This dreamy Lemon on a Cloud dessert will make all the citrus lovers in your life swoon! This cloud of meringue topped with lemon curd and whipped cream will have everyone clamoring for seconds!
Lemon on a Cloud
The BEST recipes tell a story. My mom was an excellent cook, and growing up, we wise-acre children didn’t always appreciate her gourmet dinner offerings. Moussaka for example. I’m pretty sure I went to bed hungry the first night that layered spiced lamb and eggplant dish appeared on our table.
But we did love when she made desserts. She’d often come home from bridge club with the latest recipe from one of her cohorts, eager to try it out on the family. This lemon on a cloud is one of those gems that’s etched in my memory.
A Lemon Pavlova
We had a huge freezer down in the basement of my childhood home. Perfect for those times my parents purchased a side of beef or made a run to the Sara Lee outlet in Des Moines and came home with boxes and boxes of cheese danish.
My mom typically made a double batch of this lemon meringue dessert and popped one in said freezer. But as soon as we knew of its existence, my sisters and I would sneak down to the musty cellar with a knife and carve ourselves slivers of this citrus beauty. I’m certain our fingers were sticky and our sweet tooths satisfied before returning upstairs.
Years later, I tried to recreate my mom’s recipe, but I think her version had more of a lemon curd topping followed by Cool Whip. My family loved my creation, but I may have to hunt down the handwritten recipe card next time I’m back in Iowa. It was my first taste of what I later learned was a pavlova!
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 200º. Beat egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until mixture is very stiff and glossy. Add lemon juice.
- Place parchment paper on baking sheet. Trace a 9 inch circle in middle of paper, then flip so that marks are on underside of paper. Pile meringue into center of circle, then spread to edges, building up perimeter of the meringue to make a shell. Alternatively, you can bake meringue in a grease 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 2 hours. Cool completely at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice in saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature, refrigerate until cold.
- Beat cream until stiff peaks form. Using same beaters, beat lemon filling until smooth. Fold 1/2 cup of the cream into lemon filling until blended, then pile into cooled meringue shell. Reserve the rest of the whipped cream in the refrigerator. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Top with remaining cream and berries to serve, if desired.
Total time is closer to 5 1/2 hours including cooling times.