July 21, 2008

Lemon Meringue Tart

Last Monday we celebrated Bastille Day (kind of the French 4th of July). I invited my cousin over who lived in Paris for a couple years and we had a nice time eating French food, drinking Orangina, and wrestling our children (her daughter is the adorable little girl with the blueberry tongue).

Our menu included:
Goat Cheese Salad from Barefoot in Paris
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Herbed New Potatoes from Barefoot in Paris
Lemon Meringue Tart
Plum Nectarine Blackberry Galette from Baking from My Home to Yours

We had a great time and loved all the delicious French food. I love Barefoot in Paris and crack up every time I read the dedication- "For Jeffrey, who makes Paris so delicious". She's so cute.

I used the Lemon meringue tart filling from Ina's book but used Dorie's Sweet Tart Crust since it's so easy and delicious (plus, with that menu and a full day I didn't to risk trying something new!). I loved the taste of this tart but I was a little disappointed with the look of the meringue. It was so beautiful in Ina's book! I think part of the problem is the enormity of my tart pan- 11 instead of 9 inches! It takes one and a half crust recipes to fill and it made the loops of piped meringue look a little stretchy instead of perfect. Oh well, it was delicious!

Sweet Tart Dough
from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 T) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal fakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses- about 10 seconds each- until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change- heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate and dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

To press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy handed- press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferable longer, before baking.

To partially or fully bake the crust: center a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, against the crust. (since you froze it, you can bake it without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, carefully press it down with the back of a spoon. For partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack. To fully bake the crust, bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

Lemon Filling
from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at 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 kosher salt

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 1 minute. On low speed, add the 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 the mixture into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Whisk briskly when it starts to thicken and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Don't allow it to boil! It will be 175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Meringue topping
4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

For the meringue, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until frothy. With the mixer still running, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until the meringue is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes.

To Assemble the Tart:
Immediately spread the lemon filling in the cooled tart shell and pipe the meringue over it with a large star tip. Be sure the meringue covers the entire top and touches the edges of the shell, to prevent it from shrinking. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.


  1. Um...wow! That tart looks so, so amazing. Great job. I have an award for you! Check out my blog when you can.

  2. Hi Anne! I love that you celebrated Bastille Day! I love Orangina! And I love Ina and the cute things she says about Jeffrey!! haha...really though, great menu, I've been wanting to try that chicken, I might have to add her Paris book to my collection.

  3. Hi Anne,
    I have been browsing around your blog and love it here. You are very talented! Keep up the great recipes!!

  4. Looks amazing! Thanks for the comment cooking the cobbler in a dutch oven, it was helpful. Wish I could've been at your celebration, the food looks and sounds amazing!

  5. Can't tell you what a wonderful goodbye to sugar this Bastille Day party was! It was all so very French and yummy! Thank you!!! And Spencer gobbled up every last crumb of the dessert plate you sent home. EVERY LAST CRUMB! He was in heaven the whole time, too!

  6. Anne: you're killing me with that menu. I wish I could pop by for a frenchie lunch. YUM!