Tartlets have always been one of my favorite desserts. I’m thinking it has something to do with their individual nature. See, I hate sharing desserts. Sharing is something I grew up doing a lot of, being the oldest of 7. So being the very mature adult that I now am, any dessert that crosses my path is mine! No sharing with anyone. My husband is very understanding of this and only rolls his eyes on occasion. My kids are a different story. What’s mine is theirs and desserts are no exception. This is why I like tartlets. Everyone gets their own full on dessert in mini size! Woot!
I turned my favorite lemon bar recipe into these little lemon meringue tarts. The crust is so perfectly crisp(but not crunchy) and buttery. Shortbread is always the perfect base for anything, right? The shortbread crusts are filled with a super tangy, glossy lemon curd. Once the curd is cooked on the stove top, heavy cream is mixed in and it is poured into the crust and then baked in the oven for a few minutes more to really settle it into the crust. You can use a tartlet pan to bake the crust in if you have one, or little individual tins. I used flower shaped silicone baking cups to make these. The silicone is really nice to use because the crusts slide right out of the cups. No sticking whatsoever.
One of my favorite kitchen tools is a Small Culinary Blowtorch , which I used here to toast the meringue on top of the tartlets. I certainly don’t use it super often, but when I do need it, it is incredibly handy to have around. I’ve had one for almost 10 years and I’ve only had to switch out the gas cartridge once.
If you don’t have a blow torch, you can still toast the meringue under your oven broiler. Just be sure to watch it very closely as it can go from perfectly toasted to carcinogenic ash in seconds. I used an Italian meringue to top these tarts because it is a cooked meringue and is therefore more safe to eat and doesn’t require cooking in the oven. The toasting of the meringue is purely for aesthetic purposes.
Today I am guest posting over at the ever cute, ever crafty Just Between Friends, so head on over HERE for the Italian Meringue Recipe!
- 2 C. all-purpose flour
- ½ C. powdered sugar
- 1 C. Butter, cut into cubes and semi-soft
- 7 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 C. + 2 T. sugar
- ⅔ C. lemon juice (from about 4-5 medium lemons), strained
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 T. unsalted butter, cut in to 4 pieces
- 3 T. heavy cream
- 1 recipe Italian Meringue
- Small Culinary Blowtorch
- Tartlet baking pan or Silicone Reusable Baking Cups
- For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the flour and powdered sugar in a food processor and process briefly, about 2 seconds. Add the butter pieces and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses.
- Divide the dough between 12-14 tartlet tins and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over each tin bottom and sides. Using the tines of a fork, poke holes around the sides and bottoms of the dough lined tins. If using individual silicone baking cups, place them all on a baking sheet before baking.
- Bake the crusts in the preheated oven until the edges start to brown, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven on.
- For the filling:
- In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar until combined. Add the lemon juice and salt and whisk until well combined, about 30 seconds.
- Add the butter pieces and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the curd thickens, about 6 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream and then pour the curd into the tartlet crusts, dividing evenly among them.
- Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, about 5 minutes. Let the Tartlets cool while you make the meringue using THIS recipe.
- When the meringue is finished, spoon it into a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip and pipe out little dollops of meringue on top of each tartlet.
- Using a Small Culinary Blowtorch, toast the tops of the meringues.
- If you do not have a blowtorch, place the tartlets under a broiler to toast the meringue, watching very, very closely as it can burn rather quickly using this method.
- Serve warm or chilled.