Lemon Tart with Toasted Italian Meringue

This is going to be a somewhat shorter post, as I realized after it was all said and done that I took hardly any photos of how it came together! If I’m honest, I wasn’t sure how well it was going to turn out so I didn’t get overly ambitious.

And then when it came to serving it, I took it to a family dinner instead of having it for afternoon tea. So this is somewhat of an anomaly of a recipe. But it would actually work great at an afternoon tea. Just dole out thin slices for your guests or yourself and get ready to pucker up on the lemon! And, of course this would work well as medium- or mini-sized tarts as well, if a little more work to form all the crusts and toast the meringue in pretty patterns.

In the end, it turned out so much better than I could have hoped – I followed recipes from three different bloggers for this creation. As I followed their recipes to a tee, I won’t repeat them here, but rather direct you to all three:

  • First for the poppy seed crust – The crust I borrowed from Sue at The View From Great Island (see the shortbread crust recipe for this tart). It’s nice and flaky and I love the texture with the poppy seed. Just be careful to press it down firmly, but not too firmly so it doesn’t become hard on the bottom as it bakes and lose it’s flakiness.
  • Second, the lemon filling – This tart filling recipe comes from Jen at Baked by an Introvert. It’s absolutely luscious and bursting with tartness, balances beautifully with the creamy, lightly sweet meringue. I always add more lemon zest, so I may have tweaked that bit just very slightly. And I used Meyer lemons, as we had just enough lemon juice and zest leftover from a Meyer lemon tree in our backyard. Otherwise, follow the recipe as-is and you’re good to go.
  • Finally, as to the Italian meringue – I’ve tried to make an Italian meringue before, but unsuccessfully (it could have been the eggs – I could never get them to beat up well). This time I found a “no fail” version recipe that worked absolutely perfectly, so it’s going in the recipe book for next time (credit to Elizabeth at her Entirely Elizabeth blog for the recipe).

I mean, look at how this curd looks in the tart filling before it goes into the oven to bake – it’s absolutely stunning – just looking at it makes my mouth water!

I tried piping the whole meringue top with a piping tip, but it just wasn’t turning out right. Instead, I spread it all over the top with an offset spatula and then used the same spatula to create the waves. Until I got to the middle, then I did pipe with a star tip the last few bits on the top.

After cutting, one can see how thin the layer of lemon filing is to the meringue. And yet, I think the ratio worked just fine – the lemon is nice and tart, you need that much meringue to mellow out the flavor with the smooth creaminess and just that hint of toastiness on the top. Add to that a bit of flaky crust and you’ve got an amazing bite of dessert.

Just grab your favorite cup of tea and slice yourself a piece for a special afternoon tea – it will hit the spot!

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