A seasonal treat: Meyer Lemon Tart
Citrus season is a bright spot during the winter months in the northeast. Inspired by the bright yellow Meyer lemons at the market I thought an extra special lemon curd tart with torched meringue would be just the thing for January blues. It's a bit of a project with some idle time waiting on the curd to set up, but would be a show-stopping dessert for Valentine's Day this year - if you celebrate that is.
Meyer Lemon Curd
The Meyer lemon curd filling is bright, tangy, and rich. It's very easy to get caught up eating it by the spoonful. Save this recipe to make lemon curd as a filling in other baked goods like doughnuts, cakes, or sandwich cookies.
Easy Flaky Tart Crust
The tart crust is so easy to prepare with the help of a food processor. The dough can also be made by hand in a mixing bowl by cutting in the butter with your fingertips. I added Meyer lemon zest and poppy seeds to the crust for a fun twist but they can be left out if you prefer.
Baking the lemon curd in the blind-baked crust ensures that the filling will set up and be firm once it cools and chills. This helps with getting nice clean cuts through the filling.
Making Swiss meringue is totally optional here but really adds an elegant and elevated touch to this already stunning tart. I mean, just look at the color of that Meyer lemon curd!
Swiss meringue is heated to a safe temperature over simmering water so that it is completely safe to eat without baking it as you would do with French meringue. It can be piped on or spread in rustic swoops with an offset spatula. To create the piped swirls I used a number 32 star tip from this piping tip set.
Using a Blow Torch to Toast Meringue
Now comes the really fun part... torching the meringue with a blow torch. I picked up this propane blow torch from my local hardware store. Read the user guide and follow all safety measures when using a blow torch. You can also toast the meringue under a broiler, but make sure to watch it closely so it doesn't get too charred.
As you can see Swiss meringue is a little soft and the first slice won't have super clean cuts. Subsequent slices were cleaner. Wipe the knife off after each cut. Chilling the tart after piping the meringue will also help to firm up the meringue a bit more.
This sunny yellow Meyer lemon meringue tart is the perfect winter dessert to lift your mood. You simply can't eat this without a smile!
Meyer Lemon Tart with Torched Swiss Meringue
- 150 g 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 36 g 3 tablespoons granulated/caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 113 g ½cup/1 stick cold butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Meyer Lemon Curd
- 6 large egg yolks
- 300 g sugar 1 ½ cups
- grated zest of 4-5 Meyer lemons
- 150 ml ¾ cup Meyer lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 85 g butter cut into pieces
- 6 large egg whites 200 ml/200g
- 300 g granulated/caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pulse together flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor.
- Cut butter into ½" cubes and pulse it into the flour mixture until the mixture reaches a coarse sandy texture.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and poppy seeds and pulse just until the dough comes together.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into three sections and smoosh each section down and away from you with the palm of your hand.
- Gather the dough back together with a bench scraper and form it into a disc. At this point, the dough can be wrapped and chilled, or frozen to use later.
- Grease a 9" fluted tart pan with butter then press the dough into the pan and up the sides into one even layer.
- Chill for 45 minutes or freeze for about 15 minutes until firm. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
- Prick the dough all over with a fork then place a piece of parchment over the dough and fill it up fully with pie weights or beans.
- Blind bake the crust for 20 minutes with the pie weights. Then remove the pie weights and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the edges start to brown and the bottom center is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and continue on with filling it as instructed below or let it cool then wrap it to use later on.
Meyer Lemon Curd
- Add egg yolks and sugar to a saucepan and whisk together until the mixture is pale and creamy.
- Whisk in lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt then cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to a point that it coats the back of a spoon and stays separated when you run your finger through it on the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the butter until it is melted.
- Spread the lemon curd into the prebaked tart shell and bake in a preheated 375˚F (190˚C) oven until the lemon curd sets, about 5-10 minutes. The edges of the tart filling should puff up a bit. Or transfer the curd to a clean jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Remove the tart from the oven and cool completely before adding the meringue topping as instructed below.
- The tart can also be served as is without meringue. Cool completely and chill for 2 hours or overnight to allow the filling to set before serving.
- Wipe down a rubber spatula and the bowl and balloon whisk of a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl and hand mixer beaters) with vinegar or lemon juice to make sure they are clean of any oils.
- Add egg whites, sugar, and salt to the bowl and whisk them together over a pan of simmering water making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Continue whisking until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot or reaches 160˚F (71˚C).
- Then remove from the heat and whip the mixture on high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks, about 10 minutes. You should be able to turn the bowl upside without any of the meringue falling out.
- Pipe or spread the meringue on top of the tart. I used a number 32 star piping tip and piped swirled blobs into a dome. Or use an offset spatula to spread the meringue into rustic swoops and swirls.
- Char the meringue with a blow torch following the instructions and safety precautions of the torch's manual. Or char the meringue under a broiler, watching it closely to avoid over burning.
- At this point, you can serve the tart or chill it further to let the meringue set up more. This tart is best eaten the day its assembled with the meringue but any leftovers will keep refrigerated for another day.
- Use this lemon curd as a filling in other baked goods like cakes, doughnuts, or sandwich cookies, or spread it on toast or scones as a swap for jam.
- The curd recipe can be made with regular lemons as well or other citruses such as blood oranges or grapefruits.
- For a dairy-free version swap butter with plant-based butter.
- The lemon curd can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week or it can be preserved by canning it in a hot water bath. The preserved lemon curd will keep for up to 12 months. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months and thawed before use.
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