Lemon Meringue Tart

Lemon Meringue Tart
This Lemon Tart was one of the first photos that I posted on The Untamed Cook Facebook Page.  It was also the first time I was making it and I wasn't feeling very confident to post the recipe.

Now, about six months later and many Lemon Tarts afterwards I am sharing this recipe that already became one of my favorite desserts.


It is not an easy recipe, if you don't have much intimacy with pastry you might have some problems with the lemon curd and with the meringue.  But well... the only way of gaining experience in the kitchen is cooking right?  So be brave and let's bake!

Here are some tips that may make your life easier:

About the Curd
  • Use a double boiler -  heat-proof glass or metal bowl nested on top of a saucepan placed with simmering water.  The water should not boil and should not touch the bottom of the bowl.    Be patient, it will take about 10-15 minutes for the lemon curd to thicken up but this will reduce the chances of ending up with curdle eggs.   If it is taking too long you can increase the heat but don't let the water boil. 
  • Never leave it unattended.  Stir the mixture constantly otherwise you will end up with bits of cooked and curdle egg - pretty disgusting.
  • If even being super careful you end up with egg lumps on your tick custard, you can still try to save it by thoughtfully  straining it but be aware you will loose quite a bit of the Lemon Curd in the process.
About the Merengue
  • Whites have to be at room temperature to ensure volume when beating.
  • The bowl that you will beat the whites have to be very clean, with no traces of water or fat.   Avoid using plastic bowls.  Needless to say spoons, beaters also should be immaculate clean and dry.
  • Any small bit of yolk will ruin your meringue - use a piece of eggshell to "fish" them out. 
  • Start beating the whites in slow speed and increase the speed gradually.  
  • Pinch of Cream of Tatar right when the meringue starts to form peaks helps increase their volume and helps to maintain the peaks.
  • Don't add sugar before whipping the whites also don't over beat the whites - once they form soft peaks you can start adding sugar.
  • User Caster (superfine) sugar as it dissolves better
  • Add the sugar slowly, spoon by spoon.   Stop beating as soon as the mixture is glossy, again dont overbeat.
  • When covering the tart you can pipe the meringue on the top or just spoon it and make peaks with the back of the spoon.  Both will look beautiful.
  • For extra and more controlled color you can use a kitchen blow torch.   You will still need to bake the meringue a bit in the oven.   The Tart in the picture was in the oven and I gave it an extra color with a kitchen blow torch.
You can use store bought shortcrust pastry for this recipe but it is he easiest part so why not to make it from scratch too? :-)

Now, let's bake!


Lemon Merengue Tart (Tarte au citron meringuee)

Prep Cooking Total Serves Difficulty Cost
1h+2hwaiting 1h 4h 8 Hard $$

Author: adapted from Manu Feidel book French Kitchen;
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Ingredients

For the Pastry
  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 egg
  • 90g icing sugar, sfited
  • 30g almond meal
  • 250g plain flour,
For the Lemon Curd
  • 150g unsalted butter chopped and at room tempetature
  • 6 eggs
  • 180g Icing sugar, sifted
  • 300ml freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice,
For the Meringue
  • 4 egg whites at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • A pinch of Cream of Tartar (optional)
Instructions
For the Pastry
  1. With an electric mixer cream the butter with the eggs, the sugar and the almond meal.   
  2. Slowly add the flour just until all incorporated - don't over beat.     
  3. Tip the dough on a surface, make a ball, roll in plastic wrap and put in the fridge taking it out of the fridge 20 min before rolling
  4. Roll the pasty with a rolling pin to about .5cm. Cover a 25 cm tart pan
  5. Heat the oven to 190C.   Line baking paper over the pastry then fill with pastry weights (raw rice and dried beans work just fine if you dont have the ceramic ones).   
  6. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 10-15 min until lightly brown.   
  7. Take out of the oven, remove the pie weights, reduce the temperature of the oven to 180C and bake for more 10min until the base of the tart is dry.    
  8. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.
For the Lemon Curd
  1. Reduce the oven heat to 130C.
  2. To start you will need a large heatproof bowl that you can nest on the top of one of your saucepans.
  3. Put water in the saucepan remembering that once the bowl is nested on the top of it, the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Place the saucepan on medium heat, bringing the water to simmer not boil.
  5. Melt the Butter.
  6. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl and mix until all combined.
  7. Add the lemon juice and slowly add the melted butter.
  8. Mix well until all incorporated.
  9. Put the bowl on the top of the saucepan and whisk for about 10 min until the curd has thickened to a cream.
  10. Spoon the Lemon Curd into the tart shell.
  11. Bake the Tart for 15-20 minutes until the curd is very thick.  Remove the tart from the oven.
For the Meringue
  1. Put the whites in a bowl and with an electric mixer start whisking in low speed, increasing it gradually, beating until it starts to form peaks.
  2. Add a pinch of Cream of Tartar, continue beating until soft peaks form.
  3. Slowly add the sugar, without stopping beating. until thick and glossy.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 220C.
  5. Use a pipping bag to cover the tart with the meringue or simply do it with a spoon making some peaks with the back of the spoon.
  6. Bake for about 5 min until golden - if you have a kitchen blow torch, use it on the top to finish up.
  7. Remove the oven and let it cool completely before removing from the tin.

Notes

  • For marking the Tart case for a 25cm tart tin, you will use 3/4 of the recipe - use the leftover to make biscuits filled with jam :-)
    biscuits filled with jam
  • Technically you should leave it in the fridge overnight but planning stuff is not my favorite activity in the kitchen and I always end up leaving it just a couple of hours in the fridge... frankly I think it is just as good 
  • I have a trick to do it - I roll the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and when is done, i remove the plastic from the top and use the other piece to transfer the dough to the tart - works as a charm.





Rachel Elich

Rachel Elich is a globetrotting, computer engineer, project manager, designer, untamed cook extraordinaire who backpacks around the world. Along the way on adventures, Rachel has adopted and incorporated international influences into all aspects of her creative work endeavours.

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