Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lemon Meringue Tart

This tart is so delicious, smooth and bursting with lemon flavor.  I got this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten.  Surprise, surprise it's a French recipe.  Someday I'll get to France with my French for Dummies in tow!

This tart consists of a flaky, buttery crust filled with a fresh, creamy lemon filling and topped with perfectly whipped meringue.  I'll be honest this recipe does take a little time but with worth it!  I was so excited how well this tart turned out!

Lemon Meringue Tart

For the crust & meringue you'll need:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cold Crisco
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Combine flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in bowl and place in freezer for 30 minutes. 

Put flour mixture in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add butter and Crisco and pulse about 10 times until butter is in small bits.

 Add ice water and process until dough comes together.

Dump on well-floured board and form into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

The first time I made this I did not have a food processor so I used a pastry cutter to cut in the butter and mix the dough.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out dough to fit into a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides.  Don't stretch dough to fit because it will shrink during baking.  Cut off excess by rolling the pin across top of pan.  Line tart shell with piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill with dried beans or rice.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove beans and foil and prick bottom of shell over with a fork to allow steam to escape.  Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

Above while your dough is sitting in the freezer for 30 minutes you can make your lemon filling.  For the lemon filling you will need:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks(save the whites for the meringue)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest (6 to 8 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 1 minute.  On low speed, add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, and then add the lemon zest, lemon juice and salt.  Don't worry it will look curdled.

Pour mixture into small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Whisk briefly when it starts to thicken and cook over low heat for a minute or two, whisking constantly.  Don't allow to boil!  It will be 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Now you can let your filling cool while you roll out and bake the crust above.  While crust is baking you can make your meringue.  For the meringue, whip the 4 egg whites, 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp of salt in bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed until frothy.  With the mixer still running slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until meringue is think and shiny, about 2 minutes.

Now you can spread your cooled lemon filling into the cooled tart shell and pipe the meringue over it with a large start tip.  Be sure the meringue covers the entire top and touches the edge of the shell, to prevent it from shrinking.  Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.

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