Lemon & Mint Meringue Cake

A friend of mine recently wrote on facebook ‘I’ve finally admitted what I’ve feared since middle school. I am Bridget Jones.’ And oh god, he just hit a bit too close to home.
Since when is it alright to fill up a weekend with baking and making things in large amounts without there being a real need for it? Calling it experiments would categorize as an effort to make it sound like everything is under control. But it seems like just when all is falling apart – including me – baking or fussing around in the kitchen seems to be the only response my body is initiating.
I couldn’t help but wonder (wink wink) whether I am the only person doing this. Turns out: half of the interwebs is dedicated to stress-baked cookies (and no, I am not linking to any of this, in an attempt to tame the awful ads in the right of my browser a little). In some ways the internet is so reassuring, namely we are all a little crazy, and in some ways you just know for sure there is nothing unique about, well, anything you do.

This cake I baked on a moment that I felt so inclined to make something with my hands, that I ignored the fact that there would be nobody around, happy to eat it other than myself (bad Bridget!), and that it would also be a little interesting to transport in case I would try to involve external parties.
Nevertheless: in case you feel like this, please do bake this cake as it is really therapeutic (three steps(!)), and very tasteful. In any case, you can at least put this up on Instagram and feel very grownup and under control.
Happy baking!

Lemon & Mint Meringue Cake
I have tweaked different recipes over the years and as an inspiration I have used Heston Blumenthal’s recipe, as well as Holtkamp’s Baking Bible. What I tried to achieve is a sturdy crust that is not overly sweet, a tangy lemon filling that doesn’t require loads of work and a soft meringue topping that is also not cringingly sweet.
I have found that I like to have a little more meringue to put on top than most recipes, so I would use 3 egg whites. The cake on the photo however used only two egg whites, but left a couple of gaps as you can see. Just feel free to adjust as you like.
The mint makes this cake stand out quite a bit in my opinion, just make sure you shred it finely enough for it to not catch between your teeth.

Crust

  • 100 grams of white soft sugar
  • 200 grams of soft butter
  • ½ egg
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 300 gram of white flour

Filling*

  • 400 grams of Lemon Curd (either homemade or storebought good quality)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 pinches of salt

Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • 75 grams of sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt

For the crust: mix all ingredients together with your hands into a consistent dough and press it into your desired form (I used a round pan).
Put it into the fridge to rest for around an hour.
Bake the crust in a moderately hot oven, on 180 degrees Celsius, until it looks slightly browned, for around 30 minutes.

For the filling: mix the ingredients for the filling together and pour this into the crust.
Bake this for another 15 minutes in the oven on the same temperature.
If you are in a hurry: leave out the egg yolks and simply pour the lemon curd and the mint leaves in the crust, no extra baking needed in that case. It might be that your lemon curd is a little runny, you could consider to mix it with some sturdy cream cheese (100 grams for example).

For the meringue: in a clean (important) bowl, beat the egg whites together with the salt until it looks frothy. Then, gradually add the sugar and beat until it is stiff and glossy.
Pipe the meringue on the baked cake and filling. Bake this under the oven grill, for another 10 – 15 minutes on around 180 degrees Celsius, while you keep a close eye on it, as it burns easily.

* Alternatively you could make a filling that can be put together as follows: 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 115 grams of sugar, pinch of salt, 150 grams of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of shredded fresh mint leaves and 125 grams of butter, all melted together and poured into the unbaked crust. Then bake together with the crust in a moderately hot oven for about 40-45 minutes.
As this alternative filling is a little less sweet than the lemon curd, you might want to add a little more sugar to the meringue (for example 100 grams).

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