OK, so normally I'm all about simplicity. Nine times out of 10 when I'm in a cooking mood, I go for simple and fast. But what about the 1 time out of 10 when I really want to surprise myself? This is one of those moments.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I'm a sucker for lemons. I love, love, love lemons. I'm a southern California native. I grew up on a small farm and there was citrus all around me. Now I live in Utah and I actually have two indoor lemon trees that grow lemons year-round! In the summer they sit on my front porch and everyone comments about how unique they are. Then in the winter I bring them into our reading room that is full of sunlight and works like a green house. You get the point...I love lemons.
Back to desserts...
To me, a lemon dessert is a dessert worth spending some time on. And this little dessert for a lemon meringue tart is absolutely amazing. It's a little more difficult. You may make a mistake or two your first time through. But it's so worth it! And, it is SPECTACULAR with Tahitian or Tongan vanilla extract!
Give it a try and leave a comment to let me know how it goes!
- 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
- Pastry Crust:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- pinch salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut in pieces
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
- Lemon Curd:
- 4 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
- pinch salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 6 tablespoons butter, sliced
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse the food processor a few times to mix everything together. Add the butter and pulse a few more times, until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the water and process until the dough comes together. Dump the dough out onto the counter and press it together with your hands, shaping it into a disk. Wrap the pastry with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll the pastry out into a 12-inch circle and transfer it to a 9-inch tart pan. Gently press the pastry into the bottom and sides of the pan, letting any excess fold over the sides of the tart pan. Trim away the excess pastry around the rim of the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the pastry several times with a fork so dough doesn’t bubble up while baking. Chill the tart shell in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or a piece of greased aluminum foil on top of the pastry and fill the tart pan with pie weights or dried beans. This is called blind baking and the weights or beans will prevent the pastry from rising up and buckling as it bakes.
- Bake the tart shell for 30 minutes. Then gently remove the foil and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove the tart pan from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack.
- While the crust bakes, make the lemon curd. Combine the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk together. Place the pan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a spatula, until the curd has thickened and has reached 175°F – about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and butter, a little at a time.
- Transfer the warm lemon curd to the baked tart shell and cool to room temperature.
- Make the meringue. Set up a double boiler by placing a metal mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. (Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.) Add the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar to the bowl and whisk until smooth. While slowly stirring with a spatula or spoon, cook the egg whites until they reach 160°F. The mixture should be smooth, not grainy. Remove the bowl from the heat and use an electric stand mixer or hand mixer to whip the whites at medium-high speed for about 10 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks are formed. Do not over beat.
- Spread the meringue onto the cooled lemon curd, making small peaks with the back of a spoon. Let the tart cool to room temperature. (The tart can be served at room temperature or chilled. If you prefer the tart chilled, let it cool in the refrigerator, uncovered.)
- Before serving, use a brulée torch to brown the peaks of the meringue. If you don’t have a brulée torch, place the tart under a hot broiler for a few minutes to toast the peaks of the meringue. Watch carefully as it can burn quickly. The tart is best served the same day it is made.
This recipe is slightly altered from MeredithLaurence.com