National Lemon Meringue Pie Day – We’ll Celebrate That!

In celebration of National Lemon Meringue Pie Day tomorrow, we decided to put our Lemon Curd to the test in a Creamy Lemon Meringue Tart. Needless to say, we approve.

We started with our favorite pie crust recipe for the tart shell. You’ll notice the recipe calls for vodka, and that’s no typo… The reasoning behind the vodka is the way it bonds with the gluten. When water and flour bond, gluten is formed. Too much water, however, can make a pastry crust tough and dry which is difficult to roll out. Since vodka is only 60% water, it becomes that magical ingredient to add to water, and results in a tender and easy-to-roll crust with less gluten. Don’t worry, there is no alcohol flavor as the alcohol vaporizes in the oven.

We enhanced our Lemon Curd with mascarpone cheese and heavy cream to make a creamy filling that had just the right amount of tart. Slices disappeared from our test kitchen rather quickly – we hope they do the same in yours!

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Creamy Lemon Meringue Tart

LemonMeringueTart_LemonCurd$

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more to dust work surface
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 Tablespoons vodka
  • 1-2 Tablespoons cold water

For the Creamy Lemon Filling:

For the Meringue:

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. For the crust – combine the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse several times to mix ingredients. Add the butter and shortening and pulse 10-15 times until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. Add the vodka and pulse several times. With the processor running, add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together into a ball, but is not wet. Do not process too long or the pastry will be tough. Dump the dough out on a generously floured surface and work into the shape of a disc. Wrap in wax or parchment paper and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F and adjust rack to the middle of the oven. Roll the dough out on a generously floured work surface until it is about 1 1/2-inches bigger on all sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently transfer and ease the dough into the tart pan, trimming excess dough. Press a piece of foil on top of the dough and refrigerate 15 minutes. The foil will prevent the dough from shrinking while baking. Bake crust 10 minutes. Gently remove the foil and prick the bottom and sides of the tart in several places and continue baking 2-4 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
  3. For the filling – place the mascarpone and cream in a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, a hand mixer may also be used. Mix on medium speed until combined. Scrape down sides and add the Lemon Curd and sugar. Mix on medium speed until thick and creamy. Spread filling over tart crust.
  4. For the meringue – make sure the mixing bowl is clean and free of any oil or grease. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt and continue to whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, but the egg mixture is still smooth. Pipe or spread meringue over lemon filling make sure the meringue touches the edges of the crust to prevent shrinking. Bake for 4-6 minutes until the meringue is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight before serving.

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