Today is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day and Julia Child’s birthday. So, I channeled my inner Julia Child and prepared scratch-made lemon curd and meringue for these little beauties. Admittedly, I used store bought tart shells, but I think Julia would be fine with it. These shells are from a local bakery, and are as close to homemade as you can get for the frozen section. Anyway, I feel good about it. I was, however, worried about making the lemon curd because it was my first stab at it. I persevered, because as Julia would say, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
- 6-8 tart shells (I used store bought shells – depending on the size you will make anywhere for 6 to 8 tarts with this recipe)
- Lemon Curd:
- 6 egg yolks (reserve 4 egg whites for your meringue)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 TBS lemon zest
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup plus 2 TBS sugar
- Prepare tart shells according to package directions and let cool.
- Lemon Curd:
- In a small sauce pan combine egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Whisk constantly. This will take about 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. You will know it is done when the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and whisk in butter and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Place egg whites, cream of tartar & vanilla in a mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form.
- Continue whipping the egg white mixture, while adding 1 TBS of the sugar at a time, until it is all added. When stiff peaks have formed the meringue is done.
- Place meringue in a piping bag.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Place 2-3 spoonfuls of lemon curd in each tart. Pipe a swirl of meringue on top of the lemon curd.
- Bake for 2-3 minutes, until top of meringue begins to lightly brown. Watch carefully, as this can happen quickly. Remove from oven and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Lemon curd can be used for many other things. You can refrigerate the lemon curd for up to 5 days.