This is a French version of lemon meringue pie. It is lighter and more tart than the familiar one we all know and love. The difference is that a tart lemon curd is used as the filling and the meringue is cooked on a slow heat rather than a high one. We loved it in the test kitchen. It’s easy to make and you can buy the lemon curd (add some extra grated lemon rind if you do) and even the pastry base if want to make it even easier.
To avoid weeping meringues: Make sure the filling is warm when you top it with the meringue; it encourages a better bonding of the two to prevent weeping. Sprinkle about ⅓ cup cake crumbs over curd before adding the meringue, as they will absorb any liquid and pretty much disappear. The lemon curd is tangy, fresh and keeps for two weeks refrigerated, or for up to six months in the freezer.
4 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ cup unsalted cold butter, cut in 8 pieces
1 9-inch pre-baked pastry shell
⅓ cup cake crumbs or challah breadcrumbs
4 egg whites
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Place egg yolks in heavy pot. Whisk together with sugar, lemon juice and zest.
Place pot over medium heat and whisk in cold butter. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring or until mixture thickens and all butter is incorporated. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow to boil, otherwise it will curdle. Cool slightly and fill pie shell with curd.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Place filled tart shell on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes or until lemon curd is warmed through.
Combine egg whites, sugar, salt and lemon in a heat-proof bowl, and set it into another bowl filled with hot water. Let egg mixture stand, stirring, for 5 minutes to warm up the whites. Remove bowl from water bath and beat on high for 4 minutes or until meringue forms stiff peaks when beaters are lifted.
Remove filled tart shell from oven and sprinkle cake crumbs in an even layer over the curd. Carefully spread meringue over top being sure to seal it with the pastry edge and trying not to incorporate any cake crumbs into the meringue itself. Use the back of a spoon to make lots of peaks and valleys in the meringue.
Place in oven and bake until peaks are golden, about 15 minutes. Cool.