Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets (Tartelettes aux Citron Meringuée)

If there’s one dessert you choose to make this summer, let it be these Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets.

Sweet, slightly tart, buttery, delicate, and embellished with the most stunning meringue, these tartelettes citron meringue will impress all your guests!

mini lemon meringue tartlets (tartelettes citron meringue)

A Note About This Recipe

When I created this recipe, I worked with a few versions of the lemon curd until I got it JUST right. I have another version of lemon curd that is bright and slightly tart.

For this version, I wanted lemon curd that melts in your mouth, is sweet and slightly tart, and is super silky and pleasant to eat.

The way the delicate tart crust crumbles and melds with the lemon curd and the oh-so-fluffy Italian meringue is just perfection in my book.

But you be the judge. Now for some helpful info about this recipe.

What are Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets?

These French tartlets consist of pâte sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry), lemon curd, and Italian meringue. These three elements together create a balance of the perfect buttery, sweet, yet slightly tart dessert.

Lemon Meringue Pie Vs. Lemon Meringue Tartlets

You may wonder, what’s the difference between lemon meringue pie and lemon meringue tartlets?

There are a few differences.

First, lemon meringue pie uses a traditional, unsweetened pie crust, while lemon meringue tartlets use pate sucree (sweet crust) or pate sablee (sweet shortcrust pastry).

Second, there is a size difference. Lemon meringue pie typically serves 8-12 people, while a mini lemon meringue tart is an individual serving.

The recipe for these tartlets makes 6-8 tartlets, but each tartlet is considered one serving.

Third, lemon meringue pie calls for French meringue, while lemon meringue mini tarts call for Italian or Swiss meringue.

French meringue gets brown in the oven and needs to bake to cook out the rawness of the eggs. Italian meringue and Swiss meringue are cooked, so there is no need to bake either after making them.

Instead, pipe the meringue and leave it fluffy and white.

As another option, torch the meringue to give it a beautiful golden hue. You can also bake it in the oven if you don’t have a torch.

mini lemon meringue tartlets with italian meringue

Best Lemons for Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets

The best lemons for mini lemon meringue tartlets include Eureka and Lisbon lemons. Both varieties are sold at most grocery stores (the basic lemons you find in the produce section).

You are probably buying Eureka or Lisbon lemons without even knowing it! They both have a sharp, bright flavor, which is perfect for lemon tartlets.

You could also use Meyer lemons, but they are only available for a short period in the winter. Meyer lemons are also less tart, making them more mellow than traditional varieties.

mini lemon meringue tartlets (tartlettes citron meringuee)

How to Prevent Lemon Meringue Tartlets from Becoming Soggy

This one is super simple! Allow the lemon curd to cool completely before adding it to the tartlet shells.

I share several tips like this in my online tart course to help bakers become the authorities in their kitchens (we have a lot of fun).

Because of their structure, soggy shells aren’t as big of an issue with patisserie-style tart shells. However, they happen faster and more often with fluted tart shells.

For this recipe, I almost always pour the lemon curd into the tart shells while they’re warm because it’s easier to get a smooth surface with warm curd (again, this is specific to ring tart shells, not for fluted).

If you add cold curd to the tartlet shells, it will be thicker and more set, and you’ll need to spread it out. Which means the surface may not be completely smooth.

I have also found that the structure of these patisserie-style tartlet shells prevents the lemon curd from seeping in and causing them to get soggy nearly as fast as it can with a fluted tart shell.

Even when I add warm curd to the baked mini tart shells, they don’t get soggy for at least four days, but sometimes longer.

So, if you have an issue with the tartlets getting soggy, add the curd once completely cooled. But I still recommend adding it while warm if you use patisserie tart shells.

mini lemon meringue tartlets (tartelettes citron meringue)

2 Ways to Make Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts Ahead

There are two ways to make mini lemon meringue tarts ahead of time.

First, make all the individual components and keep them disassembled.

Make the shells and store them in an airtight container for up to a week. Optionally, freeze them for up to 2 months.

Likewise, make the curd and refrigerate it for up to a week before using (must eat within 7 days of being made).

You can also freeze lemon curd in an airtight container for up to 12 months. If you do this, thaw the curd in the refrigerator and stir well before using.

The Italian meringue can also be made a few days ahead, but it must be re-whipped because it tends to deflate a little over time.

You can freeze Italian meringue for 8-10 months as well. Just be sure to re-whip once thawed.

mini lemon meringue tartlets with italian meringue

Adding the Meringue at the Right Time

Making these mini lemon meringue tartlets requires patience, but it’s well worth the wait!

I want to share one last note with you so you can succeed.

Top the mini lemon tartlets with meringue once the curd is cooled. The curd doesn’t need to be cold, but it shouldn’t be hot either.

If you pipe the meringue on top of hot curd, it will cause the texture of the meringue to change.

As long as the lemon curd is cool (below 118 F), then it’s okay to add the meringue on top.

You can create beautiful designs with piping tips or use an offset spatula to billow the meringue.

How to Make Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets (simplified)

  1. Make the tart dough and roll it out. Freeze
  2. Cut out patisserie-style tart shells and cut strips to form the sides. Freeze the formed tart shells for an hour.
  3. Bake tarts until golden brown, and remove from the rings once cool.
  4. Make the lemon curd over a double boiler, and cook over simmering water until the curd thickens and reads at least 150 F on a thermometer.
  5. Pour curd into tart shells and cool in the refrigerator.
  6. Make Italian meringue. Pipe onto tarts, refrigerate and enjoy.

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Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets (Tartelettes Citron Meringuée)

tartelettes citron meringue with meringue piped in a swirl on top. tarts are on a white backdrop

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If there’s one dessert you choose to make this summer, let it be these Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets. Sweet, slightly tart, buttery, delicate, and embellished with the most stunning meringue, these tartelettes citron meringuée will impress all your guests!

  • Author: Camille
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Chill Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 mini tarts 1x
  • Category: Tarts

Ingredients

Units Scale

Pate Sablee

  • 113 g unsalted butter, cool (58-60 F)
  • 140 g all-purpose flour

  • 30 g cake flour (substitute AP flour if you can’t find cake flour)

  • 60 g powdered sugar

  • 30 g egg, room temp
  • 1/4 tsp Morton’s kosher salt (coarse)

Lemon Curd

  • 140 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 120 ml lemon juice (1/2 c)
  • 56 g unsalted butter (4 Tbs)

For the Italian Meringue

  • 100 grams or 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 225 g granulated sugar
  • 55 g water

Instructions

To Make Pate Sablee Crust

  1. Cream the butter on low in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  2. Add all dry ingredients (including sugar) in 3 additions. Mix until crumbly and combined.
  3. Add egg and mix until combined with no yellow egg streaks.
  4. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper long enough to fit a half sheet pan. Then place another piece of parchment on top and roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness (2 mm). Place the rolled dough on a half-sheet pan, and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut out circles with the tart rings. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with an airmat.
  6. Using a ruler, cut strips of dough approx 9 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, and line the tart rings. If the dough begins to soften and stretch, return to freezer for 15 minutes and then continue. Repeat this process until the tart rings are lined.
  7. Place formed tartlets in the freezer for 60 minutes to fully freeze.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 F (165 C).
  9. Bake tarts for 18-25 minutes until golden brown and the sides have pulled slightly away from the tart rings. Cover lightly with foil if they are browning too much in the centers during baking).
  10. Allow tarts to cool for 5 minutes, remove them from the tart rings, and cool completely on a cooling rack before filling.

To Make Lemon Curd

  1. Fill a medium pot with 1-2 inches of water, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Turn the temp down to medium or medium-low once the water is simmering.
  2. While the water is coming to a simmer, combine the egg yolks, whole eggs, fresh lemon juice, and granulated sugar in a medium glass bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk continuously.
  4. Whisk the lemon curd until it’s pale and thick. This takes about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and smooth.
  6. Pour the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer to remove any scrambled egg bits.
  7. Fill the tart shells with warm curd until full and level. (If using fluted tart shells, cool curd first and then fill).**See notes below about storing curd.
  8. Transfer the tartlets to the fridge and prepare the Italian meringue.

To Make Italian Meringue

  1. Measure out eggs and pour them into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  2. Add the sugar and water to a medium pot and turn the heat to medium. Don’t turn the heat up to high, as this can cause the temperature to rise too rapidly and go above the correct temperature.
  3. Next, turn the stand mixer to speed 4 on a 10-speed mixer, and whip the egg whites while the sugar syrup is cooking.
  4. When the sugar syrup reaches 240 F, remove it from the heat. Turn the mixer to 5-6 speed and slowly pour the hot syrup into the whipping egg whites.
  5. Pour the sugar syrup into the mixer between the edge of the bowl and the moving whisk. It can be a bit tricky, so pour slowly to keep it from splattering all over the bowl and your face! Turning the speed down to medium-low is perfectly acceptable if this helps you feel safer in the process.
  6. Mix on medium speed until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, and the meringue forms stiff peaks.
  7. Remove from mixer and set aside. 
  8. Top mini lemon tartlets with Italian meringue. Spread or pipe your favorite design.
  9. Brown the meringue in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes, or use a kitchen torch to quickly brown the meringue.
  10. For the best experience, chill for 2 hours to set the curd (you can eat right away if desired though). They do not need to be covered during this time, but cover if chilling for more than a few hours.
  11. Store the tarts in the fridge until serving. The crust holds up well for 2 days but will start to soften by day 3-4. The crust will get much softer between days 5-7. 
  12. These tarts must be eaten within 7 days.

Notes

This is a Baker Street Society original recipe. 

**If saving the curd for later, pour the curd into a heat-safe storage container and cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. The lemon curd can be made up to 7 days ahead.

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