My Meyer lemon meringue tart has a crumbly Graham cracker crust, delightfully tangy lemon filling, and a sweet marshmallow like meringue to round out the sharpness of the lemon.
One of the greatest joys of being a gardener is harvesting the fruits of your labor and turning them into something utterly delicious. This was the case with my Meyer lemon tree. It produced more than enough lemons to make my lemon curd and a few other desserts. I’m so excited to share a much loved dessert, my Meyer lemon meringue tart. Every winter I make this lemon meringue tart every two weeks because family and friends can't get enough of it. This tart has a crumbly Graham cracker crust, delightfully tangy lemon filling, and a sweet marshmallow like meringue to round out the sharpness of the lemon.
How to make the tart shell
My tart shell is ridiculously easy to make! It has two ingredients, Graham crackers and melted butter. Graham crackers have plenty of sugar in them already so there's no need to add more sugar. Simply mix finely ground crackers with melted butter, pour the mixture into a 9-inch tart shell, and use a cup or measuring spoon with flat bottom to press the crust evenly over the bottom and up the sides. This tart shell can be made a day ahead. If you don't like Graham crackers, ginger snaps, vanilla wafer cookies, and Biscoff cookies are great alternatives.
How to make the filling
Unlike traditional lemon meringue tarts which have a lemon curd filling, I used sweetened condensed milk to give the filling a velvety texture and the perfect sweet tart balance. Condensed milk, heavy cream, lemon juice, zest, egg yolks, and salt are whisked together, strained, poured in the tart shell, and baked until the tart is set but still wobbly.
How long it takes for the tart to set
The lemon meringue tart needs to cool down completely and chill in the fridge for 4 hours for the filling to set and become sliceable. The tart is best eaten the same day that it's made. If you're not serving it right away, store the tart in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the fridge.
How to make the meringue topping
For this tart, I utilized the Italian meringue which is cooked and more stable compared to the French method. You can read about the different methods for making meringue here. The Italian meringue involves whisking egg whites until soft peaks form and then a hot sugar syrup is slowly poured in and beaten until peaks become stiff and glossy. This method produces an incredibly stable meringue that doesn't weep (when little beads of sugary liquid form on the surface). It doesn't lose volume or weep even if the tart stays in the fridge for more than 2 days.
How to brown the meringue
To create the beautiful caramelized peaks, use a blowtorch to gently brown the meringue. If you don't have a torch, place the tart in your oven and broil it for 30-45 seconds until the peaks are browned. Keep a close eye on the meringue to prevent it from burning.
Making this Meyer lemon meringue tart is "easy peasy lemon squeezy" as my older boy would say. It takes only a few steps and makes a delicious winter baking project. With every bite you get a crumbly crust, luscious lemon filling, and light as air toasted meringue. Delightfully tangy with the perfect sweetness, my lemon meringue tart is the perfect winter antidote that will bring a smile to your loved ones.
Meyer lemon meringue tart
- 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
- candy thermometer
- 6 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces Graham crackers, finely ground
- 1 ½ cups condensed milk (12 oz)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 4 large egg yolks (save the egg whites for the meringue)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 4 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Place the Graham crackers in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the crackers are broken down into fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium sized bowl.
- Add melted butter to the ground crackers and use a spoon to mix until everything comes together.
- Press the Graham mixture into a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan, pressing onto the sides and the bottom. Use a straight sided measuring cup to help you pack in the crust tightly. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
- To make the filling, in a large bowl combine condensed milk, heavy cream, lemon juice, zest, egg yolks, and salt. Strain the mixture and pour the filling into the tart shell.
- Place the tart on a baking sheet, put it on the middle rack, and bake at 350˚F for 40 minutes until the edges of the tart are set and middle is still wobbly. Let the tart cool to room temperature then refrigerate it for 4 hours for the filling to set.
- To make the meringue, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the it becomes syrupy and the temperature registers 240˚F on the candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed to soft peaks. While you're whipping the eggs, carefully pour in the hot syrup down the side of the bowl in a steady stream.
- Once all the syrup has been added, continue to whisk on high speed for another 5 minutes until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.
- Spoon the meringue on top of the lemon tart and use a blowtorch to gently brown it. If you don't have a torch, place the tart in your oven and broil it for 30-45 seconds until the peaks are browned, keeping a close eye on it so it doesn't burn.
- When ready to serve, slice the tart in eight and transfer each slice to a serving plate.