In these Lemon Meringue Tartlets, a flaky, buttery crust is filled with a luscious, bright curd, and finished off with a fluffy vanilla meringue. Poppable perfection!
These Lemon Meringue Tartlets have the best combination of textures, which is exactly what I love about a lemon meringue pie (but make it mini)! The flaky and buttery crust holds up so well to the luscious and bright curd, and finish it off with a fluffy vanilla meringue for poppable perfection!
Lemon Meringue Pie Ingredients
There are actually very few ingredients for this recipe, which is a huge bonus!
- All-purpose flour. For the flaky tart crust.
- Unsalted butter. The butter for the crust should be as cold as possible (I like to slice mine into tablespoons and throw it in the freezer for about 10 minutes) before preparing the crust. The butter for the curd should be at room temperature.
- Large eggs. Full eggs for the curd, and egg whites for the Swiss meringue.
- Granulated sugar.
- Lemons. You will need about 2-3 large lemons for this recipe. Be sure to zest the lemons before you cut into them to extract the juice.
- Vanilla paste or extract.
- 9 tartlet pans or a standard muffin tin. You can make the tartlet shells in either and they will be perfect!
- Food processor (or pastry cutter). For making the crust, a food processor is easiest, but you can also use a pastry cutter to make the dough by hand.
- Parchment paper. You will need 9 small squares of parchment paper that fit into each tartlet shell in order to blind bake the crusts.
- Pie weights or dried beans/rice. These go on top of your parchment paper lined crusts and weigh down the crust as it bakes to hold its cup shape. If you don’t have pie weights, used dried rice or beans. These can be stored for re-use, but are not to be consumed.
- Microplane. To get all of that lemon zest for the curd!
- Fine mesh strainer. This is used to strain your lemon curd and remove any partially cooked egg pieces.
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment or handheld mixer. Used to create the Swiss meringue for the topping.
- Blow torch. Optional, but makes the meringue look so lovely!
Easy lemon curd recipe
I like to call my method of lemon curd “lazy lemon curd” because I don’t use a Bain Marie (double boiler) and I use full eggs rather than separating the whites and only using the yolks. Traditionally, curds are made with egg yolks. However, I like to make my curds with full eggs (or half full and half yolks).
I find that a yolk-only curd can have an overpowering “eggy” taste, but that is totally a personal preference. Using full eggs will produce a light yellow curd, while yolk-only curd will be much more vibrant in color. If you’d prefer to make this with yolks only, use 5 whole yolks, instead.
In this easy lemon curd, add all ingredients to a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk constantly until the curd thickens and begins to lightly bubble. It will thicken noticeably in about five minutes. Pass the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in one tablespoon of butter at a time. Do not add a new piece of butter until the first has been completely incorporated.
For detailed, step by step picture instructions, follow my Easy Lemon Curd post.
Process for making the Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Start by making the pie dough so it can sit in the fridge for a full two hours to hydrate. For detailed instructions on how to make the dough, follow my All-Butter Pie Crust post. While the dough chills, make the lemon curd and add that to the fridge to solidify and thicken.
Once the pie dough is ready, roll one disc out on a lightly floured surface until it’s 1/8″ thick, then cut out the rounds to be a bit larger than the molds. If necessary, ball up the scraps and roll out again until there are 9 rounds.
Push the dough into the corners and sides of the pans or muffin holes, then freeze for 15 minutes. Cut up 9 squares of parchment paper that will fit each cup. Remove the shells from the freezer and dock the bottoms with a fork a few times. Add the parchment paper, then fill each one completely with pie weights or dried rice/beans. Blind bake the shells completely and allow them to fully cool. They will easily slide out of the pan.
Prepare the Swiss meringue by filling a pot with 1 inch of water, and placing a heat proof bowl over top. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Bring the water to a boil and add the egg whites and sugar. Whisk the mixture until it gets foamy and all of the sugar has dissolved. Check this by rubbing your fingers together in the mixture. If you can still feel sugar granules, keep cooking and whisking. If you have a kitchen thermometer, this will be around 160F.
Transfer the mixture a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld mixer) and beat on high until stiff peaks form. You will be able to turn the bowl upside down without the meringue shifting or slipping.
Remove the curd from the fridge and spoon or pipe into each pie shell until almost full. Then, spoon or pipe the Swiss meringue on top of each shell. If you have a blow torch, lightly toast the meringue for extra color and flavor. You can also place the tartlets under a broiler on high for a quick toast. Watch them the whole time and do not walk away.
Store the tartlets in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Making candied lemon slices
If you’re feeling extra fancy and want to make candied lemon slices for the tops of these Lemon Meringue Tartlets, following these steps:
1. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
2. Very thinly slice one lemon and add the slices to the simple syrup
3. Simmer for 30 minutes, then flip the slices and simmer for another 30 minutes
4. Remove the slices to a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes so the excess syrup can drip off, then coat completely in granulated sugar.
5. Save the simple syrup to make a delicious cocktail!
Want more citrus recipes?
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Orange Poppy Seed Loaf
- Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Glaze
Lemon Meringue Tartlets
- Tartlet pans (9) or standard muffin tin
- Microplane or zester
- Fine mesh sieve
- Parchment paper
- Pie weights, or dried beans/rice
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment, or handheld mixer
- Blow torch (optional)
Flaky Pie Crust
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour (390g)
- 1 cup + 6 T unsalted butter cold (311g)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ⅔ cups water with ice cubes 5.3oz
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar (100g)
- 3 T lemon zest
- ⅓ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 6 T unsalted butter softened (85g)
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup sugar (100g)
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- In a bowl, add the water and some ice cubes and set aside. Using a food processor, add the flour and salt to the bowl. Cut your cold butter into 1 inch pieces and add to the flour so they are evenly distributed around the bowl.
- Pulse the mixture until the butter reaches pea-sized pieces and looks crumbly. Add in the ⅔ cup ice cold water, and pulse again until the dough starts to form a ball (you want to still see butter chunks).
- Remove the dough and flatten into a one-inch disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to fully hydrate. Only one disc is needed, the other can be frozen after the chilling period. While the dough is resting, make the lemon curd.
- After two hours, lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface, then roll out the dough until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Continue to lightly flour your surface if the dough begins to stick. Using a cookie cutter, drinking glass, or knife, cut 9 rounds slightly larger than your tartlet pans or muffin tin openings. Press the dough into the sides and edges of the pan.
- Place the prepared dough into the freezer for 15 minutes. This will help prevent the pie crust from shrinking.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the crust from the freezer, and dock the bottoms a couple of times with a fork. Place a small sheet of parchment paper over each crust and fill completely with pie weights. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment paper and bake for another 5 minutes. The crust should be lightly golden brown and should slide out of the tins easily.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack in the pans.
- In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and starts to bubble. This usually happnens with in five minutes. This is different on every stove top – you will see a noticeable difference in the viscosity.
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and pass the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in one tablespoon of butter at a time, not adding another piece until the first is totally incorporated.
- Cover with plastic wrap, putting the wrap directly onto the curd to prevent a skin from forming, and chill for one to two hours in the fridge.
- Fill a saucepan with about 1 inch of water and turn to high heat. Add a heat proof bowl over top that fits securely. You don’t want any of the water touching the bottom of the bowl.
- To the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and salt and whisk to combine. Continue lightly whisking until the mixture is warm and the sugar granules have dissolved. Check this by rubbing your fingers together in the mixture. If you can still feel sugar granules, continue cooking. If you have a thermometer, cook it to around 160 F.
- One the mixture is ready, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a handhelp mixer) and whip on medium speed for about a minute. Turn to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Once the meringue hits stiff peaks, add the vanilla then mix once more to combine. The meringue is ready when the bowl can be turned upside down without any movement or sliding.
- To assemble, pipe or spoon the curd into each tartlet shell until it’s almost full. Then, pipe or dollop the meringue on top of the curd. Brown the meringue with a blow torch, or carefully broil on high in the oven until the desired color is reached.