Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lemon (-Lime) Meringue Tart 2

I can't believe I joined yet another baking group, but I did. It's called "You Want Pies with That?" and, surpise, surprise, the focus is on pies and tarts.

I couldn't help it!

I'd really love to master pies and tarts and figured this would be a good chance. Plus, come on... who doesn't love pie? Anyone? (crickets chirping)


This group has a neat twist... there's a monthly theme. The inaugural month's theme was "I Love that Movie", meaning our pies were to tie in with a movie. How fun is that?

My pie is based on a scene from the movie "The Breakup", starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, who also broke up in real life (bonus points!). Remember the scene? It's the one where Jennifer's character is starting to freak because Vince's character only picked up 3 lemons when she asked for 12, to make a 12 lemon centerpiece. It's another one of those classic "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars" moments. She asked for 12 lemons, all he heard was "lemons".

I kind of cheated because I made this tart before. However, the first time around was scaled back to make two mini tarts and this time I wanted to test it out with a full sized tart. I had good success with the mini tarts, but was unsure how a larger version would fare.

But, shock of shocks, it turned out really nice. The filling was just set, and not runny. Almost like, if I'd have used any less cornstarch, it might have been runny. But I was happy with it. I don't like rubbery lemon filling. Or lemon-lime as in this case.

The second day, the meringue had started to bead a little. But it still tasted darned good.

Feel free to vary the relative amounts of lemon and lime juice. If you want more of a lemony flavor, then use more lemon. Likewise with the lime. If you try it, please let me know how it turned out. I'd love to hear.


8 egg yolks
1-1/3 C. sugar
8 tsp. cornstarch
1-1/3 C. water
1/2 C. fresh lemon juice
1/4 C. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon/lime zest (to taste)
1-1/2 tbsp. butter

(from "the perfect recipe", by Pam Anderson)
4 large egg whites
½ C. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 C. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Makes enough for one 10-inch tart plus two ramekins, or (probably) one 11-inch tart.

Tart Shell
I used Dorie Greenspan's "Sweet Tart Crust", which you can find by clicking the link which takes you to Dorie's post on the blog "Serious Eats. Make the crust as directed and prebake it. Let it cool to room temperature before filling.

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 occasionally at the beginning and then more frequently as mixture begins to thicken, 8-10 minutes. 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 cornstarch and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix cream of tartar and sugar together. Beat egg whites with vanilla until frothy. Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time until sugar is incorporated and whites form soft peaks. Drop in warm cornstarch mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks.

Pour warm filling into tart shell, then top with meringue. Use the back of a spoon or your fingers to form decorative peaks, or pipe the meringue on using a piping bag and tip as I have. Place tart on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until peaks are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, place tart under broiler or use a hand held kitchen torch to brown the meringue.

Recipe notes: Filling seems quite runny when added to the tart shell while warm. You must let the tart sit for a number of hours until completely cooled to room temperature for filling to be set.

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