John Barricelli’s Lemon Meringue Tart from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2010)
First make the Pâte Brisée:
The pastry for this recipe needs to rest in the refrigerator a minimum of an hour. So add that timing to this recipe. Once that’s been done, the Tart comes together quickly. First make the pastry, a pâte brisée. This recipe makes enough for one double crust pie of two single crust pies. Make the whole recipe and you can freeze the second crust for up to a month. And this crust can be used in both sweet and savory incarnations. The trick here is make sure all your ingredients—wet and dry—are cold. And not just the ingredients…you should chill the bowl and blade of your food processor or the bowl and attachment of your standing mixer.
2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1⁄4 cup ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.
2. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream until the dough just comes together. The dough should not be wet or sticky. If the dough is too dry and doesn’t hold together, add a little more water.
3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide in two and wrap each half in plastic wrap, shaping them into flattened disks. Chill at least 1 hour before using.
Now make the Lemon Curd:
2 tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. powdered unflavored gelatin
6 large egg yolks
Grated zest of 4 lemons
½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
1/8 tsp. coarse salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes.
For the meringue:
3 large egg whites
½ cup sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the cold water over the gelatin. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt and whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not boil. Whisk in the gelatin.
2. Strain the curd through a fine sieve into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until cool about 5 minutes. Beat in the butter a little at a time, until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.
3. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7 by 17 inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.
5. Fit the dough into a 4 x 13 ¼ inch fluted rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom, and trim the dough so that it comes slightly above the rim of the tart pan. The press the excess dough against the sharp edge of the rim of the pan with the heel of your hand to cut it level with the pan. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
6. Set the over rack in the bottom third of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking mat. Set aside. Place the chilled tart shell on the prepared baking sheet and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 1 inch overhang. Fill with pie weights.
7. Bake until the edges of the tart shell are firm and are just beginning to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and the pie weights. Return the tart shell to the oven and continue to bake until the surface is golden all over, about 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
8. Whisk (or beat in a standing mixer) the lemon curd to loosen. Spread the curd over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Refrigerate.
9. Bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. Combine the egg whites, sugar and alt in the top of the double boiler, set it over, (not in) the simmering water and whish to dissolve the sugar just until it melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (The mixture should feel just warm to the touch and not gritty.)
10. Transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed until the meringue is glossy an stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk.
11. Preheat the broiler and arrange an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Spread the meringue over the lemon curd.
12. Place the tart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and broil until the meringue is nicely browed, 1 to two minutes. Serves 8.