the temperature between 60-70 ºC / 140-160 ºF).
Remove from heat and strain immediately into the mixer bowl. Whip the mixture on maximum speed for about 5 minutes until the meringue is stable and shiny (stiff peaks). Towards the end, add vanilla paste and keep whipping.
Fit a pastry bag with a 16 mm smooth tip and fill it with the meringue. Holding the pastry bag vertically, pipe a meringue mound on top of each cookie. To get a sharp tip and not curly, slow down the piping speed towards the end.
Keep in the fridge in an airtight container. Lime meringue cookies are at their best the day of assembly. Just before serving, burn the meringue with a burner.Yum
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