This is the Lemon Meringue Tartlet. I was going for a more rustic look in the beginning but it wasn't working out so I smoothed all the meringues down before toasting them and then with the left over lemon rinds from the lemon curd I made candied lemon zest to sprinkle over each tartlet. For candied lemon zest see my candied orange peel entry. It didn't take nearly as long to candy lemon zest as it does to candy peels though.
And this is the birthday cake I made that made the lemon curd possible. It looks like a cute little mini wedding cake. It's 4", 6", and 8" white cakes filled with strawberry preserves (I used Polander's strawberry spread) and frosted with good ole' buttercream. I use 1 pound of unsalted butter, 1/4 cup veg shortening and beat those until smooth then add four cups of powdered sugar and beat that until smooth then keep adding 1 cup of powdered sugar until it reaches the right stiffness, usually a total of 8 cups of powdered sugar. Then I use about 1 T of clear vanilla extract and whatever colored dye I may need if I need it.
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup minus 1 T sugar
3/4 cup strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 T cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces
- Fill large bowlhalfway with ice water and set aside. Fill bottom of double boiler with 2" of water and bring to a boil
- Place eggs, egg yolks, and sugar into top portion of double boiler off the heat and whisk til blended. Add the lemon juice and mix. Place egg mixture over double boiler and whisk constantly but not vigorously scraping the sides to make sure the mixture doesn't scramble. Do this for about 7 minutes. A finished curd should register 180* and hold its shape when picked up and dropped back in. (When I did this it didn't necessarily retain its shape but you could see where it had dropped when I picked it up and dropped it back in, like a ghosting of lemon curd. Does that make sense? Let me know if it doesn't.)
- Remove from heat from heat and strain through a mine mesh strainer set over another bowl. Add the cold butter peices and let them set for a little bit to let them melt then whisk them in until smooth and there is no more chunks of butter. Press plastic wrap over surface of curd and set bowl in the bowl of ice water. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Can also be made with lime juice or passionfruit juice.
Vanilla Shortcrust Dough
1 3/4 cups unbleached AP Flour
1/4 t salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 large egg yolks
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 to 3 teaspoons water
- This can be done by and or in a food processor. I didn't feel like pulling out my food processor so I did it by hand and therefore that is the way I'll tell you how to do it. First mix togther the egg yolks, vanilla and 1 t water together and set aside. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together and add the cold butter pieces. Toss the butter in to coat in flour then either with your hands or a cutter work the butter in until it resembles bread crumbs or crushed crackers. If the butter starts to soften stick it back in the frige for a little bit. Add the wet mix into the dry mix and mix with a fork until evenly distributed. It should look crumbly but hold together when pressed together. If too dry add water 1 teaspoon at a time until it looks like that.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead two or three times to bring it all together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refirgerate for about 30 minutes.
- When ready to make shells roll dough out to 1/4" thickness and cut circles out that will be big enough to fit into a muffin tin, I think I cut mine out to about 5" circles. Spray muffin tins with oil and fit dough circles into each muffin cup. (I didn't have pie weights or beans so I poked the bottom of each tart with a fork to try to prevent risig and it worked pretty well. You may have to do it again halfway through the baking process). Freeze the shells for about ten minutes or until just chilled then bake them in a 375* oven for about 15 minutes or untill golden brown. When completely baked let cool on a cooling rack then turn out and let them completely cool before filling.
4 large egg whites
10 T sugar
- Bring the double boiler back out. Fill bottom of double boiler with two inches of water and bring to a boil. In the top of the double boiler whisk together the egg whites and sugar until blended. Place over double boiler and continually whisk while over heat. Keep an eye on the temperature of the egg whites. It needs to reach 160* and can happen pretty quickly. When checking the temperature take the egg whites off the heat. Just keep whisking while on the heat or you end up with scrambled eggs.
- When it reaches 160* place in bowl of stand mixer and whip until cooled, increased in volume and look like marshmallow.
- Spoon curd into tart shells. There should be left over curd. Spoon meringue over each tart. Art & Soul says to spoon meringue into pastry bag and pipe it onto tarts but I just spooned it on and smoothed it out. Toast under broiler making sure to keep rotating as to not burn the meringue.