AKA- Lemon meringue tart. I like my fancy title 🙂 !
After flipping through my cookbooks and getting ideas, I decided on this tart. I lined a 10 inch pan with a sugar dough, filled it with an easy lemon curd and topped it off with a Swiss meringue. It was hands down the best tart I have made yet. I was bad and did catch myself having two slices! It was hard to resist.
First component of this dessert is the crust. If you are hardcore, you would call Pate Sucree. Basically, a sugar dough. Really easy to make and it works nicely with less-sweet fillings. Here’s how I made it:
2 1/2 Cups: All-purpose flour
1/4 Cup + 2 1/2 Tablespoons: Powdered sugar #1
3/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon: Powdered sugar #2
1/4 Cup + 3 Tablespoons: Almond flour
2 sticks (1 Cup): Unsalted butter, soft
1 teaspoon: Vanilla extract
1 Large: Egg
1) Place the flour in a bowl. Sift powdered sugar #1 and almond flour into the bowl with the all-purpose flour. Use your hand to break up the clumps of almond flour. Set aside.
2) In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until the butter looks spreadable. Sift in powdered sugar #2 and mix for 1 minute more.
3) Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix to combine, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing for 15 to 30 seconds after each. When a dough forms, drop it out onto a clean surface. With your hands, knead the dough until it forms a smooth surface. Divide it into 2 pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 45 minutes. *I only needed one half of dough. The other half can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.*
While the dough was resting, I prepared the lemon curd. This is an excellent filling that is super easy to make. It is not too sweet, tangy, silky and will definitely make you pucker up!!
4 1/2 Tablespoons: Sugar
4 1/2 Tablespoons: Lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 Large: Eggs
Zest from 1 Lemon
14 Tablespoons: Unsalted butter, room temperature
1) Combine sugar, lemon juice and zest, and eggs in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
2) Place over a small pot filled a quarter of the way with boiling water. This is also know as a double boiler. *Do not have the water touching the bottom of the bowl. You will actually end up cooking the egg mixture, which you do not want!* Keep whisking the egg mixture until it reaches 175 degrees F. First it will bubble up, then right before your eyes it will thicken into a smooth curd. Just be sure to take it to the right temperature to kill off any raw egg and to get it to the right consistency.
3) Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in butter in increments. Once all the butter is added, strain the mixture over a clean bowl. Let it cool completely at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Now time to roll out the dough a blind bake it! Blind baking is basically pre-baking the dough minus the filling. This process is done when the filling to be used does not have to be baked. The dough is rolled out, placed in the pan, lined with parchment paper and weighed down with uncooked rice or beans.
1) Take one half of dough from the refrigerator and place it on a clean surface dusted lightly with flour. Roll out the dough starting from the center going outward, giving it a turn in between each roll. *If the dough starts to crack, warm it up with your hands or give it a few kneads.* The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.
3) Using one hand lift up part of the dough and with your other hand, press it gently into the sides of the pan. To get the excess dough off, use your rolling pin and run it over the top of the pan. Save the remaining dough for another use! Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Once the dough has chilled, line it with a piece of parchment paper letting it extend over the sides. Fill the bottom with uncooked rice or beans and bake for 40 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown.
5) When it is done baking, remove the parchment and rice/beans. *The rice/beans cannot used for cooking after blind baking. Save them in a plastic bag and use for blind baking another time.* Let the tart shell completely cool.
Now time to assemble and do the merengue (I mean meringue!). This is a simple Swiss meringue. It is the second strongest meringue-Italian being the first (GO ITALY!!).
Marshmallow Swiss Meringue:
3 Egg whites
1/2 Cup: Sugar
1) Set up the mixer. Have a clean, dry bowl ready with the whisk attachment. *Remember, water & egg whites aren’t friends. Any sign of water in your egg whites will prevent them from forming peaks. Be sure the bowl and attachment is clean and dry!* Now, bring out that double boiler again-the water should be at a simmer.
2) In a small bowl combine the egg whites and sugar. Place over the double boiler and whisk constantly. The mixture should be brought to at least 160 degrees F. *If you do not have a thermometer to do this, another way to check if it is ready is to place one finger into the mixture. It should feel very hot to the touch. This is the way we checked in school 🙂 .*
1) Place the meringue on top of the lemon curd. Spread out using a small offset spatula. This doesn’t have to be perfect, you do not want to deflate the meringue! To get the peaks, just use a spoon or spatula and tap on the meringue.
This tart was talked about all night! Enjoy!