Servings: depends on how much you eat, I got 8 slices out of it.
Total cooking time: 45 minutes.
Good day, dearest reader! Are you having an awesome Sunday? (Just try to forget that tomorrow is the M. day and you’ll be fine.) I’m having a good family day that I’ve aptly named “Intermission”, because today I don’t bring you another Ladurée marvel, but my experience making a recipe of my own.
Despite my best efforts, my fam wasn’t in the mood for a picnic (the weather outside is so good, reader), so we ate raclette (a very spring dish, I know). Keeping with the French theme, I decided to do my own version of something I ate way too many times during my Paris trip, Tarte au citron meringuée.
I’m calling this a lazy Lemon Meringue Tart, because I’m lazy and it’s Sunday.
- 5 Lemons
- 5 eggs + 2 egg whites
- 500 grams+200 grams of sugar
- 100 grams of butter
- Store bought shortcrust pastry
- Lemon Curd
Normally, I’d make a simple shortcrust, but today I had some store bought and little patience, so I buttered my oven dish and carefully laid the dough over it. Since I didn’t have beans to weigh the dough, pasta was used instead (works just as well, but be careful with the sharp corners!).
15 minutes at 350°F/180°C, and the crust was done.
2. Lemon Curd
Lemon curd is something I make semi-regularly since we have lemon trees and more lemons than we know what to do with. It’s a simple spread that can be used for pie or cake filling, a tart sweetness that’s very versatile.
Continuing with the lazy theme, I zested and juiced 5 lemons, and put them in a pan with 500 grams of sugar. Low heat for a few minutes until the sugar was dissolved and in went the butter. Finally, I tempered the eggs before adding them to the mixture and letting it thicken.
VERY IMPORTANT TIP: never add the eggs directly into the hot lemon mix, because you’ll get scrambled eggs. Instead, temper the eggs, slowly adding hot liquid to the eggs while whisking them. When the eggs are warm, safely incorporate them into the remaining lemon mix.
The lemon curd is ready when it’s thickened enough that you can draw on it.
The meringue is where decisions must happen.
The absolute laziest way to do the meringue is to directly beat the egg whites until they foam, and then add the sugar and beat more until they reach stiff peaks.
Yet, salmonella exists and I’m a scaredy cat, so I normally go the Swiss meringue route.
To make Swiss meringue, you mix the sugar and egg whites and heat everything up in bain-marie, until it reaches 165°F or 75°C. Then you let it cool down until the mix is lukewarm, when you process to beat the life out of it (personally, I do it with an electric mixer) until stiff peaks are reached.
I’ve done it both ways and the results were identical, so it’s all a matter of how lazy you feel or how much you trust the eggs you’re using.
Tip: for maximum laziness and safety, you can use pasteurized egg whites, which don’t have bacteria so don’t require the extra step. If the big packages scare you, know that you can always freeze the egg whites in portions and they’ll poof up just as well after thawing.
4. Assembling and Baking
Add the lemon curd to the baked pie crust, drop the meringue on top in which way you prefer (I did it by hand). Bake at in the oven at 350°F/180°C for a couple of minutes until the meringue is toasted and delicious.
I’ve done versions of this pie ten times over, but I’m always surprised by how the textures and contrasting flavors go together. It’s a tart that goes well with every season, but especially Spring and Summer when light and fruity is everything
The final picnic recipe, which I likely will be eating by myself. C’est la vie!