10/11/09

Lemon Meringue Tart

When I was a child I grew up in the heartland of America we had a very basic base of foods my mother (and every other kids mother that I knew) made regularly. Very 'meat and potatoes'. While desserts were not common place in our household, when they were it was chocolate cake, banana cake or perhaps cookies - although my Mother will be the first to admit she can't make cookies. She doesn't even try anymore. One thing I did not grow up eating in any form is lemon. My Mom didn't like it and we didn't have it. No pie, no desserts, no tarts, cookies, bars or even lemon based foods like lemon chicken. Chinese food in the Midwest in the 80's consisted of Chow Mein from a big can you open and heat and serve.

So imagine my surprise to grow up and love.... lemon. This is like a Pavlova dessert only without the fresh fruit and you don't have to make a round cake of meringue, you simple spread it in a tart. A cheater's version if you will.


Lemon Meringue Tart

4 eggs, separated
¼ t cream of tartar
1/8 t salt
1¾ c sugar, divided
½ t vanilla
2 t grated lemon peel
½ c lemon juice
1½ c heavy cream
½ c powdered sugar
*raspberries to garnish if you wish

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt till soft peaks form. Beat in gradually ¾ cup sugar till stiff but not dry. Stir in vanilla. Spread over bottom and sides of greased 9-inch pie pan. Bake at 275ยบ for 1 hour. Let stand in oven till cooled.

Combine yolks, peel, juice and rest of sugar. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, till thickened. Let stand. Beat cream and powdered sugar till stiff. Spread half on meringue shell, spoon in custard and spread remaining cream over. Chill at least 3-4 hours. Use tiny raspberries or little mint leaves to garnish if you wish.
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