Just a little ole working gal, who loves food

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies!

Friends of ours celebrated their recent engagement last weekend with a lovely backyard BBQ....and I, being the baker that I am...insisted on bringing a sweet treat for dessert!!

I wanted something light, summery and pretty generic so that most people would enjoy it (and not so fancy that it would take away from the AWESOME cake that a bridal party member brought). My husband was insisting on key lime pie (one of his favourites), but a pie doesn't really feed 20 people...so then came the idea of doing mini pies! And since I REALLY didn't feel like juicing a million teeny tiny key limes, I made Lemon Meringue instead. Complete success and super easy to make too!!

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

You can make your own tart crust, but I was on a time crunch...and the store bought frozen mini-tarts worked perfectly (and tasted great too!)
Bake these according to package instructions and set aside to cool completely. In the meantime, make your filling!
For the Lemon Curd Filling you will need:

1/2 Cup butter, cubed
2/3 Cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest 7 large egg yolks (reserve 2 of the egg whites..you can freeze the rest)
Also have ready a large bowl with ice and water. I like to have all the ingredients ready and measured out before I start as this recipe comes together very quickly.

In a saucepan melt half of the butter with half of the sugar, the lemon juice and the zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat, gently stirring until the sugar dissolves.
In another heatproof bowl combine your egg yolks with the remaining sugar. You do NOT want to throw this in the hot lemon liquid...you will get yourself some very lemony scrambled eggs this way! You want to temper the mixture by gradually adding some of the hot lemon mixture to your egg yolks...a small ladle full at a time while whisking constantly. Keep on doing this until the yolk mixture starts to feel warm to the touch...then add to the lemon mixture.
Lower the temperature and let mixture come to a simmer, still whisking constantly. It will take about 2 to 3 minutes for the mixture to thicken.
Once it starts to thicken add the remaining butter and whisk into the mixture.
Pour the lemon curd into a shallow bowl and place over the prepared ice bath. stir the curd constantly until it comes down to room temperature.
Spoon or Pipe the lemon curd into your mini tart shells. I piped in the curd as the shells were teeny tiny bite size and I wanted a clean presentation with no drops all over the place. If you don't have a piping bag, I have used a large freezer bag with the bottom corner cut off. At this point you can store your tarts in the fridge for up to a week. But when you are ready to serve, you have to make the meringue!
Using your 2 reserved egg whites, Beat them on high speed until they become frothy like the picture above. Gradually add in 2/3 cup of granulated sugar and beat on the highest speed for about 5-8 minutes.
Your meringue should be glossy and have stiff peaks when you lift the beater. Spoon or Pipe (again, I piped for a pretty presentation) the meringue on your prepared tarts.
Using a hand held torch, lightly brown the tops of the meringue, or place under the broiler for a couple of minutes. These were fantastic. I ate about 6 that evening...no joke.
Happy long weekend!!!

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