Yep, that's Versailles, just outside of PARIS!! I was lucky to get to go on a last minute trip there last week with my brother and sister-in-law.
Let's just say, the French know their pastries and baguettes and I sampled my fair share while exploring the city. My sister-in-law, Britney (who is equally passionate about food) and I started to wonder if we could make anything that came even close. So, I started reading David Lebovitz's blog (he's an American-living-in-Paris-pro-pastry chef). Although he's a pro, his recipes are very friendly for the average cook/baker and include lots of helpful tips and explanations. I love that. My first attempt was this lime meringue tart that I made for a friendsgiving get together last night. There are a few adjustments I would make for next time, but overall, I felt like it was a success. And, the tart dough was SUPER easy, which is a bonus because usually that is the part that really intimidates me.
LIME MERINGUE TART
- 8 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice (5-7 limes)
- 3/4 cups sugar
- zest of two limes
- pinch of salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- a few drops vanilla extract
- French tart dough (I used this very easy recipe from David Lebovitz's blog.)
Preheat the oven to 375º.
In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the butter, lime juice, sugar, zest, and salt.
NOTE: David suggests rolling the limes firmly on the counter before juicing in order to get the most out of them.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yolks.
When the butter has melted and the mixture is warm, gradually pour some of the warm lime juice mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.
Pour the warmed eggs back into the saucepan and cook the mixture over low heat.
Stir the mixture constantly over low heat, using the whisk, until the filling thickens and begins to resemble soft jelly. Do not let it boil.
Remove from heat and pour the filling into the pre-baked tart shell.
Bake for 10 minutes.
While the tart is baking, prepare the meringue. Whip the whites on high speed to soft peaks.
Gradually add the sugar and the salt, while whipping on high speed, until the meringue is shiny and stiff.
Beat in the vanilla, then pipe or spread over the tart.
NOTE: I beat the meringue a little too long this time which made it firmer than I think it should be. It didn't pipe onto the tart as nicely as I hoped. Don't get carried away or distracted while beating the meringue!
Heat the broiler and move the oven rack to the top third of the oven.
Pop the tart under the broiler, watching carefully, as it will brown quickly. When the top begins to darken, remove the tart from the oven and cool completely before slicing.
Storage: The tart is best eaten the day it’s made. You can refrigerate any leftovers. I had a piece for breakfast this morning and it was still very tasty. If you wish to make the lime filling in advance, you can make it and store it in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Source: David Lebovitz