Lemon Meringue Tartlets with a Raspberry Cream Twist
*To save time, Lemon Curd is best made the day before.
Graham Cracker Crust: (enough for 2 9-inch pies)
2 packages or 16 whole graham crackers, broken into 1 inch pieces
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons sugar
Lemon Curd: (makes about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, but into 1/2″ cubes and frozen
Whipped Cream with Raspberries:
*read notes below
1 1/4 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon INSTANT vanilla pudding powder
1/4 to 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crust:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Process the graham cracker pieces in a food processor to fine, even crumbs, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the butter and sugar over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate.
Sprinkle the mixture into 2 – 9 inch pie plates or 6 tart sized pans. Press the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pie plate or tart pans. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to press an even layer more easily.
Bake until the crust is just beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Place pans on wire rack to cool completely before filling.
Cook the lemon juice, sugar, and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot (do not boil), about 1 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and eggs together until combined, then slowly whisk in the hot lemon mixture to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick and a spatula scraped along the bottom of the pan leaves a trail (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), 3 to 5 minutes.
Off the heat, stir in the frozen butter until melted and incorporated. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate the curd until it is Firm and spreadable, about 1 1/2 hours. (This is why the curd is best made the day before)
Whipped Cream with Raspberries or other berries:
Pour 1 1/4 cups of heavy whipping cream into a medium glass bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of instant vanilla pudding powder or mix.
Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
Slowly add the sugar and whip until very firm peaks stand. Be careful not to churn butter!
Gently fold in about 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen berries. Place in the refrigerator while making the meringue.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened and syrupy (about 235 degrees on a candy thermometer), 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
In a large bowl, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt together with an electric mixer on medium low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and whip the whites until shiny and soft peaks form, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the hot syrup, avoiding the whisk and the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla, increase the mixer speed to medium high, and continue to whip the mixture until is has cooled slightly and is very thick and shiny, 3 to 6 minutes.
Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of lemon curd on top of graham cracker crust, and spread evenly.
Top lemon curd with 3 to 4 tablespoons of Whipped Raspberry cream.
Dollop meringue or pipe meringue over filling, making sure it adheres to the crust. Use the tip and the back of a spoon to create swirls and peaks in the meringue.
Light a torch and brown the meringue until golden brown.
Alternate browning method: (if using this method, it’s best to only use lemon curd)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and adjust the rack to the middle position.
Bake until the meringue is golden brown, about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool then serve.