Lemon Cream Meringue Nests (Gluten Free)

It was time to return to France before I put on weight. We certainly had our fill of our Scottish favourites while visiting family with Lucas’ ice cream, Tunnocks Teacakes, baked potatoes, cheese scones, Stornoway black pudding and tons of hot smoked salmon.

Back home, as Spring has sprung later this year, we luckily hadn’t missed our traditional French muguet, or Lily-of-the-valley, which is traditionally given to family and friends as a good luck symbol. It was a week late in our garden. Brilliant!

A belated wish of good luck to you with hugs from France!

Not so brilliant was that I (called ‘the French Police’ by my Mum) had returned to the kitchen. I’d forgotten that it wasn’t just a public holiday on our arrival on Wednesday, but also yesterday too. Shops? Fermé. Shut. But I somehow get a kick out of using up leftovers in the fridge, since Antoine (French hubby) had left most of the fruit he was supposed to eat while we were away. To my surprise, they were still ok but not exactly bursting with flavour.

There were 3 lemons, 5 strawberries, 2 kiwis and a tired pineapple just looking for a tasty makeover. So I defrosted a jam jar of egg whites from the freezer while thinking up this lemon cream meringue nest dessert, filled with a zingy lemon cream and topped with the fruits.  The slightly tired strawberries were resurrected by tossing them in some good quality strawberry syrup. Et voilà! You thought I was going to make macarons, didn’t you?

Lemon cream meringue nests

Lemon Cream Meringue Nests (Gluten Free)

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour + 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour


2 egg whites (about 75g)
230g sugar
few drops vanilla essence 

1. Whisk the egg whites at high speed using a hand or stand mixer. Gradually rain in the sugar while continuing to whisk, adding the essence last, until the mixture is firm and glossy. It should form a peak (or bird’s beak, bec de l’oiseau) on the whisk.

2. Spoon out 4 large heaps of the meringue on to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Press them down and scoop out a cavity that you can fill later.

3. Bake for 1 hour at 110°C. Meanwhile, make the lemon cream.

Crème au citron (Lemon Cream)

3 egg yolks
90g sugar
15g cornflour
3 lemons (untreated)
100ml water
knob of butter (unsalted)

4. Whisk together the yolks and sugar in a saucepan. Add the cornflour, zest and lemon juice then the water. Mix together well.

5. Over a medium heat, whisk until the cream thickens then take off the heat and mix in the butter. Set aside to cool.

6. When the meringues are ready, leave to cool then spoon in the lemon cream into each meringue nest and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Just before serving, top with a mixture of fruits. Just look what my daughters put together for the decoration. Lucie loves pineapple – you can tell by this double decker!  I love leftovers. Now, I best get to the shops before mint meringues pops on the menu for our main course!

At least this means I’ve got more egg whites on the go for making macarons soon.

Lemon cream meringue nests

Happy sunny May time!

P.S. As with all my recipes, I use grams. Please don’t be mad, ounces lovers. However, if you’re mad about macarons, you’ll need digital kitchen scales – much more reliable to bake in weight rather than volume. Most digital scales have the option of switching from ounces to grams so this will make your life much easier.

25 replies
  1. Jerome in Glasgow
    Jerome in Glasgow says:

    Just tried these for guests last night, who didn’t leave a crumb! 🙂
    Thanks Jill for yet another beautiful recipe!

    The only thing I didn’t manage to get is the spiky basket shapes (mine were more like cloudy not very deep nests), I wonder if I beat my egg whites/sugar for too long….?
    Will just need to try these again! 🙂

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Pleased as punch to hear you tried them, Jérôme. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘cloudy’ so unsure what to advise. Please do try them again. They should be beaten enough still to form le bec de l’oiseau but glossy. Perhaps I should have said to move quickly on forming them. The more meringue waits on the counter before being baked, they become grainy and not as pretty. Using a spoon, the meringue should be firm enough to be able to form the spiky shapes. It’s done quickly and haphazardly, not ages to produce an art form. Hope this helps!

      Thanks for popping by to give me your feedback. Love it when I hear when you’ve made the recipes.

      • Jerome in Glasgow
        Jerome in Glasgow says:

        Thanks for the tips Jill, will definitely try again and move quickly next time as I really like that spiky look (mine looked like a white Barbapapa actually, all soft and comfy looking! Haha…)! 🙂

  2. Choclette
    Choclette says:

    Those pavlovas look absolutely delightful Jill and I bet that hubby person was very pleased to see you home. Glad you had a good time back in Scotland.

    We are more than a week behind here, but flowers have also got a little muddled – we seem to have the March, April and May flowers all out at the same time which makes our hedgerows look a little odd, but still very beautiful.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Choclette, it sounds like it’s the same chez vous. It’s so green here at this time of year and with all this rainfall, at least our grass is extremely green for once! Yep, hubby person was glad to have fresh food again, le pauvre 😉

  3. June S
    June S says:

    Lily of the Valley doesn’t grow in our garden – probably it’s far too cold here. M & S now sell a new perfume called Muguet.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I think we had it just as cold here too. I didn’t think they’d grow here, either, but I planted the bulbs in a sheltered area at the back of my herb garden, if that helps…

  4. Kim - Liv Life
    Kim - Liv Life says:

    I adore pavlovas!! Haven’t made them in quite some time though, and I think I feel somewhat inspired. The lemon creme is simply a bonus.
    Beautiful Lily of the Valley!! I grew them years and years ago, but they don’t seem to do so well in my current location. Beautiful shot you have there.
    Happy Mother’s Day Jill!! Hope you are having a lovely spring day filled with tasty treasures!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thrilled to inspire, Kim, thanks. Happy Mother’s Day to YOU in the USA. I woke up grumpy thinking that my kids had forgotten but in France it’s next week, I think, for Fête des meres.

  5. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

    I don’t know how anyone cooks without scales. My cooking improved when I stopped cupping and went to weighing.

    Your lemon pavlovas sound wonderful and I love making something from otherwise soon to be tossed ingredients.

  6. Fran @ G'day Souffle'
    Fran @ G'day Souffle' says:

    Jill, I happened to come across your blog via Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen. I’m particularly interested in French food and also ‘les macarons.’ I just took a master class in macarons here in Adelaide – I admit that it takes some practice mastering the pastry bag in squeezing out the mac’s- but I think I’ve almost got it! I’m looking forward to following your blog (BTW, I studied cuisine at the Le Cordon bleu in Paris).

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Lovely to meet you and thanks for popping by. Stopped for a taste of your strawberry meringue dessert and realised it’s Mother’s Day? I have some serious coaching and hint-dropping to do now until tomorrow! Merci xo

  7. Liz
    Liz says:

    We love pavlova in the Berg household…and I need to whip one up as soon as the spring berries are ripe. Love the idea of adding lemon cream, too…delish! Glad you had a fun Scottish holiday 🙂 xo

  8. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen
    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says:

    Well done on surviving the dungeons, Jill. I am glad you survived to magic the contents of your neglected fridge into these gorgous meringues.

    Love the Lily of the Valley too. I’ve never been able to grow it (I’m sure there is a garden legend that deals with this eventuality) but I have coincided with the distribution of muguet. Don’t you just love that scent!

  9. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says:

    I sent my mom a digital bouquet of lily-of-the-valley via the blog on (or about…it was in The Sip) May 1st too. It made me smile to see you do it as well.

    I’m loving these lemony delicious nests! With head hung, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge macaron fan, but I do love all things citrus, especially if they retain the tang. You’ve presented me with an upside-down lemon meringue pie. I love it!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I hear you! Wish we could make these digital muguets a scratch-and-sniff! Not a huge macaron fan? Och well, loving this will do. I suppose. Thanks for popping in!



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