Today is August 15th and it’s Lemon Meringue Pie day. What a glorious day. My favorite pie has always been Lemon Meringue. My grandmother always made it and it was amazing. I love the sweet and tart combination of flavors of the lemon curd and meringue. Citrus desserts have always been my favorites.
I also love the idea of tiny desserts. So I transformed my favorite pie into a bite-sized dessert--lemon meringue tartlets. It has three parts to it. You can make your own lemon curd, or just buy it at the store. Then you make the dough and finally the meringue topping.
For the Lemon curd, here is the recipe that I feel works best. Also if you want to make the lemon curd dairy free, feel free to substitute in a vegan butter instead of real butter. The lemon curd placed in jars is also great as little gifts.
Lemon Curd Recipe
- 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer; about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should nicely coat the spoon. Don't let the mixture boil.
Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.
Once you have this made, set it aside till the tart shells are backed.
Pie dough recipe
- 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup cold vodka
- 1/4 cup cold water (you can just do ½ cup cold water if you don’t want to use vodka)
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Once you have the dough, you can roll it out and use a round cookie cutter to cut out the little shells. You place them into a mini muffin tin, press to the sides and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 375 till they are lightly golden. Let them cool. Take them out and place onto a baking sheet.
· 4 egg whites
· 6-7 tablespoons sugar
In a mixer bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Once the shells have cooled, fill them with the lemon curd. I like to use a piping bag with a plain tip to fill them evenly and quickly. Then top each filled shell with the meringue in a nice decorative pattern. I recommend using a pastry bag with the star tip for the meringue.
Once they are all filled, place them back into a 350 oven for 3-5 minutes, just till the peaks of the meringue are slightly browned.
These are some of my favorite little bite-sized desserts that are good for a cocktail party or even a children’s birthday party. Everyone will love these cute mini lemon meringue tartlets.