Recipe // Deconstructed Lemon Curd Tart

March 4, 2015

I love a good lemon dessert. In my opinion, lemon is the perfect combination of tart and sweet!
I made these cute little deconstructed lemon curd tart with torched meringue for a dinner party with some friends.  I loved serving them in individual little jelly jars.  I torched the meringue at the end for a little marshmallow like taste.  Tastes just like a lemon meringue pie, but without all the fuss of putting one together.
I love the idea of the deconstructed tart.  It’s hip, it’s modern, and it makes putting together a large amount do-able.  In fact, this past weekend with Orson Gygi, we made several hundred tarts, including at least 70 of these little lemon curd tarts out at an event at Daybreak.  It was fun to see if people wanted to participate and torch their own meringue.  Some people either really like playing with fire, or are afraid to set things on fire. 

Deconstructed Lemon Curd Tart with Torched Italian Meringue
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Thick + Creamy Lemon Curd
2/3 fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)*
2 Tablespoons (packed) fresh lemon zest
2/3 cup sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cubed

Zest lemons with a microplane and set aside.  Halve lemons and juice. Whisk together juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently with the whisk.  Slowly add bits of cubed, chilled butter, continuing to whisk frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of your whisk and the first bubbles appear on the surface (about 5-6 minutes).

Press curd through a large sieve into a shallow casserole dish (a 9×13 Pyrex works well).  Cover the surface with plastic wrap to keep a film from forming on the surface of the curd.  Chill overnight or for 8 hours before serving.  Enjoy!

Graham Cracker “Crust”
2 packs (about 3 cups) graham crackers, crushed
1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and powdered sugar, and mix well.  

Italian meringue
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, room temperature

Pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar


Bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, do not stir, watch for sugar to dissolve. Cook, undisturbed, until syrup registers 248 degrees on a candy thermometer. Or soft ball stage.  Test by dropping a drop onto a surface, if mixture stays in a half dome shape rather than dispersing, it is ready.
Meanwhile, whisk whites with a mixer on low speed until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium, and whisk until soft peaks form.
Reduce speed to low, and pour hot syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Increase speed to high, and beat until mixture stops steaming, about 3 minutes. Use immediately. 
To assemble: Place a small amount of graham cracker crumble, then some lemon curd, and top with Italian meringue. I like to place them in these small ball jars.
Torch or Brûlée the meringue with small culinary torch, just until golden. Try not to light it on fire or it will have a burnt taste.
{photos by me}

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