Thinking outside the omelet—both sweet and savory.
- ¾ cup pecan flour (we used Knight Creek Farms)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 large fresh and local egg whites, room temperature (completely free from traces of yolk*)
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup superfine sugar**
- 6 large fresh and local egg yolks
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- Zest and juice of 5 large lemons
- ¼ pound butter, cubed and chilled
- 1 cup local heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar
Meringue Japonais (layers)
Preheat oven to 225° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On 1 piece of parchment, trace a 10-inch-diameter circle. On the second piece, trace an 8-inch and a 6-inch circle. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine pecan flour, salt and cornstarch. Set aside.
In the bowl* of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine room-temperature egg whites and cream of tartar. Mix on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, reducing mixer speed to low while adding and sprinkling in each addition. Increase speed to high in between additions, and beat for about 15 seconds. When all sugar has been added, increase speed to high, and beat meringue just until stiff peaks form. It will be very thick. Remove from mixer. By hand, with large spatula, fold in ground nut mixture only until combined.
Working quickly, either spread with palette knife or pipe with a pastry bag the meringue onto the traced circles. Immediately place into preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours. Do not open the oven door while baking as meringues may crack. After 2 hours, turn oven off and leave meringues in oven for an additional 2 hours or overnight. Carefully peel parchment from meringues and set aside.
Lemon Curd Filling
Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. In a medium mixing bowl, combine yolks and sugar. With a whisk, whip until light, fluffy and opaque. Add juice and zest. Reduce heat under pan of water to a simmer. Rest bowl over simmering water to create a double boiler. (Also called a water bath or bain-marie.) Whisk mixture over double boiler for 9 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter 1 cube at a time. Cool to room temperature before use. Set aside. (Refrigerate if making ahead of time. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Whipped Cream Filling
Just before assembly, combine cream and sugar in a cold mixing bowl. Whip to soft peaks.
For assembly: Place a small dab of lemon curd on a serving platter and place the 10-inch meringue disc on platter. The curd will secure disc while you spread fillings on top. Carefully spread curd on top of disc, leaving a ½-inch margin. Top with a layer of whipped cream, again leaving a ½-inch margin. Top with 8-inch disc and repeat. Top with 6-inch disc and repeat. Garnish with additional pecan flour and lemon zest if desired. Serve immediately; it’s best within 2 hours for best crispness.