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A light, refreshing lemon meringue tart

  • NEW YORK TIMES PHOTO

In this lemony tart from pastry chef Dolester Miles, egg yolks add richness to the filling and the crust. For the Swiss meringue on top, egg whites are cooked in a double boiler with sugar, then whipped into a billowy cloud that maintains its lift, even once blasted with a kitchen torch.

Dolester Miles’ Lemon Meringue Tart

Recipe from Dolester Miles
Adapted by Kim Severson

Ingredients for tart:

• 1 1/2 cups/191 grams all-purpose flour

• 2/3 cup/82 grams powdered sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/2 cup/113 grams cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cubed

• 2 egg yolks

Ingredients for the filling and meringue:

• 4 large eggs

• 1 1/4 cups/252 grams granulated sugar

• Zest from 2 lemons

• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1/2 cup/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into large pieces

• 4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, place flour, powdered sugar and salt, and quickly pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then add egg yolks and pulse until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch, then transfer it into a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, then trim it by rolling your rolling pin over the top of the tart pan edge. Pierce crust all over with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer, place tart pan on a baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Remove tart from baking sheet and let pan cool slightly on a rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Separate the eggs, saving 3 of the whites to use in the meringue. In a small saucepan, stir together 1/2 cup/101 grams sugar, the lemon zest and juice and the egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until quite warm. Stir in butter and continue to cook, whisking to prevent burning, for about 7 to 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate until it melts into the mixture.

Pour lemon mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl and use a spatula to press until just the solids remain. Discard the solids. Spoon mixture into the prepared tart shell and chill for 4 hours.

Make the meringue: Set up a double boiler and bring the water in the bottom pan to a boil over medium-high heat.

Combine the 3 egg whites with 3/4 cup/151 grams sugar in the top of the double boiler and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot. Pour the meringue mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip at medium-high speed for about 2 minutes then increase speed to high and whip for about 4 to 6 minutes more or until the mixture is stiff. Spoon meringue over tart and spread with an offset spatula.

Using a kitchen torch, brown the meringue lightly, holding the torch about 2 inches away from the tart. Alternatively, place tart under a preheated broiler with the oven rack placed 8 inches from the heat source. Broil 30 to 45 seconds, watching carefully so the meringue turns golden brown and does not burn. Remove tart ring and serve immediately.

Total time: 45 minutes, plus chilling and freezing, serves 10-12.

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