I’m always very envious of the food bloggers.
When I’m struggling for blog inspiration I often think it must be easy for them – they can just adjust their pinny, create something mouth-watering, take a few pics…..aaaaannnnnnddddd Publish! So, when English Mum wrote about her Big Bake-off competition, and the prize was a Green & Blacks hamper, I thought “I’m in, this’ll be great – make-it, snap-it*, publish….”
Hmmm, how wrong could I have been?
My first mistake was waiting till the summer holidays. My children like to help in the kitchen, and ‘obviously’ I like them to help, but this particular morning they’d already covered the kitchen in Gloop, thanks to Chris from Thinly Spread kindly publishing the recipe, and I didn’t think I could face any more mess.
I needed something that was relatively easy and that we all love. There was only one choice – Lemon Lapiz Pudding. I’ve searched for the origins of this particular dessert in vain, all I have is a photocopy of a handwritten recipe – I think you can just about make it out in one of the images below. I was originally introduced to this wondrous dish by a good friend of my mother-in-law. She hails from Glasgow, but I don’t know if it’s a Scottish dish or one she’s picked up along the way.
She brought it to the Christening party of my 3yo and it sat a little too long out of the fridge. It was looking a bit sorry for itself by the time I got to it, but out of courtesy more than anything I tried a slice – it was like molten heaven. I cannot stress enough what a gorgeous dessert this is, you can cheat and buy in meringue, which would make it an incredibly quick and easy dessert, but I’d urge you to make your own – the combination of the outer crunch, the slightly soft mallow meringue and the gooey filling is pure decadence.
So, the plan was to whisk up the meringue, pop it in the oven and dash out to watch Toy Story 3 at the cinema. It was all going well, I even remembered to use the baking parchment with silicon so the meringues wouldn’t stick and gift some poor consumer with a mouthful of baking sheet. I gave them half an hour, moved them around and turned the oven down to about 75 degrees, just in case we got held up somewhere.
Later than planned, we settled in to watch Toy Story 3 – 2D had been negotiated to maximise the chances of the 3yo watching through to the end. After 30 minutes and the 3rd toilet break with the 3yo I noticed a number of texts and voicemails from my husband. He’d got home and was locked out, I thought back to the 10 minutes I’d spent wrestling with the door that morning and assumed the lock was sticking. A lengthy text conversation culminated in me gathering up the children (remembering that I hadn’t paid enough parking charge either) and racing home, where we found that the lock was indeed buggered (technical term).
Sadly it was rush hour on Friday, so the locksmith took a while to arrive, and I tried not to worry about my meringue. Happily he broke in really very quickly once he did arrive, and set about changing the lock while I rescued my cooked-to-perfection sugary delights from the oven. I won’t mention what the 3yo did in the garden because she couldn’t get in to the toilet – you don’t really need to know.
Lemon Lapiz turned out good again – it pretty much always does, that’s why I love it so much:
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
4 standard egg whites
8oz caster sugar (I used golden) plus two more tbsps (optional)
For the filling:
1/4 pt whipping cream
1 large can condensed milk
2 large lemons
If you’re making your own meringue, grab a perfectly clean bowl and whisk the egg whites until stiff and dry. I was using a hand whisk so it took a little while but it does the job.
Whisk in the sugar one tablespoon full at a time- your mix should become stiffer and stiffer.
Prepare your baking trays to create three meringue circles – approximately 8” round, spread your mixture into the circles, don’t make it too thin. You can sprinkle on the rest of the sugar at this point if you wish. (I don’t)
Bake at 250F, 130C, gas mark 1/2 for two hours minimum – keep swapping the tins around every 30 minutes or so. I actually cooked mine for 5 hours at 75C and they came out perfectly so experiment with what works for you in terms of texture. Remove from paper and leave to cool
For the filling, combine the cream and condensed milk with the lemon juice. You can grate in the rind for extra tanginess – I tend to leave it out if I’m making for children, they don’t like ‘the bits’. Leave to thicken for a few minutes.
Now it’s construction time! Place one meringue on your plate and spoon half the mixture onto it. Don’t go all the way to the edges, stop maybe 2/3 out to allow the mixture to level without getting too thin. Top with the second meringue, repeat, and place the third on top.
Chill in the fridge for four hours to set (it’s awful to cut if you bring it out sooner). Serve as it is, or with seasonal fruit – it’s good with raspberries.
It freezes well in a sealed container, defrost at room temp for approximately 3-4 hours before serving.
*I’m not even going to begin on how hard it is to photograph food – OMG, this food blogging thing is hard! *lays down pinny*