Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lemon Meringue Tart

One of the nice things since our move is that we live SO much closer to our families. My parents popped in this afternoon and I invited them to stay for dinner. Thank goodness, because I would have otherwise frittered the rest of the day away on the couch reading Catching Fire and checking Facebook. While they napped watched a little golf and DiY Network, I whipped up a lemon meringue tart for after dinner. I chose this recipe as an alternative to a traditional lemon tart because it uses fewer eggs and I was down to my last handful (time for another trip to Costco!) I know that I'm beginning to feel more at home in this kitchen as putting this tart together went quickly and smoothly, with all ingredients and tools easily found.
After mixing up my pastry dough and putting it in the freezer to firm up, I got to work on the filling- light meringue folded into a lemon custard.


The lightly baked tart shell ready for filling-


The last slice of tart-the recipe says it serves eight but really, it made just enough for four adults and one Munch-



for the pastry crust:
1 c. flour
3 tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
6 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
approx. 2 tbsp. ice water

filling:
2 eggs, separated
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. unsalted butter

powdered sugar, to sift over finished tart

For the pastry crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. water over the mixture. Using a fork, mix gently until it begins to form a rough, shaggy mass. Drizzle a second tbsp. of water over the crumbs and stir again. Continue adding water, just a few drops at a time, until the dough begins to come together. Knead the dough gently a few turns to incorporate all the bits of dough and pat into a disk. Wrap dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate approximately 30 min.
For the filling, use a mixer to beat the egg yolks with 2 tbsp. sugar on high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 tsp. lemon juice for the meringue and stir the remainder into the egg yolk mixture. Transfer mixture to a saucepan and add the butter. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the filling into a bowl and chill until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured board, roll out the chilled pastry dough into an 11-inch circle. transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the dough into the tart pan evenly along the bottom and sides of pan and trim away any excess. Prick the pastry all over with a fork then press a sheet of aluminum foil firmly over the surface to keep the dough from shrinking as it bakes. Bake until pastry crust is light golden brown- remove the foil and start checking the dough at 15 minutes. Set pastry crust aside to cool.
Using a mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and gradually add the 1/4 c. sugar and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Fold the chilled lemon-egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and pour into the prepared tart shell.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 18 min. until the filling is light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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