Our recipe for lemon meringue tartlets gives you the same sweet and tangy flavors of those gorgeous sky-high lemon meringue pies you see at bakeries, but in adorable mini-dessert form. Bonus: we use a no-bake, make-ahead crust and a filling that comes together quickly. They’d be perfect for Easter dinner, Mother’s Day lunch, or anytime you want to make someone — maybe yourself! — a special treat.
• Make sure not to skip freezing the crust in the tart pans after filling. This ensures that the crust won’t crumble once you remove the sides of the pans. You could also freeze the crust a few days ahead before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
• While the filling has a similar flavor to lemon curd, it contains no egg yolks and has a slightly lighter texture that’s still silky smooth. Take your cream out of the fridge while you put together the crust — it will heat up faster if it’s not super cold to start.
• It may look like meringue, but the topping is actually a variation on a classic seven-minute frosting. The heat of the simmering water in the double boiler (aka, the bowl you set over the pan of water on the stovetop) is essential to both melt the sugar so that the topping isn’t grainy as well as to ensure that the egg whites aren’t raw.
What you'll need
Ok, it’s true, you’ll need at least one extra piece of kitchen gear to make this recipe: these 4-inch mini tart pans with removable bottoms, which you can also use to make quiches and fruit tarts, too!
And although it’s not entirely necessary, you’ll probably want to torch the topping for a little extra color and that toasty caramel flavor.
14 graham crackers (about 8 oz)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest plus 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
In food processor, pulse graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add butter and pulse to combine. Divide mixture among six 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms; press evenly on bottoms and up sides. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare lemon filling: In medium saucepan, combine cream and sugar and cook on medium-high, stirring, 5 minutes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and juice. Let cool 20 minutes, then divide among crust-lined tart shells and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
About 15 minutes before serving, prepare topping: In large metal or glass bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar. Set bowl over (but not in) saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and whites are very warm to the touch, 5 minutes (even if sugar has dissolved, still cook for 5 min).
Remove from heat and, using an electric mixer, beat on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until glossy, soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Spoon over tarts, then use a torch to lightly toast.