Happy New Year everyone and welcome back to A Common Kitchen!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and I hope that you are looking forward to what 2019 has to come. 2018 was an amazing, albeit crazy, year for me. Jake and I got engaged… and married exactly two weeks later! My little brother graduated high school, we moved into a new apartment (and will be moving again soon, yikes!), and I also started this blog almost a year ago. 2018 was a hard and trying year but a lot of good things came of it. I am thrilled to see what 2019 brings!
Now onto this weeks recipe. Lemon Meringue Tarts. Before starting this blog I never really baked anything besides Chocolate Cake, Boston Cream Pie, and French Silk Pie. I always stuck to the same 4-5 recipes that Jake and I enjoyed time and time again. And I still make those same recipes here and there but this blog made me expand what I had to bake. Enter in, Lemon Meringue Tarts.
In all honesty, I have never had a Lemon Meringue Pie. Anytime I go to dinner, a cafe, or a patisserie I always opt for a buttery flaky pastry or something chocolate. Very rarely will I get a fruit based dessert, except for the occassional Apple Pie from my favorite cafe. However, I have always loved citrus fruits and now that it is citrus season I thought I would try making homemade Lemon Meringue Pie with my own twist, of course.
I decided to take a classic Lemon Meringue Pie and make it into mini tarts. The recipe is essentially the same just in mini-form. I used these 5 inch tart tins that I purchased on Amazon and they make the perfect sized dessert for one person. These little tins are nonstick and have removable bottoms which is much easier than other alternatives. They are pretty inexpensive to and have so many uses (individual quiches anyone?).
The tart dough is very basic and simple recipe. The best part about it too is that it is made in the food processor. One bowl, no mess. Need I say more? All you do is pulse the dry ingredients together, add the butter and pulse, add the buttermilk + egg yolk mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. Then you wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for one hour. Then you will roll it out, fit it into the tart tins, and bake them. That’s all! t makes a super flaky all butter tart dough that can be used for any recipe.
Now let’s talk about the Meyer Lemon Curd Filling. This filling is a one pot recipe. Yes, one pot. All you do is dump all of the ingredients into a saucepan and cook it. No heating of the milk mixture and risking the chance of scorching it. No tempering of the eggs. Just dump and stir, need I say more? This Meyer Lemon Curd filling is smooth, silky, and oh-so lemony. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart and the addition of vanilla bean seeds makes the curd absolutely delicious. If you can’t find Meyer Lemons don’t worry, regular lemons will work too. This curd is perfect for these Lemon Meringue Tarts but you could also use this curd to spread on toast, fill cakes with, or even spoon over some yogurt.
The Swiss Meringue topping is a recipe that I use all of the time. I used it for my Mini S’mores Cookies, Christmas Tree Cookies, and as a base for all of my Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipes. It’s a slightly more technical recipe but if you read the instructions it will be very easy to make. The one thing that you absolutely need for the recipe is a digital kitchen scale. I cannot tell you enough how important it is to have one these in your kitchen, especially if you’re a baker. With a recipe as finicky as meringue, a kitchen scale is a must have. Once you have a kitchen scale, you will make the most perfect Swiss Meringue (almost) every time! The meringue in this recipe balances out the entire dessert and the fact that it’s toasted is just an added bonus.
These Lemon Meringue Tarts are beautiful, delicious, and perfect for using up all of your in season lemons. I will be serving these at my next family party because who doesn’t love getting their own personal little dessert? If you try this recipe please let me know how it turned out and share any of your pictures with me on Instagram (@acommonkitchen). Thanks for visiting the blog this week everyone and happy new year!
Lemon Meringue Tarts
Makes 6 (5 inch) Lemon Meringue Tarts
For the Tart Dough
1 ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon White Granulated Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold
1 Egg Yolk
2-3 Tablespoons Buttermilk
For the Lemon Curd
8 Large Egg Yolks
1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Vanilla Bean, seeds scraped out
⅔ Cup Fresh Squeezed Meyer Lemon Juice (from about 8 lemons)
Zest from 3 Meyer Lemons, about 2 Tablespoons
10 Tablespoons Butter, cubed
For the Swiss Meringue
6 Ounces (about ⅔ Cup) Egg Whites
9 Ounces (about 1 ¼ Cup) White Granulated Sugar
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
½ of a Vanilla Bean, split in half and seeds scraped out
Make the tart dough:
In the bowl of a food processor add the flour, sugar, and kosher salt. Pulse a few times to evenly combine. Add the butter and pulse a couple more times, until the butter pieces are roughly ½” cubes. Whisk the egg yolk and buttermilk together and pour it evenly around the dry ingredients and pulse just until the dough holds together, adding more buttermilk if needed, one tablespoon at a time.
Dump the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Once the dough is chilled, lightly dust a work surface and roll the dough out so it is ⅛” thick. Use your mini tart pans as a guide to cut out circles that have an extra ½” around the pan. Use your fingers to gently press the tart dough in to bottom, sides, and corners of the tins. Use a paring knife to cut the excess dough off.
Prick the bottoms of the dough with a fork a few times. Place all of the tart tins on a sheet pan and freeze for 20 minutes.
Once the tart shells have been in the freezer for 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 350℉. Once the 20 minutes has passed, remove the tart shells from the freezer. Place a piece of parchment paper large enough to have a 1-2” overhang inside each tart, pressing it gently to fit the insides. Fill with pie weights or dried beans or rice.
Bake the tarts for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take the tart shells out of the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment. Place the shells back into the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the shells are light golden brown.
Remove the tart shells from the oven and let cool completely. (*Make the Meyer Lemon Curd once your tart shells are completely cooled.)
Make the Meyer Lemon Curd:
In a medium-sized saucepan, add the egg yolks, sugar, kosher salt, and vanilla bean seeds and whisk until pale in color, about 2 minutes.
Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk to combine. Toss in the cubed butter and and place the pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve (to catch any lumps) into a large measuring cup.
Pour the lemon curd into the cooled tart shells, filling them about ¾ of the way full.
Place the filled tarts into the fridge and let cool until completely chilled, at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
Make the Swiss Meringue:
In a medium-large bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Whisk the mixture until evenly combined. Place the bowl over a pot of water— make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl— creating a double boiler!
Turn the heat to medium-low and cook the egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is no longer grainy (test by rubbing a small amount between two fingers) and its about 185℉, about 10-12 minutes.
Once the mixture is up to temp, transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment. Turn the mixer on to high speed (speed setting 8 on my KitchenAid) and whisk until the meringue holds stiff peaks, is glossy, and is room temperature.
Transfer the meringue to a large piping bag fitted with an open star tip.
Pipe as many or as little dollops of meringue on the tops of the tarts as you would like.
Use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the meringue, being careful not to burn it. You can also do this step by using the broiler in your oven but make sure to keep a close eye on it, I have burned my fair share of desserts using this method.
I suggest eating these tarts immediately but you can make the recipe up to the meringue steps and make the meringue as close to serve time as possible.