Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Free Form Tarts




The January Daring Bakers' challenge was lemon meringue pie! Which is one of my favourite kinds of pie. At first I didn't think it would be that challenging because I've made lemon meringue pie a couple of times. But there was an added challenge for those who felt up to it - free form tarts. Originally I was going to use either my new tartlette pans or these other cute even tinier tartelette pans that I recently found out my mom has, but after I looked up the free form tart in David Lebovitz's Ripe for Dessert I knew I had to try it. Doing free form tarts added that level of Daring Bakers-ness that made the whole thing quite challenging and fun, with of course a bit of stress added in.


As for the making of the pie, the lemon custard part went smoothly as did the meringue (aside from having to crack a couple of extra eggs because I got some yolk in my whites and was paranoid it wouldn't whip up properly). The pie crust was where I had trouble. The dough was insanely crumbly - maybe because I didn't mix it long enough in the food processor? And we were in the middle of making dinner while I was trying to roll out the crust so I wasn't having a lot of patience. I ended up just mashing it together in my hand (pie crust blasphemy, I know). This of course resulted in a very crispy and weird crust (though the flavour was good). I was actually happy that the crust didn't turn out because now I know what's considered a crust gone wrong. I've made a few crusts and was never sure if they were "right", but now I have a comparison. I definitely still need to practice my crust making skills though. How do some people get it so smooth and beautiful??


I found the lemon curd was quite tasty though a bit too tart for me. A bit more sugar and it would have been perfect, but for those that love their lemon desserts on the tart side, this would be perfect. I know some people had issues with watery pies, and I discovered that I did too when I checked on it the next day. Not sure if that's something that just happens the day after with a pie like this.

Anyway back to great things about this challenge! I liked how there was vanilla added to the meringue. I also extremely loved how the free form tarts looked. Very different and cute - I would make this style of tart again, though try to be more tender with the crust. And now I'm wondering why I would still want to make tartlettes when I get frustrated working with pie/tart dough. Ah well, I just have to practice!


Oh and I had no idea that the lemon-y part of lemon meringue pie was lemon curd and not lemon custard! I'm sure many of you knew this but all this time I've been wanting to make lemon curd and eat it on scones and things, when actually I've made lemon curd several times! (Lemon curd and custard are similar, but curd has more lemon juice and zest, according to Wikipedia anyway.)


Go check out the other Daring Bakers' yummy lemon meringue pies and free form tarts, mmm! The recipe is on The Canadian Baker's site.

45 comments:

MrsPresley said...

your free form tarts are cute! you did a great job getting the meringue to brown on top without burning! i have yet to make my own pie crust, that is something i need to tackle! and thanks for the little tidbit about lemon curd vs custard :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

These came out looking great! I was not brave enough to try the free form tarts. I think you did a good job! Your meringue just looks great! I love that it is not too browned.

Vegetation said...

At least you [i]try[/i] to make your own crust and are getting there in terms of perfecting it. I'm too scared (and too lazy) and use store boughts.

I love the free form tarts. They look really cute (and that meringue. OH! YUM! It's calling to meeeeeee........)

Aparna said...

Your tarts look just like the title of your blog says - delicious. They look like frosted cookies.

cupcakerie said...

I love your free form tarts so modern!!!

DawnsRecipes said...

Great job on the free form tartlets. Wow! They look so darn cute! I was too lazy and used my mini tart pans. I think the free form looks more tempting though...maybe because, without the tin, it seems more cookie like.

Ann said...

Beautiful free-form tarts!

April said...

I love the look of your free form tartletts! They look original! Great Job!

Mindy said...

Yeah, I had a had time getting my crust smooth as well...oh well- you are right it must take practice...

Jenny said...

I had to add extra water to the dough for it to be the right texture. It doesn't seem fair, but sometimes humidity and temperature effect how much moisture a dough needs. If you press it together and it doesn't hold, add more water, maybe a tbsp at a time, until it seems right.

bittersweetblog said...

Perfection is overrated- Your tarts look delicious as they are. Nice job on this challenge!

Deborah said...

I wish I would have done my tarts free form - yours look great!! And I didn't know the difference between custard and curd - thanks for that info!

slush said...

They are beautiful! You did a fantastic job. They couldnt be more perfect. Well done!

Maryann said...

They look beautiful. They really do!

Brilynn said...

I like the idea of free form tarts, the crust was never my favourite part of pies and it looks like you got a great meringue to crust ratio!

Bellini Valli said...

Congrats on completing another DB challenge with flying colours!!!

Kim Stone said...

They look like little puffs of heaven. Very nice!

deb said...

so sweet looking! great job!

Mary said...

Your free form tarts look delicious!

linda said...

They look like little bombe Alaska, very cute!

aamena said...

hey your free from tarts look so pretty!

Laura said...

yum! I think I'll try free-form next time!

Katy said...

So cute!!! They really look delicious!

Helene said...

I just love the way you are doing these. They look so good!

Karen said...

Oh my goodness, those looks fabulous!

bbaking said...

I love how individual these are! They look like pie on cookies! If I make this recipe again I will copy you! Great idea!

They also look fab with the gorgeous mond of meringue! yummy yummy!

kim u said...

These are so cute!

Beth G. said...

I love them!! SO CUTE!!! I totally want to try the free-form method- yours came out beautiful! :)

Claire said...

What bravery to try free form tarts! They look like they turned out great.

Andrea said...

I love these! They look so cute, and the crust looks rustic (in a good way). Great job!

Kevin said...

Great looking free form lemon meringue tarts!

Dolores said...

Your free form tarts have a beautiful rustic appeal to them. And I appreciate your sharing what you learned as a part of your experience with the challenge. Great job!

cinderelly said...

those look amazing...i am such a sucker for lemon meringue or really lemon anything!

Elle said...

Love the free form tart collection...your meringue is to die for...so pretty. Nice photos, too :)

Lane said...

Wow, beautiful blog.

I made the tartlets too, and mashed the pie crust together with my hand (although I didn't have any trouble with the recipe). And weren't they fun!

Thanks for the definition of curd vs. custard. I kept referring to it as a curd as I was drafting my post, then I went back and changed it to "filling" -- if only I'd known!

Jane of VeganBits.com

Big Boys Oven said...

I am not sure why..... I adore this thin crust of yours and end up the creation look so distinctly gorgeous and so appealing to have a bite, you did well!

Simona said...

I wish my lemon filling had been as well behaved as yours. Nice job!

Tracy said...

Your tarts look yummy!

As for the crust, I followed the directions exactly. It was very crumbly when I pressed it into a disk and put it in the fridge. But when it came out of the fridge, it was just right. I saw Alton Brown do the same thing on one of his shows. The dough looked crumbly but time in the fridge took care of it. I don't know if this helps though...

Tracy said...

Wow, they look so beautiful! Nice job!

Jen Yu said...

Oh, how totally cute are those free form tarts?! I love the way they mound so high and light! Gorgeous :)

Lunch Buckets said...

These are the first "free form" tarts I've come across - I think they turned out splendidly!

Peabody said...

Yum! They look like big, giant lemon meringue cookies.

Quellia said...

Those are so yummy looking - now I'm wishing I had made the free form tarts too!

DaviMack said...

Beautiful! I second Peabody's comment about them looking like meringue cookies ... but I'm sure they're better than that! Great job!

creampuff said...

Sorry you had trouble with the crust! You still did a nice job!