Recipe: Lemon Meringue Donuts

It's been a long time since I've baked anything for you and I'm sorry for that. It's been all cocktails and frozen treats on here for a little while now and though I would have LOVED to have baked you something sweet, I couldn't risk turning my oven on for most of the summer. It just wasn't worth the amount of sweat, which then triggers my allergies to kick in and turns me into a serious Wreck. And that's a Wreck with a capital W.

But between the heat/humidity letting up a bit and the addition of an AC unit in my living room, I was able to spend Sunday morning in the kitchen, which was much needed and extremely relaxing. And the result is lemon meringue donuts, because I enjoy turning desserts into other desserts. (Examples here, here, here. Oh and here.)

These donuts are a fun play on a lemon meringue pie but bite-sized (or maybe more like 3 bites). Lemon spongey cake donuts topped with a super simple meringue topping. A word about meringue: make sure to use an egg separator, or be very careful when separating your egg whites from the yolks. Even a little bit of yolk in there can stop your whites from frothing up and getting to stiff peaks. Believe me, been there done that. 

Lemon Meringue Donuts

Makes 2 dozen donuts

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a donut pan by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and lemon zest with a spoon, working them together until the mixture is clumpy and fragrant. This helps release the lemon oils for more lemon flavor. Set aside.

In a large mixing, whisk together flour, cake flour, lemon sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Cut your half stick of butter into cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or my preferred method, your hands, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and sand-like. You'll want tiny pieces of butter throughout the mixture.

In a medium bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla until frothy. Add sour cream and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and fold it in with a rubber spatula. Before completely combined, add the lemon juice and continue to fold together until mixture is smooth. 

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe the batter evenly among the wells of the greased pan. Before placing into the oven, lightly tap the donut pan on a flat countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack. 

I find that because of the moisture level in the donuts, it’s best to eat these within 24 hours, or stack on a plate and wrap with plastic wrap. Keeping the donuts in an airtight container may cause them to sweat and the meringue to soften. Enjoy!

Lemon Meringue Donut via Unusually Lovely

Meringue Frosting

Makes more than enough for these donuts

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
brûlée torch (optional, but recommended)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy and white in color. Begin slowly adding sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, scrape meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Once donuts have completely cooled, pipe meringue onto the tops of each donut. Use a brûlée torch to toast the meringue and get that traditional toasted look.

Donuts should be enjoyed within the day or two.