I made a Lemon Meringue Tart this morning while I was waiting for everyone else in my house to wake up. The dog and I seem to be on the same schedule lately and so up I was a little before 7 AM on this fine Saturday morning. The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Barefoot In Paris, by the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten. The recipe can be found on page 183 of this great cookbook.
Ina’s recipe does everything from scratch including the crust. I skipped that part as I always have much better results when I use a Pillsbury pre-made refrigerated crust. This is a major short cut. I LOVE short cuts!
Don’t forget to put some slashes in the crust before you bake it so that it doesn’t bubble up in the oven. After baking off the crust, I made the lemon curd filling while the crust cooled. When the lemon curd cools to room temperature, you can make the meringue. Spread the lemon curd into the crust and cover with the meringue making sure to seal all the edges around the top so that it doesn’t shrink when you bake it. Then it is just a matter of baking in the oven for a few minutes to color the meringue a beautiful brown color.
Here it is cooling down outside on my deck! It’s colder than my refrigerator out there.
Look how pretty and brown the peaks are on that meringue after it comes out of the oven.
Okay, here she is back in the house. I wouldn’t want a bird to come along and get the first taste!
So here is how I made this “Masterpiece of Lemon-ness”.
Lemon Meringue Tart
Prepare your favorite pie and tart crust or do what I did and use a pre-made refrigerated crust and bake it off in a pie tart pan.
Lemon Curd Filling
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 extra large eggs
3 extra large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
Zest of one lemon (I used a Micoplane Grater to get all of the zest really fine) (Ina’s recipe calls for the zest of 6 to 8 lemons. I only had one and believe me one made it plenty lemony)
1/2 cup lemon juice. ( I juiced the lemon after I zested it and it was a little less than the whole 1/2 cup called for in the recipe. So, I just added some Real Lemon Juice from the bottle till I had my 1/2 cup.)
1/8 tsp Kosher salt
Cream the butter and sugar. On low speed, add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, and then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. (Ina tells us that it will look curdled and it does so don’t worry.)
Pour the mixture into a small sauce pan and cook over medium low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Whisk briskly when it starts to thicken and cook over low heat for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Do not allow it to boil. (It will be 175 degrees on an instant read thermometer. ) Pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/4 tsp of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until frothy. With the mixer running slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat the meringue until it is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes. Fill your baked tart shell with the cooled lemon filling and then gently spread the meringue over top of the lemon filling and be sure to seal all the edges with the meringue so that it does not shrink and pull away from the sides when you bake it off. (Ina piped her meringue on to her tart but I am a novice so that is a lesson for another day. :) But feel free to pipe away!) Bake the tart in oven to brown the meringue for about 3 to 5 minutes and check on it at 3 minutes to make sure it doesn’t over brown.