A buttery flaky pastry crust filled with creamy tangy lemon curd and topped with some torched meringue makes these Lemon Meringue Tarts the most delicious of desserts.
Being in full swing of citrus season it only makes sense to make one of my favourite tarts ever. I’ve always adored a lemon tart but also lemon meringue pie. What to do when you love both- a hybrid version! A shallow pastry crust filled with the all famous lemon curd and topped with a small amount of torched meringue. By all means cover the whole thing in meringue but I love this less sweet version. The flakey pastry and tangy lemon tart truely shine through.
The Lemon in Lemon Meringue Tarts
Okey dokey, so you guessed it- the main focus of this tart are beautiful vibrant, tangy lemons. And boy oh boy do they deliver in flavour. The creamy curd filling packs a punch in its tanginess that you’d imagine from the lemons but also a lovely subtle sweetness.
Made with home-made lemon curd with the addition of cream the curd is light, fresh, smooth and creamy. Made in 15 minutes it's a quick option for a sensational tasting dessert.
To make the Lemon Filling for you Lemon Meringue Tarts
Have you made curd before? If not- don’t be intimidated ... before you know it you’ll had a bowl full of lemony goodness.
Add all your eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornflour and cream in a pan set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk away until the mixture starts to thicken. It can take up to 20 minutes so stick with it if you aren’t sure if it's coming together. You’ll know when its ready if the curd coats the back of a spoon. Another test is for you to run pass your finger through this coating, and if it stays put and doesn’t join back together ... then its ready!
Next strain the curd through a sieve. This is optional. I like to do it as I prefer a smooth curd. I want to remove the lemon zest and also be sure there aren’t and lumps from the egg if it overcooked.
Next add the cubes of butter whilst whisking. Take your time over this stage as the whisking incorporates air which makes the curd filling super light and smooth. Make sure all the butter has melted whilst whisking and once done then set the curd aside to cool to room temp.
At this point you are ready to pour the curd into your tart shells. Once the tarts are filled, refrigerate them for one hour for the curd to set and then the tarts are ready for their meringue decoration. But if you fancy eating them without the meringue then fantastic! Tuck in. They are delicious just like this!
Sweet short crust pastry
I love making pastry. I love its crumbly, flaky, ‘short’ nature. I also love that juxtaposition of smooth creamy filling with that crisp crunchy pastry in this dessert. But I get that it takes time and commitment to make your pastry by hand.
If it’s easier (I’m not going to judge if you), go and buy store bought shortcrust pastry. I get it, sometimes we’re just short of time and energy to go that extra mile. I’d I’d prefer you to try this tart with store-bought pastry than not at all!
HOWEVER, if you do want to go that extra mile then you won’t regret it AT ALL. There really is no substitute for home-made pastry! Follow my steps below and you’ll have the pastry nailed. It will elevate your Lemon Meringue Tarts to a thing of beauty!
In the next couple of weeks I have the most information packed blog post coming your way ... all you need to know on SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY. and I cannot wait to share it with you. Seriously so excited! So watch this space!
The Italian Meringue
If you are a meringue lover then by all means cover those little tarts with torched meringue. And I love meringue, I really do. But for these tarts I wanted the lemon to shine through. The meringue is a little token sweetness and let’s face it, decorating them like this takes them from your ordinary Lemon Tart to something that looks like you could buy in a fancy patisserie.
To make the meringue:
- Put egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to the boil.
- Cook over high heat and when the sugar syrup reaches a temperature of 105C degrees begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed. If you do not have a thermometer you can tell that the syrup has reached the correct temperature when big bubbles in the liquid become a bit smaller.
- Continue to cook the syrup until it reaches a temperature of 115-117c degrees and remove from heat.
- Increase the whipping speed to high and pour in the syrup in a thin stream while whipping. Whip for about 10 minutes until you get a stable glossy meringue.
- Transfer the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip and decorate the tarts.
I do hope that you make these little tarts. They are absolutely delightful and I love a dessert that suits both the winter cold months but also the summer months. It’s so versatile, the absolute best!
For another delicious tart recipe check out my Plum Frangipane Tart
Lemon Meringue Tarts
Sweet shortcrust pastry
- 375 g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 80 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 200 g unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 2 tbsp ice cold water
Lemon curd filling
- 6 egg yolks
- 240 g caster sugar (superfine)
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 200 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 lemons for both zest and juice
- 5 g cornflour (corn starch)
- 60 g double cream (heavy cream)
- 120 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 large egg whites
- 100 g caster sugar (superfine)
- 30 ml water
Sweet shortcrust pastry
- Sift the dry ingredients, flour, powdered icing sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter into the flour and rub the butter and flour together between your fingers until it resembles a bread crumb consistency.
- Make a well in the flour's centre, and using a fork, mix the egg into the flour. Add 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water and use your hands to bring the dough together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough just a couple of times to gather all the crumbs into a ball. Then shape the dough into a disc lightly with your hands. Wrap the dough a couple of times with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Once chilled, let the dough sit at room temperature for ten minutes and then on a lightly floured surface, cut the disc into six even pieces. Roll out each piece of dough until it’s the thickness of a coin.
- Ensure the dough is rolled out large enough to cover the base, the sides and enough for over-hang of your tartlet tin. Place the dough into the tart tin and with your fingers gently press the dough up the sides of the tin into all the grooves. Using a sharp knife, cut the excess dough from the tin. Repeat with the remaining dough and tart tins.
- Prick the pastry base all over with a fork and then line each tart base with parchment paper and fill with pie weights all the way up the sides.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and pie weights and return the pastry back to the oven for a further 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the six tarts from the oven and allow to cool fully.
Lemon curd filling
- Combine egg yolks, caster sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, corn flour and double cream in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the pan does not touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens or the back of a spoon is coated and leave a clear pass if you run your finger through it. This can take between 10-20 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, whisking until fully melted and combined. Don’t rush, the extra whisking allows for a lighter, creamier curd for the tart. Once the curd is at room temperature, fill each tart shell with lemon curd. Allow to set in the fridge for an hour before piping with the meringue.
- Put egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the sugar and water to a boil.
- Cook over high heat and when the sugar syrup reaches a temperature of 105°C (200°F) degrees begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed. If you do not have a thermometer you can tell that the syrup has reached the correct temperature when big bubbles in the liquid become a bit smaller.
- Continue to cook the syrup until it reaches a temperature of 115-117°C (239-242°F) and remove it from heat. Increase the whipping speed to high and pour in the syrup in a thin stream while whipping. Whip for about 10 minutes until you get a stable glossy meringue.
- Transfer the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 2 cm round piping tip and decorate the tarts. Brown the meringue with a blowtorch and decorate with lemon thyme.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.