OK, this one’s not a pie. But when Mary Tregellas, author of Homemade Preserves and Jams: Over 90 Recipes for Luscious Jams, Tangy Marmalades, Crunchy Chutneys, and More, made the classic lemon meringue pie into a tart and canned her own lemon curd, we thought we’d share anyway. This can easily be turned into a Lemon Meringue Pie with the same delicious preserved filling.
Revisit host Evan’s very strong feelings on why a tart is not a pie, and read below for Tregellas’ recipe for Lemon Meringue Tarts with Canned Lemon Curd, as well as her instructions for how to do that canning. (She would like to know that you are not making lemon-flavored scrambled eggs.)
And, click here to enter YOUR delicious pie (or pies) in the 4th Annual Good Food Pie Contest on Saturday, September 8th at LACMA.
What other kinds of preserves can readers use in tarts and pies?
All kinds! Jam tarts are a great way to use up those half-empty jars of preserves hiding in the back of the fridge, red currant jelly or apricot jam make wonderful glazes for fresh fruit tarts, and I often dot spoonfuls of jam into a fruit pie or crumble for a little extra flavour. Don’t just think sweet – preserves such as chutneys can be used to add a bit of interest to savoury quiches and pasties. One of my favourite simple recipes is to spread homemade pesto on a sheet of puff pastry, top with juicy sliced tomatoes and thick rounds of mozzarella and bake.
How does using a preserve, as opposed to fresh/frozen/etc fruit, change the taste and texture of the dessert?
Preserves have a more intense flavour, and since the fruit has already been cooked up with sugar the consistency is usually thicker and more syrupy. On cold winter days nothing beats a sponge pudding with a hidden layer of jam – comfort food at its best. In summer I’m more likely to use a combination of fresh and preserved fruit, such as adding fresh berries to a dessert made with preserved ones.
Tragellas’ instructions for canning lemon curd are at the bottom of the recipe.
Lemon Meringue Tarts with Canned Lemon Curd
Lemon meringue pie is a much-loved classic, and these mini versions are lovely little things. Easy to make, they are an impressive teatime treat, a light dessert, or a good thing to serve at a party. They work just as well with orange curd, too. And they don’t hang round for long, I find…
13 oz (375 g) packet of ready-made shortcrust pastry (dessert pastry if possible)
6 oz (175 g) lemon curd (see below)
2 medium egg whites
3½ oz (100 g) superfine sugar
Makes about 20 tarts
1 Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200°C). Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, and cut out rounds to fill mini muffin or bun tins. If you are using normal
shortcrust pastry rather than the dessert variety, dust with confectioner’s sugar instead of flour when rolling out to make it slightly sweeter. Prick the shells with a fork and bake blind for 10 minutes.
2 Leave the pastry shells to cool, then fill each with lemon curd. Do not overfill or they will bubble over.
3 Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whisk in the sugar until thick and glossy.
4 Top each tart with a spoonful of meringue, lifting it into a peak with the back of a spoon. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned. Leave to cool in the tins for at least 10 minutes, then ease them out, and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Spread it on what you will, bake with it, or stir into thick yogurt or cream for an instant dessert. The lemons should be ripe and juicy. Keep them at room temperature or warmer—you will get more juice that way. If your lemons are waxed, give them a good scrub in warm water and dry them well.
3 ripe lemons, unwaxed
9 oz (250 g) white sugar
4½ oz (125 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 medium eggs
Makes about 3 x 8 oz (227 g) jars
Keeps for about 4 weeks in the fridge
1 Grate the lemons finely, taking only the very top layer of zest. Squeeze out the juice—you should have around 5 fl oz (150 ml), but a little more or less is fine.
2 Put the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter in a heatproof bowl, and place it over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir until the butter is melted, the sugar dissolved,
and all is well combined.
3 In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Pour slowly into the lemon mixture, then whisk very frequently until the curd thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon (this takes about 10 minutes).The curd will thicken more as it cools and as over-cooking is the danger here, err on the side of caution.
4 Pot into warm sterilized jars (page 18), leave to cool, then store in the fridge.
Have a sink of cold water ready, just in case. At the slightest sign that your curd is turning into scrambled eggs (the warning signs are a little white lump or two appearing in the mixture), take the bowl off the heat and stand it in the cold water, whisking frantically. You should be able to rescue it, although you may have to strain before potting.