for the meringues:
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- 1 cup superfine sugar*
- ½ cup lemon curd (homemade or store bought)
- 16 raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter and a pencil, trace 16 circles each spaced 1 inch apart from each other onto the parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Place the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer with the beater attachment and beat on low speed until foamy. Then add the cream of tartar and increase the mixer speed to medium. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
4. Place the superfine sugar into a bowl and scrape the vanilla bean into it. Stir until combined.
5. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the bowl of the mixer until each tablespoon is added. Then increase the speed of the mixer to medium high and beat until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy. (It will look like marshmallow fluff.)
6. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large tip (Wilton 1M is what I used) and pipe the mixture onto the prepared circles on the parchment paper. First, squeeze a small amount of the mixture out to just coat the bottom of the circle. Then pipe 2-3 layers around the edges of the circle to create a nest shape. Repeat until all the rounds are filled in and nests are made.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours, rotating the pan halfway through.
8. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let cool completely. Once fully cooled, gently remove the nests from the parchment paper and store in an air tight container for up to 1 week. (Nests may also be frozen for 1 month.)
*Superfine sugar is also referred to as caster sugar. If you can't find this in the grocery store, put granulated sugar into a food processor and pulse until granules are very fine.
9. To assemble, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of lemon curd into each nest, filling them ¾ of the way. Top with a fresh raspberry. Serve immediately.
The tart lemon curd combined with the sweetness of the meringue is just amazing. You'll want to make sure your guests eat these over a napkin though! The curd has tendency to drizzle out of its meringue nest once you take your first bite.