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Thursday, April 12, 2012

A “Wow” Worthy Dessert

As my husband spooned this dessert into his mouth, he seemed torn about whether to eat it as quickly as possible or to savor every bite.  Now, after watching my soldier inhale his food for over twenty years, I know how military guys eat…quickly.  So this is the mark of a truly remarkable recipe…the desire to enjoy it slowly!

This Lemon Blackberry Parfait is a bit of an homage to my dad’s favorite dessert.  When I was in high school, my mom was more than happy to hand over her recipe for Lemon Meringue Clouds.  I believe it originally came from my aunt Oma Sue.  After making round meringue “nests,” you topped them with a lemon curd and whipped cream mixture.

I like to think this takes those flavors to the next level.  The recipe look complicated, but really consists of easy, if a bit time-consuming, steps.  Following the recipe is a version using store-bought ingredients, if you prefer.

Lemon Blackberry Parfait

Swiss Meringue:

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
2. Remove from heat.  Beat on low speed, increasing to high, until still, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes.Beat in vanilla.


3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Spoon about 2 cups of the meringue into a large ziploc bag fitted with a medium star pastry tip.  Pipe 12 to 16 long swirly shapes onto one baking sheet.  Spread remaining meringue 3/4” tick on other prepared baking sheet.
4.  Bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 175 degrees and bake another 35 minutes, until meringue is dry but still white.  Rotate sheets halfway through baking time. TUrn off oven and let meringue cool completely in oven.  If you need your oven for something else, they can also cool on a metal rack on your counter.  Set swirls aside and crumble the sheet of meringue.

Lemon Curd

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces

1.  Combine yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in medium heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Add butter, stirring until melted and combined.  Press the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.  Spoon into a jar or other container and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Other ingredients:

1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
2 cups ripe blackberries
1 cup whipped cream, if desired


To assemble parfaits:

1.  Combine yogurt and 1 cup lemon curd. 
2. Layer berries, lemon curd mixture, and crumbled meringue in serving glasses.  Top with whipped cream and meringue swirls.
Serves 6

To make a quicker version, use purchased lemon curd and vanilla meringue cookies.  Crumble the cookies, leaving a few whole for garnish in place of the swirls. Of course, I’m partial to the made from scratch versions of both, but either is a dessert experience you won’t soon forget!


  1. This is beautiful! I'm not sure I could eat it. I think I would just want to look at it for a while. Well, I could probably make myself eat it... :-)

  2. For Pete's sake--you could enter this in a fancy-schmancy dessert contest and take top honors! Beautiful. And don't you love it when even those quick eaters pause and savor every bite? Ahhh, bliss.

    Don't ask me to tell you about my adventure with Meringue Clouds" years ago. All I'll say is it's the only time I ever heard Mr. Wonderful ask "do I HAVE to eat it?" To this day, I don't know what went wrong, but it spooked me enough I haven't tried since!!!


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