Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Lemon Meringue Tarts

Servings: 6
1 1/2 pounds short crust pastry, (recipe follows)

2 cups lemon juice
6 eggs
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups granulated or caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar

Special equipment: rolling pin, 6 (4-inch) tart molds with removable bottoms and 3 cups of pie weights or dried beans.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).

For the Pastry:
Roll the pastry to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 6 (6-inch) rounds. Place the pastry in 6 (4-inch) tart molds. With a knife trim the excess pastry. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Line each tart shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill to the rim with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 C). Remove the pie weights and parchment from the tart shells and bake for 10 minutes.

For the Filling:
Whisk together the lemon juice, eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Pour the lemon mixture into a medium pot. Place over medium heat and stir with a spatula for about 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Pour the lemon mixture onto a baking sheet and cool completely.

Spoon the cooled lemon mixture or curd into the baked tart shells.

For the Meringue:
Beat the egg whites with the vanilla extract and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Continue beating while adding the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. The finished meringue should have stiff glossy peaks. Mound the meringue on top of the tarts. Make sure there is a good seal between the meringue and the edge of the crust. Bake the tarts in a preheated 350 degree F (180 C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the meringue is golden. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the molds.

Short Crust Pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, cold
8 ounces shortening, cold
1/2 cup ice cold water

Special equipment: cheese grater

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Using a cheese grater, grate the butter and shortening into the flour. Combine the mixture with your fingers until it resembles cornmeal. Add the ice cold water and mix with a spoon, pulling the water into the flour until a dough forms.

With your hands, shape the dough into 2 balls and flatten them into disks. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Yield: 2 pounds short pastry

Source: Food TV, Canada
Date: January 28, 2005