Lemon Meringue Tart

Lemon meringue tart is a delightful dessert that combines a buttery crust, a tangy lemon filling, and a fluffy meringue topping. Perfect for summer or spring, this tart brings a refreshing burst of citrus flavor. Creating a lemon meringue tart from scratch is easier than you might think, and the result is a dessert that impresses with both taste and appearance.

Start with a simple yet delicious homemade crust as the base. The crust provides a sturdy foundation for the creamy, tart lemon curd that sits atop it. The final touch is the meringue, whipped to soft peaks and lightly toasted, adding both texture and sweetness to balance the acidity of the lemon.

Whether you’re hosting a tea party or simply looking to treat yourself, this lemon meringue tart recipe is a sure way to brighten any table. The steps are straightforward, and the outcome is always a crowd-pleaser.

Creating the Perfect Tart Crust

To create a perfect tart crust, you’ll need to gather the right ingredients and tools, prepare the dough correctly, and follow the blind baking process precisely. These steps ensure a buttery, flaky base for your lemon meringue tart.

Ingredients and Tools

For a successful tart crust, you will need:

  • Flour: 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • Butter: ½ cup, chilled and cubed
  • Sugar: 2 tablespoons
  • Salt: ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Egg yolk: 1 large yolk
  • Cold water: 2–3 tablespoons

You’ll also need essential tools:

  • Food Processor: To mix the dough ingredients efficiently
  • Mixing Bowl: For combining ingredients if not using a food processor
  • Rolling Pin: To roll out the dough
  • Baking Beans: For blind baking
  • Parchment Paper: To line the tart shell
  • Baking Sheet: To support the tart shell during baking

Preparing the Dough

In your food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and pulse again. Gradually add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between, until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This helps to relax the gluten, making it easier to roll and less likely to shrink.

Blind Baking Process

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to fit your tart pan. Gently press the dough into the pan and trim any excess.

Line the tart shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill it with baking beans or pie weights. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and lining, then return the shell to the oven and bake for an additional 10–15 minutes until golden brown.

Your tart crust is now ready to be filled with the delicious lemon curd and topped with meringue.

Lemon Filling and Meringue

Creating the perfect Lemon Meringue Tart involves making a zesty lemon filling and a fluffy meringue topping. Each component requires careful attention to achieve the best results. Follow these steps for a delicious tart.

Crafting the Lemon Filling

Start by gathering your ingredients: freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, granulated sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, unsalted butter, and water.

Heat water, lemon juice, granulated sugar, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Gradually temper the egg yolk mixture with the hot lemon mixture, then return everything to the saucepan. Cook until thickened, ensuring a smooth, velvety texture.

Finally, remove from heat and stir in unsalted butter until fully melted and combined. Let the filling cool slightly before adding it to your tart shell.

Achieving Fluffy Meringue

Creating a fluffy meringue starts with fresh egg whites, cream of tartar, and fine granulated sugar.

In a clean, grease-free bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar using a stand mixer on medium-high speed. Once soft peaks form, slowly add sugar, one tablespoon at a time.

Continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. This may take several minutes.

For a more stable meringue, you can opt for a Swiss meringue method. Whisk egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until the sugar dissolves, then whip until stiff peaks form.

Both methods ensure a sweet, fluffy meringue that holds its shape.

Assembling and Finishing Touches

Pour the slightly cooled lemon filling into the pre-baked tart shell and smooth it out evenly.

Next, spread the meringue on top of the lemon filling. Use a spatula to create peaks and swirls for a decorative touch.

To set the meringue, you can either use a broiler or a kitchen torch. If using a broiler, place the tart under medium heat until the meringue lightly browns. With a kitchen torch, carefully brown the meringue to achieve a golden color.

Serve chilled or at room temperature for a refreshing, tangy dessert.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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