Celebratory. Impressive. Delicious. And easy.
The first time we had this was for a family dinner. We needed a dessert, and I made this on a whim not knowing when I started that it would be the end product. When it came out of the oven, even G was impressed. (He’s not normally a dessert person.) It effortlessly came together to be breathtakingly beautiful (effortless until I had to figure out how to get it out of a cake pan without flattening the fluffy cloud-like meringue!).
Instead of a typical family dinner that evening, it suddenly felt like something more.
Like a celebration.
While it’s not unusual for me to have a second serving of dessert, that night everyone else splurged on seconds too. The subdued tartness of the silky meyer lemon filling paired with the sweet billowing meringue is totally irresistible.
This is a fast, easy and simple recipe that impresses. It’s easy enough that little ones can make it with a little help from dad for Mother’s Day. Enlist your little helpers to measure ingredients, prepare the crust, squeeze lemons, crack eggs and run the food processor. What a bright way to celebrate Mom!
Mile-High Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar (optional)
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 large eggs
- rind and juice of 3 meyer lemons
- 5 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar
Line the base and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 325F.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar(s). Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Press the mixture into the base and ever so slightly up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until it is slightly golden.
While the crust bakes, place the sugar, flour, salt, eggs, rind and juice of the lemons into a food processor (or a large bowl if doing this by hand). Beat until well combined.
When the crust is ready, remove it from the oven and pour the lemon mixture over top. Return the pan, now with the crust and lemon mixture, into the oven. Continue to bake for and additional 20-22 minutes.
While the lemon layer bakes, place the room temperature egg whites and the cream of tartar into a grease-free, very clean bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Whisk together the sugars and with the mixer still running, slowly add them to the egg whites. Continue beating the egg white and sugar mixture until stiff peaks form.
When the lemon layer comes out of the oven, it will still be slightly jiggly. Gently dollop (or pipe, if you prefer) the egg white mixture over top of the lemon layer, distributing it relatively evenly all the way to the edges of the crust. Using a long knife or skewer, gently swish the meringue into the lemon to remove air pockets and help the two layers adhere. Draw up the skewer to create peaks in the meringue.
Return the tart to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the meringue tips are golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Then, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan and the parchment on the sides to allow the tart to cool completely in a draft-free area. Refrigerate the cooled tart for 2 hours to overnight to allow it to set completely.
Serve at room temperature.
Tips and Suggestions:
- Unlike typical lemon meringue desserts, the lemon layer is not prepared separately on the stovetop. Although that means that it won’t be as thick as you see generally in lemon meringue pies, the lemon filling is still bright and full of flavour, complimenting the sweet meringue on top of it and shortbread crust below it. It also means that while each layer bakes, you have time to clean up and prepare the next layer. By the time the completed tart comes out of the oven, you’ll have a stunning dessert and a clean kitchen!
- Save this recipe for a dry day. Humidity can wreak havoc with the meringue layer. If you’re set on a lemon dessert, make these lemon bars instead. They’re what this recipe is based on, minus the meringue topping.
- In addition to ensuring the meringue is distributed as far as the crust before baking, cool the tart in a draft-free area to help ensure the meringue does not shrink as it cools.