Friday, June 20, 2008

Lemon (-Lime) Meringue Tart

My mom is one of those “more is better” types. This was totally evident the one and only time I remember her making lemon meringue pie. It was soooo lemony and tart. Mom laughs when she tells the story of walking into my bedroom just in time to see me scooping my piece of pie into the trash (and I’m not normally one to toss out sweets).

Fortunately, my grandma made excellent lemon meringue pie.

My first attempt at lemon meringue pie turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. There are a few things I might tweak, but I’ve got a good starting point.

I combined, fiddled with, and scaled down two different recipes to make enough for two 5” mini-tarts. My sources of inspiration were the Texas Big Hairs Lemon-Lime Meringue Tarts from the “The Pastry Queen” by Rebecca Rather (that’s her lemon-lime meringue tart on the front cover there) and The Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie from “The Perfect Recipe” by Pam Anderson.

I used my one remaining tart shell from the “La Palette Strawberry Tart” post. Dorie's sweet tart dough is definitely going to be my go-to pie and tart dough in the future. It’s made me realize I really don’t like standard pie crust. Dorie’s cookie-like crust is much more appealing to me.

The verdict? Mmm, mmm, good! I really like the addition of lime, I think it adds a depth of flavor without being too tart.

Here is the recipe, which is perfect for two 5-inch mini-tarts. If you're looking for a bigger lemon flavor (like my mom) you might want to use lemon in place of the lime. At some later date, I plan to make a full size tart and I’ll publish the revised measurements then. (I realize most of you don't have two mini-tart shells just hanging around... sorry about that. I'd like to test it out at full size before posting the scaled up version.)

2 egg yolks
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
½ C. water
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
1 to 2 tsp. lemon zest (to taste)
1 tsp. butter

(makes slightly more than you need for two tart shells)
2 egg whites
½ C. sugar
1/8 tsp. cream of tarter
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. plus 1 ½ tsp. water
¼ tsp. vanilla

Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Add egg yolks, then immediately but gradually whisk in water. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking the whole time. Whisk until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in zest, then lemon juice and finally butter. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, placing plastic wrap directly on surface of filling.

Mix egg whites, sugar, and cream of tarter in a double boiler placed over a pan with water simmering in bottom. Be sure water doesn't touch bottom of double boiler. Stir continuously until sugar dissolves in egg whites. You can rub a little of the mixture between to fingers to ensure there are no more sugar crystals. Place mixture in bowl of stand mixer and whisk at low speed for about 5 minutes, then at high speed until meringue holds it's shape, about 5 minutes.

Place warm filling in tart shell, then top with meringue. Use the back of a spoon or your fingers to form decorative peaks. Place tart under broiler until peaks are browned. Alternatively, use a hand held kitchen torch to brown the meringue.

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