Bright, citrusy desserts are the perfect way to end a summer meal. Since there is always one of the many varieties of lemon in season year round, a dessert focused on lemons is a great way to indulge in a summer citrus craving while keeping with seasonal produce. The lemon meringue tart is one of my favorites, as it offers a quick and relatively simple way to feature lemons in a show-stopping summer dessert.
For those of you familiar with the popular lemon meringue pie, you may be wondering how a tart is any different other than the pan it is baked in. Truth is they are very similar in appearance but the difference lies heavily in the crust and filling. A pie uses a lemon custard for the filling, which contains flour or cornstarch to thicken and little to no butter for flavor. On the other hand, a tart uses lemon curd for the filling, which contains no flour/cornstarch and has butter added for a creamy, smooth texture. Lemon curds also tends to have more lemon juice or zest added, creating a more intense lemon flavor. There is also a noticeable difference in the crusts. A pie uses the traditional flaky pie crust as a base while the tart will use a ground almond/cookie crumb crust.
Both the crust and filling of this tart are very easy to prepare. The only part that may trip up beginner bakers is the meringue. That is why I chose to use a swiss meringue as it is more stable and doesn’t need to be baked like other meringues. I also chose to use store-bought lemon curd for convenience but you could easily prepare your own. This tart is baked in a 9 inch tart pan and will make approximately 8 servings.
Lemon Meringue Tart
- ½ cup Blanched Almonds
- 3 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
- 36 Vanilla Wafers
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; melted
- 1 (10 oz.) Jar Lemon Curd
- 3 Large Egg Whites
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup Water
- ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds, brown sugar, and wafers. Process mixture until finely ground. With the motor running, drizzle the butter through the food chute and process until blended. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes or until well toasted. Set aside to cool.
- Once crust has cooled, spoon lemon curd evenly into crust. Place egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with a stand or hand mixer on high-speed until soft peaks form.
- Preheat broiler. In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Cook mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 250°. With mixer running, slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the egg white mixture over the tart. Broil for 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Serve
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS