Shake up your dessert table this holiday season: tarte au citron with meringue
For Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family historically makes the same desserts, as do most families. For Thanksgiving it’s usually pumpkin pie and maybe also an apple pie. For Christmas it’s usually a homemade cookie assortment and a box of See’s candy. When we found out we were getting to host my parents for Thanksgiving, I decided to shake up our dessert menu and let me tell you…my family wasn’t thrilled. To be completely honest. I tried to get rid of the pumpkin pie all together…I feel like it often doesn’t get finished and to be honest I know SO many people that don’t care for it. I also selfishly wanted to try something a little more challenging and a dessert that offers a very different bite. One of my all time favorite desserts is a classic lemon tarte. So tangy and refreshing and yet sweet and light.
I found this recipe on "Also The Crumbs Please" and knew it would be the perfect show stopper dessert to bring to my Thanksgiving table. I did make a few substitutions to make it my own. I also had to find an alternative merengue recipe so I’ve added the one that worked best for me! In my opinion, citrus desserts are fitting for all seasons, though some are certainly more summery than others, a classic tarte is just a beautiful and classic dessert. Plus I LOVE following a heavy and incredibly savory dessert with a tangy and light treat instead of something super sweet or incredibly decadent (just my personal preference). I wanted to share the recipe with you all in case you’re feeling a little adventurous this Christmas or New Year! In my experience, the tarte wasn’t very difficult at all! What I love about this recipe (for all my bakers and foodies out there) is that it’s entirely made from scratch. I also love that it has to chill overnight MEANING that it’s a make ahead dessert freeing up your oven and stove the day of for all your other yummy dishes! Sweetly, I got to dawn an apron handmade by a sweet family friend to host my first major holiday! Rosemary at California Apron is not only one of the sweetest women I have the pleasure of knowing but she is also one of the most creative. She constructs her aprons from upcycled men’s dress shirts giving them character and making them one of a kind! Find all the details for this delicious tarte below from the crust to the meringue!!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
food processor (suggested, not mandatory)
baking weights or uncooked beans (I used dry pinto beans)
1 + 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbsp ice cold water
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 + 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 + 1/2 cups water
2/3 cups freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp Meyer lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
3 large egg-whites
3/4 cups granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Make the Crust:
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter and pulse 5-7 times until a course meal forms. Add egg yolk and pull 3-4 times. Add one tablespoon of water at a time to food processor, pulsing 1-2 times after every tablespoon. Stop pulsing when dough starts to clump. **If you don't have a food processor, you can use two forks or a dough cutter to combine ingredients**
Pour dough only a large piece of plastic wrap. Combine into a ball then press into a 1-1.5 in thick disc (do not overwork dough). Wrap dough in plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 2 hours (up to 4 days).
On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough disc into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to 9 inch tarte pan. Press crust into bottom and sides of pan and trim any excess from the edges. Using a fork, peak or puncture base of crust a few times and freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line chilled tarte crust with parchment paper and push it lightly against the bottom and sides. Heavy down your parchment with dry beans or baking weights (make sure they push against the sides of your crust).
Bake crust for 35 minutes. remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes, then remove parchment and contents and cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks and cornstarch to combine. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring water, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and zest to simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, whisking constantly.
Turn heat down to medium-low. Stir 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the egg yolks to slowly warm. Once combined, pour warmed egg mixture slowly into the saucepan, whisking constantly.
Cook until filling is thick and looks like pudding. (It should "plop" from a spoon). If needed, turn temperature down or remove from heat and stir constantly to avoid overcooking filling.
Remove from heat and stir in butter cubes, a few at a time until smooth and fully combined. Pour through a mesh strainer (you may want extra hands for this step) and transfer to the crust (I strained directly into my crust). Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Make the Meringue:
Fill a saucepan 2 inches high with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl (glass preferably) and set over the saucepan. **The bowl should not touch the water**
Whisk continuously until sugar is completely dissolved.
Over the heat, beat the mixture with an electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment on high speed until shiny, glossy, and stiff peaks form.
Transfer to piping bag (I used a gallon ziplock with a piping tip) and pipe OR spoon onto top of chilled tarte. Use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the meringue for a little extra pizzaz (I suggest practicing on a plate before going for it)
Happy baking friends!!