This lemon meringue tart has a crunchy almond tart shell that’s filled with creamy lemon curd and buried beneath clouds of pillowy meringue.
Lemon Meringue Tart
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 8
Special Equipment: 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan with removable bottom
- For the lemon curd
- For the almond tart shell
- For the meringue
Fill a pot or bottom of a double boiler with several inches of water and bring to a simmer. In a medium heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler, whisk the lemon juice, egg yolks, and sugar. Place the lemon mixture over but not touching the simmering water. Continue whisking constantly until the mixture becomes the consistency of thick hollandaise sauce, coats the back of a spoon, and registers about 175°F (79°C) on a candy thermometer, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and the exact temperature of your burner.
In a food processor, grind the almonds with the sugar and the salt until finely chopped. Add the butter and process until smooth.
Butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll the dough out between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap into a 10-inch circle. (If the dough has been chilled for more than an hour, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling it out.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
Uncover the tart pan, line it with a large sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and fill it with pie weights or beans. Bake until the tart shell is firm and set, about 15 minutes.
Beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until the meringue is stiff but not dry.
Adjust the oven temperature to 400°F (204°C).
Fill the tart shell with the chilled lemon curd. If using a piping bag, pipe small flourishes to cover the surface of the filling. If not using a piping bag, spoon the meringue on top of the lemon curd, using a spatula to completely cover the curd with the meringue, making certain to cover the edge of the tart where the curd meets the tart shell.
Bake the tart until the meringue begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t scorch. Immediately remove the sides of the tart pan, cut the tart into wedges, and transfer to your best dessert plates. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers' Tips
I made this lemon meringue tart for two reasons: I still have a lot of Meyer lemons on my tree, and I thought almonds in the tart dough sounded wonderful. I wasn’t disappointed. The flavors worked very well together.
I made the tart and the lemon curd a day ahead, which made the assembly the next day pretty easy than. Making this tart is a bit time-consuming and involves quite a few steps, but it’s not overly complicated and definitely worth the effort. The whole process of making this tart is straightforward and the times throughout the recipe are pretty accurate.
The lemon curd was a tiny bit runny when I sliced the tart. Not much, just weeping out the tart a little after the leftover tart sat for a few minutes. I didn’t use a tart shell with a removable bottom, as I don’t have one, but it worked fine with a traditional pie plate.
I made one big tart this time, but can imagine doing little personal tarts, too.
This is an outstanding lemon tart. The combination of the almond crust with the lemon curd and meringue makes for a delicate and light dessert that has just the right balance of sweet and tart. It’s well worth all of the steps of creating the curd and waiting for it to cool, making the crust, blind-baking it, making the meringue, and assembling the tart.
Since the curd needs to be chilled for at least 6 hours, it’s probably best to make the curd a day in advance. Even the crust can be made and baked a day in advance if that fits your schedule best. The only “tweak” I’d make to the recipe is the time it takes to thicken the curd mixture; 10 minutes of stirring is much more realistic than 5 minutes. Also, as noted, the bowl should be over but not touching the water.
Lemon tart. Sour, sweet, crisp, and light. Is there anything more heavenly? I think not. This tart has a lovely almond crust that brings a certain nuttiness to the dessert that’s delicious.
I’d suggest that you be careful when preparing the lemon curd and keep the bowl above the bubbling hot water. Watch the thickness; 5 minutes is about right. One other little tip: when separating the yolks from the whites for the curd, put 4 whites directly into a separate bowl, as it’s much easier than trying to divide them all afterward for the meringue.
I made my curd and crust the day before and then put it all together moments before my guests arrived. My only complaint would be that a 9-inch tart is really quite small; I think doubling this recipe for a 13-inch tart would be much better. Leftovers for breakfast if you’re lucky. Besides, who could resist taking another piece after the oohs and aahs when dessert hits the table?