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Lemon Meringue Tarts

Tanya Emerick (IG: @scarlet_nantes) / Owner, Scarlet Nantes Macaron, Seattle, WA; Photo by Tanya Emerick

For the Lemon Curd:
    • 1/4 cup The Perfect Purée Meyer Lemon Concentrate, thawed
    • 1 tbsp. The Perfect Purée Lemon Zest, thawed (optional)
    • 3/4 cup sugar (optional)
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cubed
    • 4 egg yolks (save egg whites for the meringue)
    • 1-2 gelatin sheets (optional)
Method for the Lemon Curd:
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until combined.
2. While whisking, pour in Meyer Lemon Concentrate and Lemon Zest, and continue whisking until creamy and well incorporated, about one minute.
3. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly. Switch to a spatula or wooden spoon and continue whisking until the custard thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8-10 minutes. At this point, add a gelatin sheet or two to have a more solid filling.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, one cube at a time.
5. Strain into a bowl or jar, cover surface with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Keep refrigerated.
For the Tart Shells:
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
    • 3 tbsp. sugar
    • Pinch of fine salt
    • 1/4 cup ice cold water
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tsp. white vinegar
Method for the Tart Shells:
1. Dice the butter into small cubes and freeze for 20 minutes.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Drop in the butter and use a pastry blender to cut it into the flour/sugar.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water without the ice, egg yolk and vinegar. Pour this into the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a spatula to combine. Knead until the dough comes together, adding a little more water if needed.
4. Shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
5. Dust a clean surface and your rolling pin with flour.
6. Roll out the chilled pâte sucrée (sweet tart dough) to fit a pie plate, tart pans or simply stamp with a biscuit cutter for mini pies or tarts. Fit the tart dough into your baking shells, line the dough with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans.
7. Bake the tart shells for 10-15 minutes at 350˚F or until golden. Remove from oven and cool.
8. Once the tart shells are completely cooled add the lemon curd and return the tarts to the refrigerator.
For the Meringue:
    • 4 egg whites (approximately 125 g.)
    • 1 cup baker’s sugar
    • 1 pinch cream of tartar
Method for the Meringue:
1. Heat the oven to 350˚F.
2. On a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, distribute the baker’s sugar onto the baking tray.
3. Turn the oven off and put the tray of sugar into the oven to allow the sugar to heat up. The heated sugar will cook the egg whites in the meringue.
4. While the sugar is heating, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. The bowl of the mixer must be completely clean of any fat or oil. Clean the bowl with some vinegar to help remove any particles that would deflate the egg whites. Once the bowl is clean and dry, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
5. Remove the sugar from the oven and carefully add one tablespoon at a time to the egg whites while continuing to whip.
6. After incorporating all the sugar, whip for a few more minutes to make sure the sugar has completely dissolved into the egg whites. Test this by rubbing a little of the meringue between your fingers, if you still feel the sugar grains continue to whip.
7. Once the meringue is complete it will be thick and stable and edible at this stage. Put the meringue in a piping bag with attachment of choice. Pipe on top of the lemon curd or simply dollop the meringue onto the tarts.
7. Finish with a crème brûlée torch if desired to toast the meringue. Serve immediately.
Chef’s Notes:
1. Prepared lemon curd can be frozen for up to one year without quality changes when thawed. To thaw, move the container from the freezer to a refrigerator at 40°F or colder for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, store in the refrigerator in a covered container and consume within four weeks.
2. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, lemon curd will keep in an air tight container in your fridge for up to four weeks. The best way to keep it longer than that is to transfer the curd to freezer containers (leaving about 1/2 inch of room on the top), then freeze it.