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Lemon Tart (with or without Meringue)

A lemon tart is a wonderful thing, and not as finicky as it seems. I made these with the kids’ cooking club earlier this year, and they turned out beautifully! Shallow tart pans with removable bottoms are traditional, but not necessary – the pâte brisée, a sweet, shortbread-like crust – is pressed in instead of rolling, so you can use any similar-sized baking pan or dish. If you have smaller ones, you can divide the pastry and filling between them and make smaller tarts.


If it’s bigger, you can double the curd (or make 1.5 times as much) in order to fill your crust. If you do, you can increase the quantity of meringue accordingly, just keeping the ratio of egg whites to sugar! (So if you make 1.5 times the curd recipe, you’ll have 9 egg whites and can use 1 1/2 cups of sugar! Everything else remains the same!) For a vegan meringue (you could use any berry preserve in place of the curd, or a ganache made with dark chocolate and coconut milk) my friend Saïd has an amazing recipe here!

Of course a lemon tart can be left perfectly bare, and is just as delicious.

AuthorJulie

Yields12 Servings

Pâte Brisée:
 3/4 cup butter or brick-style plant butter, softened
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/2 tsp vanilla
 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
 pinch salt
Lemon Curd:
 6 egg yolks
 1 cup sugar
 zest and juice of 2 lemons (plus extra lemon juice, if needed)
 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
Swiss Meringue:
 6 egg whites
 1 cup sugar

1

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until well blended and lump-free. Add the flour and salt and beat on low-ish speed until the dough comes together. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 or 10-inch tart pan or similar-sized baking dish and refrigerate until firm.

2

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Poke your tart shell a few times with a fork, line with a piece of foil or parchment and weigh down with some pie weights, dry beans, sugar or oats (you can then use the lightly caramelized sugar or toasted oats!). Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10, or until golden.

3

As it bakes, make the lemon curd: combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice (you should wind up with about 1/2 cup, depending on the juiciness of your lemons — if you don’t, top it up with a bit more from a bottle or another lemon) and butter in a medium saucepan and cook, whisking, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat.

4

When your pie shell is golden, pour in the lemon curd and return it to the oven for 12 minutes. When it comes out it should be kind of wobbly. Set on a wire rack (if you have one) to cool. If you like, you can stop here and refrigerate your pie until it’s chilled, then top with fresh berries or serve plain, with or without whipped cream or coconut cream. Otherwise you can top it with Swiss meringue!

5

If you have time, refrigerate your pie until it’s chilled and set before you add your meringue, but it’s OK if it’s just cooled down and still a bit warm. (The colder the lemon filling, the more cleanly it will cut, but it’s still delicious while still a bit warm and soft!)

6

To make your meringue, put an inch or two of water in a bot and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in a glass or stainless steel bowl and set it over the simmering water. Let it warm up, whisking often (or even constantly) until the sugar dissolves — you can check by rubbing a bit between your finger and thumb to see if it’s still gritty — and the mixture is very warm, almost hot.

7

Remove the bowl from the pot (be careful of the steam!) and beat with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Drop in big spoonfuls over the pie and swirl with a spatula or spoon, or spoon the meringue into a piping bag and pipe rosettes or swirls or blobs with peaks or whatever you like! Torch with a blowtorch or run under the broiler (set on high) for a minute or two, just until deep golden.

Category,

Ingredients

Pâte Brisée:
 3/4 cup butter or brick-style plant butter, softened
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/2 tsp vanilla
 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
 pinch salt
Lemon Curd:
 6 egg yolks
 1 cup sugar
 zest and juice of 2 lemons (plus extra lemon juice, if needed)
 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
Swiss Meringue:
 6 egg whites
 1 cup sugar

Directions

1

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until well blended and lump-free. Add the flour and salt and beat on low-ish speed until the dough comes together. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 or 10-inch tart pan or similar-sized baking dish and refrigerate until firm.

2

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Poke your tart shell a few times with a fork, line with a piece of foil or parchment and weigh down with some pie weights, dry beans, sugar or oats (you can then use the lightly caramelized sugar or toasted oats!). Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10, or until golden.

3

As it bakes, make the lemon curd: combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice (you should wind up with about 1/2 cup, depending on the juiciness of your lemons — if you don’t, top it up with a bit more from a bottle or another lemon) and butter in a medium saucepan and cook, whisking, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat.

4

When your pie shell is golden, pour in the lemon curd and return it to the oven for 12 minutes. When it comes out it should be kind of wobbly. Set on a wire rack (if you have one) to cool. If you like, you can stop here and refrigerate your pie until it’s chilled, then top with fresh berries or serve plain, with or without whipped cream or coconut cream. Otherwise you can top it with Swiss meringue!

5

If you have time, refrigerate your pie until it’s chilled and set before you add your meringue, but it’s OK if it’s just cooled down and still a bit warm. (The colder the lemon filling, the more cleanly it will cut, but it’s still delicious while still a bit warm and soft!)

6

To make your meringue, put an inch or two of water in a bot and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in a glass or stainless steel bowl and set it over the simmering water. Let it warm up, whisking often (or even constantly) until the sugar dissolves — you can check by rubbing a bit between your finger and thumb to see if it’s still gritty — and the mixture is very warm, almost hot.

7

Remove the bowl from the pot (be careful of the steam!) and beat with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Drop in big spoonfuls over the pie and swirl with a spatula or spoon, or spoon the meringue into a piping bag and pipe rosettes or swirls or blobs with peaks or whatever you like! Torch with a blowtorch or run under the broiler (set on high) for a minute or two, just until deep golden.

Lemon Tart (with or without Meringue)
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About Julie

19 comments on “Lemon Tart (with or without Meringue)

  1. Em
    November 23, 2022 at 7:32 am

    Volume measurements of flour worry me. Please share how much 1 cup of flour weighs in your very practiced hands.
    Thank you very much.

  2. Ellesse
    December 2, 2022 at 10:30 am

    One cup of flour is approximately 120 grams, so 1.75 cups = 210 grams. Like Julie noted, this recipe is not finicky. People have been baking tarts for hundreds of years without precise measurements because a pressed shortbread crust is very forgiving.

  3. Em
    December 2, 2022 at 10:50 am

    Agree. Won t matter much for this crust, but could matter for recipes in the new cake book!
    Many sources vary.
    https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2021-02-05/what-does-a-cup-of-flour-weigh-its-surprisingly-complicated

  4. Jeanette
    December 15, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    The same volume of flour will weigh differently, depending on the climate. Calgary is very dry so 1 cup of flour will weigh less as it will have less moisture in it. That same cup of flour in Florida will weigh more.

  5. pushperaj65
    February 10, 2023 at 7:29 am

    A lemon tart is a wonderful thing, and not as finicky as it seems. I made these with the kids’ cooking club earlier this year, and they turned out beautifully

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