7/25/16

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies


So I might have dropped the ball a little there. But it was not without reason. This week I was moving! So with all of the packing, wrapping, and stuffing everything into a U- Haul, I forgot to post. 

However, meringue week is not completely over! I made these mini lemon meringue pies, and they were so gosh darn good, there was no way I was going to leave them out of all the fun. After my more creative bakes this week, I decided to do something a little more traditional. 


I've never been able to make dainty, uniform pastry shells, so I've accepted these little misshapen beauts. What they lack in looks they make up for in buttery-flakey goodness. Instead of sweet tart shells, I prefer a regular all-butter crust because it has a sturdier structure and balances the sweet filling. However, if you want more uniform shells, I would recommend that you purchase mini store bought tart crusts. That would cut down the hassle and look beautiful.


These lemon tarts are available any time of year, but they always scream summer time to me. The sharp lemon curd with the sweet meringue feels light and refreshing, almost like lemonade in a pastry. 



Total Time: 4 hours
Bake time: 30-35 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup tablespoons ice water

For the Lemon Curd:
3/4 stick butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated

For the Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar

Preparation

Make the Crust:
  • In a large bowl or food processor, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cubed butter, and pulse or cut with a pastry cutter or fingers until pieces are smaller than peas.
  • Slowly add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together completely. Knead gently once or twice on a floured work surface, then shape into a disk 1-inch thick. Store in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the butter to chill. (Now's a good time to make the lemon curd!)
  • When the dough has chilled, roll out onto a floured surface or parchment paper, until 1/8-inch thin. With a 3-inch wide biscuit cutter (or at least 1/2 inch wider circumference than the muffin tin's molds) cut the dough into circles and carefully fold into each mold. This does take some time!
  • Place in the freezer for another 20 minutes, to set. Preheat the oven to 350 F while doing so.
  • Prick the chilled shells' sides and bottoms with a fork* and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
*I don't mind if the shells pop up a little, however if you want the dough to fit neatly into the corners, fill each shell with parchment paper and baking beans while baking.

Make the Lemon Curd:
  • Place the butter, lemon zest, juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved completely.
  • In a separate bowl (big enough to hold all of the ingredients) beat the eggs yolks. Carefully pour the hot lemon mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly to avoid curdling.
  • Place back on the heat, until the mixture just simmers. Pour it through a fine sieve and cover with cling film (touching the surface), place in the fridge till the mixture cools. It will last up to three days in the fridge.
Make the Meringue:
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high until fluffy and pale. Slowly add the sugars, alternatively, and continue to beat until the eggs are glossy and stiff peaks form.
Assemble and Torch:
  • When everything is cooled and whipped, add the lemon curd to the shells, then pipe or spoon the meringue onto the tarts. If you have a blow torch, toast the top of the meringue until golden brown.
  • If you don't have a blow torch, turn the broiler on or heat the oven to 500 F. Place the tarts onto the highest rack in the oven, and broil for 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully until the golden brown.


Allow them to cool slightly, and enjoy!


There you go guys! A super tart tart that's real cute and perfect for the summer.


Happy Baking!

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