HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
I’m not sure about you, but the only way I know how to welcome the New Year is with a delicious cocktail or a glass of wine in my hand! And last night I pulled out one of the big guns from my cocktail recipe stash. This is a favourite dessert for a lot of people in cocktail form, and it’s one of my favourites too. So to keep the celebratory spirit running well in to the night and to kick off the new year in style I made my version of Lemon Meringue Pie Cocktail with a Lemon-Oat Lace Cookie!
I know that this post comes a little too late for the new year but really do you need an excuse to have a great cocktail? Creamy citrus flavour of the cocktail, topped with a sweet and soft meringue and a crunchy lace cookie (which is my take on the pie crust) flavoured with lemon zest? And of course the alcohol. Especially, the alcohol. Now that’s a cocktail worth celebrating.
So how and where did I first come across this cocktail?
My baby sister (who would hate me for calling her that!) and I are close, but we do have bit of an age gap. We both love a good cocktail but I had to wait till she FINALLY turned 18 to head out with her and have some drinks together. The fact that she lives in the city in New Zealand means that she has more opportunities to try out new and unique cocktails. There are only a few that we both really love, one of which is the chocolate mudshake. The second is how I came to write this post. There’s a place in Wellington, NZ called “The Library” and when I visited my parents there early last year (that’s 2014 ha!) my sister was raving about this phenomenal lemon meringue cocktail she had had there and insisted that we go there together and try it. And we did. And she was spot on! I had discovered something truly awesome!
Since I can’t find a place that serves this particular cocktail where I live now, what do I do? Make it myself of course. But why stop at just recreating what I’ve already had? I took it up a notch with a Lemon and Oat lace cookie. This adds a lovely, tasty crunch element. After all, what’s a pie without a crunchy crust?
The base of this drink is a good quality lemon curd. It brings the creaminess, sweetness and the tart flavour of lemon to the cocktail. You can make this cocktail with store bought lemon curd as long as it’s not too sweet (since the meringue will add enough sweetness to the drink). I however, love homemade lemon curd and one of my go to recipes for lemon curd is David Lebovitz’s recipe. I have used an adapted version (with orange juice) of this for my Vanilla citrus christmas cupcakes before as well.
I remember the first time I had this cocktail, I was racking my brains to figure out how they created that silky smooth meringue topping. It felt and tasted familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. I knew that it couldn’t be raw meringue although it tasted like it. Then it hit me. It was Swiss meringue! Swiss meringue is basically cooked egg whites (with sugar) that’s whipped into a meringue. If you were to add butter to it, it would create my most favourite frosting of all time, Swiss meringue buttercream! But for this cocktail, I just wanted a foodsafe meringue. And it was perfect.
The oat lace cookie is actually one of Mr. K’s favourites. I’ve made it before and we really like the buttery, nutty, caramelized crunch. And I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to this cocktail. With the added lemon zest, it had a subtle hint of lemon flavour and aroma. It’s a fantastic cookie to eat just on its own!
Lemon Meringue Pie Cocktail
- 1 cup/8 fl oz Lemon Curd store bought or 1 batch of this recipe
- 2 fl oz Limencello if you don't have this, you can replace this with an equal amount of vodka
- 6 fl oz Vodka
- 2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice optional if you used Limencello
- Ice cubes
- 4 Lemon & Oat Lace Cookies recipe below
- 1 recipe of Swiss Meringue recipe below
- 4 chilled serving glasses
- Place the Lemon Curd, Limencello, Vodka and Ice Cubes in a shaker and shake to combine.
- Taste and add more lemon juice if you like the cocktail to be more tart in flavour (I personally prefer this)
- Shake once more to combine lemon juice.
- Strain this into 4 chilled serving glasses evenly.
- Top with Swiss meringue.
- With a blow torch, just brown the edges of the meringue (Optional)
- Serve immediately with a lemon & oats lace cookie on the side.
Lemon & Oat Lace Cookies
- 2.8 oz/ 80g rolled oats chopped
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 stick / 115g of butter
- 4 oz/ 115g of brown sugar
- 2 oz/ 50g white sugar
- 3 tbsp cream
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°c.
- In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, both sugars, and zest.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Allow the butter to cook further, until it stops sizzling and turns a toasty brown (the grit in the butter will start to turn brown).
- Add the browned butter and cream into the dry ingredients.
- Mix all ingredients well.
- Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
- With your hands, gently roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place these on the tray about 3 inches apart. These cookies spread out a lot, so make sure you leave ample space between them (I baked only 5 at a time).
- Make a small indentation in the middle of the balls with your finger.
- Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for at least 5-10 minutes.
- Gently lift them off the tray (using a spatula) and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an air tight container.
Swiss Meringue Topping
- 2 egg whites room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Hand beater
- Heat proof bowl that would fit on a saucepan to use as a double boiler.
- In the saucepan, bring two inches of water to a low simmer.
- In a clean heat safe bowl, place the egg whites and sugar and mix them well with a whisk.
- Place this bowl on top of the saucepan with barely simmering water and mix continuously. This is important as whisking prevents the egg whites from cooking and curdling. You are not looking to incorporate air here, but just to keep the mixture moving.
- Stir the egg white and sugar with the whisk for about 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites become creamy white in colour. If you have a food thermometer - heat the egg whites while whisking to 145°-150°F/ 63°-66°C. If the sugar dissolves, you have heated the eggs to this temperature.
- Remove the eggs from the double boiler and immediately start whisking the egg whites with a hand mixer, to make the meringue.
- Whisk on high for about 3-4 minutes until the egg whites have tripled in volume and has stiff peaks.
- Add vanilla and mix for a few seconds till it's well incorporated..
- Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
- This will keep for 24 hours in the fridge.
This is a truly awesome cocktail. You can have the lemon cocktail on it’s own if you wish, but some may find it a little too tart. If that’s the way you decide to go, you could consider adding some sugar syrup to sweeten up the drink a little. If you’re adding the meringue though, you definitely won’t need extra sugar.
I love that this is both a cocktail and a dessert rolled into one. While the cookie could maybe served as a spoon (it’s more like a dip and eat kind of thing), you’d definitely need a spoon to scoop up and eat that gloriously soft meringue. Unless of course, you have an especially dexterous tongue. In that case, I say go for gold. I promise I won’t judge.
If you’re a fan of lemon meringue pie or lemon tarts or just the lemon flavour in general, this cocktail is for you. I hope you try it out and let me know how it goes.
I hope you all have a fantastic 2015! Speaking of celebrations, I’ll be joining the party over at #Foodie Fridays (A Dish of Daily Life) and #Fiesta Friday (The Novice Gardener) with this cocktail tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what everyone else brings to the first party of the new year!
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Here’s to another brilliant year!