Very few things are as satisfying to the palate as a zesty, zingy lemon meringue tart. This recipe promises to deliver a truly delicious zesty and zingy tart that will make your taste buds do cartwheels. Three easy components come together to form a scrumptious tart that will keep you coming back for more! A perfect tart to enjoy at tea time or a celebration.
I have always enjoyed a good zingy lemon meringue that oozes flavour and punch. But I have to say I’m not a fan of an overly sweet lemon meringue, where you can hardly taste the lemon and it’s all just sugar on sugar. A good lemon meringue definitely need the sour and tart flavours of lemon to balance out the sweetness of the meringue. The pastry crust also needs to be super buttery and crispy to compliment the soft, creamy lemon curd. When all these things comes together you know you will have a knock out tart on your hands.
I love baking delicious things with lemons, especially since we have a lemon tree in our garden that supplies a whole bunch of lemons throughout the year. Every now and again, I make a lemon meringue tart to use some of the lemons from the overflowing fruit basket. I mean there really is nothing like a fresh lemon curd that has been made with fresh lemons from your garden. This curd recipe uses the juice of about 6 lemons (1 cup of juice), and it definitely delivers a lip-smacking, zingy lemon curd. Perfect to balance out the sweetness of the baked meringue topping.
Traditionally I think lemon meringue is usually baked in a round tin, but I decided to bake it in a rectangular tart tin to make it look a bit different. I also used gluten free flour instead of normal cake flour for the tart pastry, and it worked really well. Normal wheat flour will work perfectly too, I did a straight substitute so the amount will be the same. The tart pastry was beautifully crisp and short. I was really surprised with how well the gluten free flour worked. I used Woolworth’s gluten free all-purpose flour, but any other gluten free flour mix should work perfectly.
There was a bit of excess pastry leftover, since I rolled mine out quite thinly. You can cut this into small biscuits and bake for 8-10minutes for a quite crisp biscuit. And I also had some lemon curd leftover. The lemon curd can be put in a jar and kept in the fridge for a week. Ours didn’t last that long… We ate it straight out of the jar.
How to make the lemon meringue tart:
The tart has three components: the pastry, the curd and the meringue. First you have to start with the pastry, as it needs to rest in the fridge. Then you can move onto the curd and lastly the meringue.
After weighing out the flour, you add the butter, and cut it into the flour, until it resembles fine bread crumbs. It is easiest to do this in a food processor, but it can also be done with a mixer or by hand. Then you add all the other dry ingredients, followed by the wet ingredients. Mix until you have a smooth ball of dough. Add the cold water last, little by little, to ensure that your dough is not too dry or wet. The pastry then goes to the fridge to cool and firm up.
For the curd you the freshly pressed lemon juice, zest, and corn starch together in a pot. Once it is mixed well you add in the hot water. Place the pot over a high heat on the stove, and whisk continuously as it heats up and starts to thicken. Once it has thicken considerably, take it off the heat. Then whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl, and add some of the hot lemon mix to temper the eggs. Then add the egg mixture to the lemon mix and whisk in well. Place it over a medium heat on the stove and whisk continuously for a minute or two. The mix should start bubbling and be considerable thicker and a bright yellow colour. Pour into a bowl and place cling film onto the surface of the curd and allow it to cool on the counter.
The pastry part 2:
When the dough has cooled you can roll it out between two pieces of baking paper, until it’s about 3-4mm thick. Then place it back into the fridge for a few minutes. Once it has cooled and firmed up a bit, gently place it into the tart tin. Gently ease it into the corners and sides so that the pastry is flush against the sides and bottom of the tin. Ensure that there aren’t any big gaps or holes in the pastry. Use your fingers to softly push the pastry into the fluted sides and corners of the tart tin. Use a sharp knife to cut the excess pastry off the sides. Prick a few small holes into the bottom of the pastry. Place a buttered sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake the pastry for 10 minutes.
Make a simple French meringue by whisking the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the caster sugar little by little to the egg whites, while whisking on a medium speed. Continue whisking the eggs until they reach stiff peak stage and the meringue is smooth and glossy. Lastly add in the corn starch and mix in. Once the meringue is ready, you can spoon the curd into the pastry case until it reaches the top of the pastry case. Spoon the meringue on top of the curd and use the back of the spoon to make waves and peaks. Once ready you can bake the tart until the meringue is light brown and has hardened slightly.
A few tips:
- Make sure the dough is not too wet or dry. It should not fall apart (too dry) or stick to your hands (too wet). If it is too wet add a bit more flour, and if it is too dry add a bit more cold water.
- The dough needs time to firm up, so don’t rush it.
- Make sure the rolled out dough is nice and firm before you place it into the pastry case.
- For the lemon curd, make sure the corn starch has completely dissolved and there are not clumps present before you add the hot water.
- Whisk the lemon curd continuously while it is cooking on the stove to make sure it does not burn or scramble.
- When making the meringue add the sugar in slowly, drizzle it in teaspoon by teaspoon. Don’t rush the meringue. And make sure it has reached soft peak stage before adding in any sugar.
- Test if the meringue is ready by checking to see that it is glossy, makes stiff peaks and the sugar has dissolved completely. Rub a bit of meringue between your fingers, you should not feel any sugar crystals. If you do whisk it some more.
- Allow the tart to cool to room temperature before removing the tin. And make sure you use a loose bottom tin, otherwise you will really struggle to get it out in one piece.
So what are you waiting for… Put on your apron, get in the kitchen and bake this zesty, zingy, delicious lemon meringue tart! It is so worth it and your friends and family will be so excited for this lemony treat.
Lemon Meringue Tart
- 35x11cm loose bottom tart/quiche tin
For the pastry:
- 180 g cake flour gluten free or normal wheat flour
- 40 g almond flour
- 40 g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125 g cold butter cubed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tbsp cold water 15ml
For the lemon curd:
- 250 ml lemon juice about 6 lemons
- 3 tbsp lemon zest about 3 lemons
- 65 g corn flour
- 400 ml hot water
- 300 g caster sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 45 g cold butter cubed
For the meringue:
- 2 large egg whites 60g
- 1/4 tsp cream or tartar
- 113 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp corn flour
For the pastry:
- Add the cake flour (gluten free or normal wheat flour) to the bowl of a food processor, add the cubed butter and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Add the almond flour, icing sugar and salt, pulse to combine. Then add the egg yolk and the cold water and pulse until you have a cohesive ball of dough.
- Press the dough into a rectangle onto a piece of cling film and wrap it tightly. Put in the fridge to harden (about 5-10 minutes).
For the lemon curd:
- Zest 3 of your lemons, or until you have 3 tablespoons of lemon zest. Then press out the juice of about 6 lemons, or until you have a cup of juice. Add the juice and zest to a small pot, and whisk in the corn flour. Once the corn flour is completely mixed in add the hot water to the pot while whisking.
- Put the pot over a high heat and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble (1-2 minutes).
- In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together well. Once the eggs have lightened in colour, add some of the hot lemon mix into it and whisk well. Then add it all to the pot with the remaining lemon mix, whisk together well. Put the pot over a medium heat and keep on whisking until it has thickened and starts to bubble (2-3 minutes).
- Pour the curd into a clean bowl and place a piece of cling film onto the surface of the lemon curd.
For the pastry part 2:
- Preheat your oven to 170C fan/190C.
- After your pastry has hardened a bit, place it between two sheets of baking paper and roll out into a large thin rectangle. It should be about 3mm thick and quite a bit larger than your tart pan. Carefully place the sheets with the rolled out pastry into the fridge to firm up again (5 minutes).
- After firming up slightly, take the pastry out of the fridge. Remove the top piece of baking paper and flip the pastry down onto the tart tin (rectangular 35x11cm loose bottom tart tin). Remove the last piece of baking paper. Gently guide the pastry into the tart tin, ensure it does not tear. Nudge it into all the corners, and make sure it is flush with the bottom and sides. Softly press the sides of the pastry into the fluted sides of the tart tin.
- Once the pastry is firmly in place, use a sharp knife to cut off the excess pastry so that the pastry is flush with the tops of the sides of the tin. Fill any tears or holes with some of the remaining pastry. Use a fork to prick a few holes into the pastry bottom.
- Cut one of the baking papers smaller, butter/grease it, place it buttered side down onto the pastry and fill the paper with baking beans or uncooked rice. Place the tin in the oven and blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes.
For the meringue:
- Add the egg whites to a clean mixer bowl. Whisk it on high until it starts to froth, and then add in the cream of tartar. Whisk the egg whites on high until it reaches soft peak stage, then while the mixer is running on medium slowly start adding in the caster sugar. Once you have added half of the caster sugar, put the mixer on high and slowly drizzle in the rest of the sugar. Continue whisking the meringue until it is firm, glossy and all the sugar has dissolved (about 3-5 minutes). Whisk the corn flour into the meringue.
Putting the tart together:
- Have a preheated oven ready, 170C fan/190C.
- Once the pastry has blind baked, pour the lemon curd into the pastry base until it reached the edge of the base, smooth and level it out. Then scoop the meringue onto the lemon curd, covering it completely. Make waves and peaks in the meringue with a spatula.
- Place the lemon meringue into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the meringue has hardened and browned lightly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before remove it from the tin.
- Once cooled decorate with berries or pomegranate seeds and serve.