There is something magical about the combination of sweet and tart! It makes for such a perfect dessert that has bursting flavors. I absolutely love lemon desserts as they are ideal for this combination. I especially love lemon tarts, the creaminess of the filling with the balance of a light crust and an airy meringue topping. Sure, lemons are available year round, but I thought why not take advantage of Meyer lemons now in winter while they are in season. So today I’m sharing with you my version of Meyer lemon tarts and I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do!
Meyer lemons are smaller and rounder than traditional lemons. They are also slightly sweeter as they are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They are beautifully rich in color and produce a vibrant filling for the tarts.
The filling for these tarts is a Meyer lemon curd which is incredibly easy to make! It is also extremely versatile and you can use it for more than just filling tarts. The curd can be used to fill a cake, spread on scones, sandwich cookies, layered in parfaits and so much more. Because I am using Meyer lemons as oppose to typical lemons, I have reduced the amount of sugar to account for the sweet flavor of these winter lemons.
My recipe calls for 2 whole large eggs and 2 egg yolks (the thickening agents for the curd). The yolks produce a richer, creamier and more yellow curd. You can alternatively substitute 1 whole large egg for the 2 egg yolks if you prefer a slightly lighter curd in flavor and color.
Always be mindful when cooking the Meyer lemon curd. You want to keep a close eye on it and continue to whisk it to prevent the eggs from cooking. I always use a double boiler (a mixing bowl set over a pot of simmering water, not boiling) to cook my curd. It takes about 10 minutes for the curd to thicken (reaching 170°F/75°C) and once it’s ready you want to make sure you strain the mixture to ensure it is smooth and free of any cooked egg.
When making these tarts, I always begin with the Meyer lemon filling. Once cooked, it requires at least 4 hours to cool in the refrigerator. Typically I make it the day before (as well as the tart shells) so that all I am left with is making the meringue and assembling the tarts the day of serving them! I especially find this to be the best option when serving to guests.
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