Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lemon Curd Meringue Tartlets

I have a real thing for meringues lately.  There is something so gorgeous about whipped up egg whites.  I remember as a child watching my mom whip up egg whites with fascination, they looked just like fluffy clouds.   When I saw this recipe I couldn't resist the mounds of toasted meringue piled on top of lemon curd and a nutty shortbread crust. 

I actually modified the original recipe, I have a serious bounty of meyer lemons right now, thanks to friends, farmers markets, and our own lovely little tree which is bearing fruit for the first time.  I also used a faster method to making the lemon curd, rather than using a double boiler which takes eons, just whisk constantly and somewhat vigorously over a med-low heat until the curd coats a wooden spoon, about 12-15 minutes.  Also be sure to pour your curd through a sieve before chilling, it gets rid of any errant egg white that may have scrambled and other undesirables in your curd.  :)

Texas Big Hairs Lemon-Lime Meringue Tarts
adapted from  Rebecca Rather, the Pastry Queen
1 ½ cups pecans or sliced almonds
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
    Lemon Curd:
    10 extra-large egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the meringue)
    1 ½ cups sugar
    1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    Zest of 2 lemons
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
      10 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
      3 cups sugar
        To make the crusts:
        Preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7-9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. (If using almond slices, toast for 5-7 minutes). Coarsely chop the pecans.
        With your fingers, butter eight 4 3/8 inch, 1-cup capacity tartlet pans.
        Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla, then gradually add the flour and salt and combine on low speed until incorporated. Add the nuts and mix on low speed just until they are incorporated. Form the dough into a ball – it will be sticky – and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
        Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, divide into 8 equal portions and press into the prepared pans, making sure it comes up to the top edge of the pans. If the dough sticks to your hands, dust them with flour as often as necessary.
        Bake the crust about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before filling with lemon-lime curd.
        To make the curd:
        Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lime juice and zest in a large heavy sauce pan.  Whisk constantly over med-low heat until the curd thickens, and will coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 12-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in the two tablespoons of butter until smooth.  Let cool slightly and then pour through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap directly on the curd (to prevent a skin from forming).  Refrigerate the curd for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days. For express cooling, freeze it for at least 1 hour.
        To make the meringue:
        Set a large, perfectly clean metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Pour in the egg whites and sugar. Heat the egg whites and sugar while whisking constantly until the sugar melts and there are no visible grains in the meringue. Take a little meringue mixture and rub it between your fingers to make sure all sugar grains have melted. Remove the meringue from over the simmering water and whip it with a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on low speed for 5 minutes; increase the speed to high and beat 5 minutes longer, until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
        Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the broiler. To assemble the tarts, spoon the chilled lemon-lime curd into the crusts, filling them about three-quarters of the way to the top. Pile the meringue on top of the curd. Style the meringue with your fingers by plucking at it to tease the meringue into jagged spikes.
        Set the tarts on the middle rack of the oven and broil until the meringue topping turns golden brown, about 1 minute. Watch the tarts closely, as they can turn from browned to burnt in a matter of seconds. (If you are using a kitchen torch {like I did!}, hold it 2 to 3 inches away from the meringue and move the flame slowly around the meringue until it is browned all over.)

        The recipe says the tarts should be served the day they are made, but we found they were much tastier the next day, the crust had softened a bit from the curd and the flavors seemed to mingle better.  Just keep the tartlets in the fridge and they should be good for several days.  


        1. I love tartlets! These are so cute.

        2. These tarts are very beautifully made! I'm sold :D

        3. Beautiful! I love how high the meringue is.

        4. SOOOOO beautiful!!!!!
          Have a nice weekend!

        5. Oh my God!I'm drooling....such a clever click!


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