Food can be quite trendy these days, have you noticed? There’s bound to be avocado toast, smoothie bowls and fried egg concoctions throughout your Instagram feed right now and while I love all of these, I miiight have had my fill, no matter how beautiful. In our health food world, sometimes we edge closer and closer to acai bowls and salad pizzas and raw everything. The baker in me is always inspired by this. However, the baker in me wants to bake and sometimes that means going back to the basics.
I’m talking about classic baking with family recipes. Desserts your grandmother would prepare with nothing on her mind but creating something sweet to share. It’s not fearing butter or salt because the pie crust is made with love. It’s watching egg whites magically transform into a white marshmallowy state. It’s cooking butter and sugar into a dreamy curd filling. These are the basics and what a beautiful thing they are!
I was already craving the pie making process (it happens!) when your lemon suggestions called out for lemons tarts and lemon meringue pie! These led me to mini lemon meringue tartlets. What I love about baking is that it can be familiar and homey but made with natural, more nutritious ingredients. This is a classic lemon curd filling with organic eggs, butter and pure raw honey to sweeten. A generous amount of lemon zest boosts the flavors. Minimal sugar is used in this recipe, especially the crust. Good organic butter and whole wheat flours are decadent and more nutritious. Topping each tartlet with meringue softens the tartness and enhances sweetness for a very lush bite. This really would be the perfect way to end this summer.
Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Honey-Sweetened Lemon Curd Filling
1 Organic Egg + 3 Egg Yokes (keep the 3 whites for the meringue!)
1/2 cup Raw or Local Honey
2 Heaping Tablespoons Lemon Zest
1/2 cup Fresh Lemon Juice (about 4 lemons)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 Tablespoons Organic Butter
In a saucepan, whisk the eggs and honey until combined. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and butter cubes. Turn on heat to medium and whisk until the butter melts and mixture combines. Add the cornstarch and continue whisking constantly until the lemon curd begins to thicken. Over medium heat, this will take about 5-6 minutes. When the mixture begins to bubble and you see bubbles on the surface and on the edge of the curd, remove from heat. Pour the lemon curd through a strainer into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the curd to prevent any skin from forming and place in the fridge to set, at least 1 hour.
3/4 cup White Wheat Flour + 1/2 cup White Spelt or Gluten-Free Flour
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1.5 Tablespoons Maple Sugar, Honey Powder, Coconut Sugar or Raw Sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Frozen Cubed Butter
2-3 Tablespoons Cold Milk
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, salt and sugar. Pulse to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse for about 20-30 seconds until the mixture begins to come together. Add slowly add the milk and process until small pea sized chunks. It might look a bit dry, but when you test the dough between your fingers, it should be moist and hold together. Dump the dough onto plastic wrap, form into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove from fridge and divide dough into 6 greased 4-inch tarts pans. Press dough into each tart pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes until crust edges begin to brown. Set aside.
Naturally Sweet Meringue
3 Large Organic Egg Whites, at room temperature
5 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar, Maple Sugar or Raw Sugar
Directions: Beat egg whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed for 1 minute until foamy. Sprinkle the cream of tartar to the eggs and continue beating until the eggs form soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Gradually add in the sugar while beating until shiny peaks form, about 4 to 5 minutes. Scoop out the meringue and transfer to a pipping bag fitted with a star tip.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Pour the lemon curd onto the baked tart shells. Pipe meringue onto the tartlets. Bake for 7-10 minutes until the meringue edges are golden brown. These can be enjoyed warm but the lemon curd will be soft and liquidy from being reheated. For best serving presentation, place tarts in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes. Tarts will be firm to easily remove from tart pans and curd will be set.