My baking pal Lauren Ko busted out a pretty spectacular pie book this past fall – Pieometry! Her pie designs are so precise, geometric and modern, and the recipes are total bangers – like cardamom coffee cream tart, or pumpkin black sesame pie, or basil lemon! Or, go the savoury route – tomatillo short rib pie, or a caramelized onion and potato tart. You getting hungry yet? Not only is the cookbook loaded with incredible recipes, step by step photos and pie basics, it is also beautiful to look at – you’ll be proud to have this one on your coffee table!
My wonderful mom turned 76 this month. I was hoping to have her over for her favourite fancy pizza, but alas, gathering restrictions were renewed again. However, pitch and putt golf is currently allowed – so we masked up and got in some winter casual golf instead! The THWOCK of a golf club clocking a golf ball into the air sure is a satisfying sound, hehe. It was a muddy and chilly affair, but there was no one else on the golf course and we laughed and sloshed our way through nine holes and had a blast. Rich described my golf look as “longshore fisherman” but I prefer “longshore fisher person”.
I made my mom this bright and cheery Pieometry lemon tart – as high tea lemon tarts are one of her favourite treats! It was very simple to make – I followed Lauren’s instructions for her cookie shortbread crust, made the lemon curd filling on the stovetop, filled the crust with the curd, baked it again for a few minutes to set. While the tart was setting, I whipped up some meringue using the leftover egg whites from the curd, piped it onto the cooled tart and then brought out the old handheld kitchen blowtorch to toast it up. Finished it with fresh raspberries for pops of colour! The recipe in Pieometry is called “Life of the Tarty” and is a lemon basil curd, but I omitted the basil this time around!
Lemon Meringue Tart
For the Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup (142 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (57 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
For the Lemon Curd
- 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup (237 milliliters) fresh lemon juice, from about 8 lemons
- 4 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
For the Meringue
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup of sugar
- pinch of salt
Make the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture by smushing the cubes with your fingers, working until a homogenous dough forms. The resulting dough should be smooth and supple.
- Press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, using your palm to flatten it into an even layer. Place the tart on a baking sheet to catch any butter drips that occur during baking and to provide stability as you transfer the tart shell in and out of the oven.
- Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.
Make the Lemon Curd
- Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF.
- Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and massage together, making sugar very fragrant.
- Pour the sugar into a 2-quart saucepan. Add the lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks and salt and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat so mixture is warmed through. Add the butter gradually and stir until all the butter has melted. Continue cooking over medium heat until mixture is thick enough to coat a spatula, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the corners of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and strain the curd through a fine-mesh-sieve.
- Keep the baked tart crust in the tart pan on its baking sheet. Pour the curd into the tart crust and smooth the surface using an offset spatula.
- Bake the tart for 5 to 10 minutes, just to set the filling. The edges should be solid while the center retains the slightest of jiggles.
- Cool completely before adding meringue.
Make the Meringue
- Set the metal bowl of your stand mixer fitted on top of a small sauce pan filled a quarter full with water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.
- Place on stovetop and heat the water to a gentle boil on medium heat.
- Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking to combine.
- Continue to heat the egg white mixture until a digital thermometer inserted into mixture reads 160ºF.
- Carefully remove the metal bowl from the saucepan and place into stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whisk the mixture on low speed for one minute until frothy. Add a pinch of salt.
- Increase the speed to medium-high speed and whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip with the meringue.
Assemble the Tart
- Pipe drop stars or a decorative border on top of the cooled lemon curd tart. You can fill the entire tart or leave some bright yellow tart visible.
- Using a handheld kitchen blowtorch, toast the meringue until lightly browned. You may also broil it in the oven, but watch it like a hawk – 30-60 seconds, or until toasted brown.
- Finish the tart with fresh raspberries if desired.
- Extra meringue can be piped onto a parchment covered baking sheet and baked for one hour at 200º until crispy and dry.
We made parfaits with the leftover lemon curd, baked meringue and raspberries, with scoops of frozen yogurt. Never trash your leftover fillings, frostings and accoutrements! Haha. If you want to pick up a copy of Pieometry, order it through your local indie bookstore – they could definitely use the support during these Covid times. And… Happy birthday, Mom! Glad you could have a fun day despite the ding dong pandemic.