This recipe for lemon meringue tarts is best made with fresh homemade lemon curd. Lemon curd is quite possibly one of my favorite dessert staples. Great served on toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins and used in pies (the famous lemon meringue), cheesecakes or cream puffs, among many others. Curds are different than your typical custards and pie fillings because they contain more zest from the fruit and less added sugar. They also tend to contain butter, which them smoother and creamier than regular pie fillings.
How I Like to Make These Tarts
When I’m making these tarts, I like to whip up a few extra egg whites and make meringue cookies with the leftovers (or fix a burnt meringue mistake…). Save the unused egg yolks in the fridge to be used in something else, or use them to make fresh lemon curd.
Ever wonder why cream of tartar is used in making meringue? The cream of tartar acts as a strengthening agent for the bubbles, preventing the egg whites from falling too quickly also increasing the volume of the whites as they are beaten.
I am a cheater when it comes to pie crust. Because I have limited time to cook, I buy the crust at the store (in the refrigerator section) as opposed to making it from scratch. It stores well and is very easy to use. For this recipe, I made my own tart shells from ready made pie crust, but the store bought tart shells also work great. If you want to make your own pie crust, check out this recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker.
the cupcake tins will help to keep the shape of the tart shells.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lay one sheet of pie crust flat and cut out 2 pieces using something circular (I use a ramekin).
Spray the cupcake tins with nonstick spray. Sprinkle the tins with granulated sugar (who doesn’t like a little extra sugar). Place the pie crust circles in the cupcakes tins making a little cup. Place the cupcakes tins in a muffin pan to help keep their shape, and fill with pie crust weights, beans, smooth rocks, or anything handy, to ensure your crust does not bubble up and keeps it shape. A great tip I found on SeriousEats is to use granulated sugar as your pie crust weight (be advised I have yet to try this method). Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the weights and the cupcake tins, place back in the oven, and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Heat the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar over boil of boiling water, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Dissolving the sugar first will eliminate any graininess from the sugar in the whipped egg whites. Remove from heat once dissolved.
Beat the egg white mixture until medium peaks form. Set aside.
Fill the pastry shells to the top with the lemon curd, being careful not to overfill.
Cover the pastry shells with the meringue, making sure the meringue meets the edges. You can see I obviously used a spoon – for something a little prettier, I recommend the pastry bag.
Place the tarts in the broiler until the meringue starts to brown. Be very careful not to burn your meringue! I’ve done this so many times, and let me tell you, it sure is disappointing! Another reason to make a little extra meringue…
A great dessert to make ahead of time and perfect served at parties. Adjust the recipe to make as many or as few tarts as you would like. It can also be adjusted to make a lemon meringue pie.