Meyer Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Our sweet little Meyer lemon tree generously gave us a bounty of lemons. My family loves lemon meringue pie, but I wanted to kick this up a notch. I prefer a Pâte Brisée tart crust (buttery with a sweet balance of sugar), so I decided to make tartlets. I adapted a few different Martha Stewart recipes to make a winning combination. The crust was so tender and almost like a cookie. The Meyer lemon curd had just the right balance of tartness, and the piped on meringue "stars" made these look so pretty. This can easily be adapted in an 8 or 9" tart pan. Best of all, the lemon curd can be made several days in advance, and the tarts one day ahead. Oh, and for those of you who don't like meringue-- pipe fresh whipped cream on top, instead! You can view how I made this dessert by click on the recipe source to my blog, "A Feast for the Eyes".
- CRUST FOR AN 8 OR 9-INCH TART PAN:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest (optional)
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- FOR 6 TARTLET PANS:
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest (optional)
- 1-1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- LEMON CURD:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 8 large egg yolks (egg whites reserved for another use)
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (10-tablespoons), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 70mins
Adapted from afeastfortheeyes.net
Before starting, you can break down each of the three components a few days apart. Lemon curd stores very well in the refrigerator. I made the tart shells one day before assembling these tarts.
For the tartlets (or tart):
I used six non-stick tartlet pans, so I added 50% more ingredients. Otherwise, this should be enough dough for an 8-inch tart pan.
Whisk together flour, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the lemon zest in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until dough begins to hold together.
Note: I used my food processor, and pulsed the dough until it resembled coarse crumbs. Stir together 1 tablespoon water and vanilla, then mix into dough.
Note: I used the food processor, and pulse this until the dough just started to come together. Shape dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Using your fingers, press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Note: I used a rolling pin to individual cut the dough to fit into each tartlet pan.
Dock each tartlet (with a fork) or tart, to prevent too much puffing of the dough while baking.
Freeze for 30 minutes, to prevent shrinkage of the dough.
Bake tart shell until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the curd:
In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, zest, and egg yolks; whisk in lemon juice and salt.
Add butter and place pan over medium-high.
Cook, whisking constantly, until butter has melted, mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and small bubbles form around the edge of pan, about 5 minutes (do not boil).
Remove pan from heat while continuing to whisk. Pour curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass bowl. Press plastic wrap against the surface of curd and refrigerate until cool.
For the meringue:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy.
Gradually add granulated sugar.
Increase speed and whisk until meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks.
Whisk in vanilla until just combined and continue blending until it forms soft peaks.
To make this look fancy, pipe with a large star tip. Otherwise, top with the meringue and make swirls with the back of a spoon.
I use a small kitchen blow torch to brown the meringue, or place under a broiler and watch very closely until just slightly browned.
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