It seems there are fewer and fewer people that actually enjoy lemon desserts. I love them. I enjoy the deep, tangy richness of thick lemon curd in a perfectly baked pie or tart shell. Top that with some gently sweet meringue and you really have something special.
The classic lemon meringue pie has a flaky crust, slightly starchy lemon filling, and a meringue that threatens to topple with its height. While that is great for a summertime picnic with friends and family, my modern version is a bit more streamlined.
Fully baked pie or tart shell
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
8 ounces butter, soft
9 ounces sugar
4 large eggs
2 sheets gelatin, bloomed
White cake crumbs
Combine the zest, juice, and butter in a non-reactive pan and heat until the butter is melted completely and the liquid is nearly boiling. Separately, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and slightly fluffy. Pour the hot liquid slowly over the eggs while whisking constantly. Let sit for about two minutes then pour back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring slowly but constantly, until the liquid thickens and starts to firm. Look for tracks that linger after whisking. When the curd is very thick and still hot, add the bloomed gelatin. Pour the curd through a strainer into a container. Place plastic wrap directly onto the curd and let rest until cool enough to use. Once fully cooled, pour batter into the prepared tart shell and smooth. Sprinkle the cake crumbs over the curd in a thin layer.
3 ounces egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
Combine ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and heat over water. Whisk constantly to help dissolve the sugar and fully liquify the egg whites. Heat to 160F then whip using the stand mixer on high until the bottom of the mixing bowl feels completely cool. Use a piping bag to pipe meringue on top of your pie or tart, then brulee. Alternatively, you can spoon the meringue on top then spike it upward before torching.
This dessert is open for reinterpretation and deconstrucion. Pipe a long strip of lemon curd onto a plate, add broken bits of tart shell and random pipings of meringue and sprinkle the cake crumbs over the whole thing loosely for a very modern take on this classic.