Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Tarte au Citron Meringuee - Lemon Meringue Tart

This beautiful presentation of an old standard comes from Chef Xavier Sauvaget, the head pastry chef at the Hotel Victoria at Glion above Lake Geneva.  Privately owned, this elegant old hotel provides guests with a lavish dessert cart stocked with M. Sauvaget’s traditional and contemporary specialties for both lunch and dinner.

I love the side-by-side presentation of the meringue and lemon curd that this tart uses.  In the photo you’ll notice that it’s sprinkled with pink sugar; it’s some crushed pralines roses (pink pralines) made from hazelnuts covered with colored sugar.  They’re a specialty in nearby Lyons in France but not obtainable in the United States.

Makes one 9- to 10-inch tart, about 8 servings

One bake crust made from Pate Sablée, see below

Lemon Curd

8 tablespoons/1 stick unsalted butter, melted

5 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, strained before measuring

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest


2 large egg whites

1/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for finishing

  1. For the lemon curd, whisk the ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Set the pan on medium heat and whisk until the curd is hot and steam starts to emerge from it. Decrease the heat to low and continue whisking until the curd has thickened, being careful by moving the pan on and off the heat that the curd doesn’t come to a boil. Strain the curd into a stainless steel bowl or clean plastic container, press plastic wrap against the surface, and refrigerate until cold. May be prepared days or even weeks in advance.
  2. When you’re ready to assemble the tart, make the meringue: combine the ingredients in a mixer bowl and whisk over a pan of boiling water until hot and all the sugar has dissolved. Whip on medium-high speed until risen in volume but still creamy and not dry.
  3. Use a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tube to pie the meringue in the tart shell in pointed portions about an inch wide, leaving an equal amount of room for the lemon curd.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for a few minutes or color the meringue with a blowtorch. Let the meringue and crust cool.
  5. Finally, use the same size tube to pipe in the lemon curd between the peaks of meringue. Chill well.
  6. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Baked Pate Sablee Crust

2 1/2 cups/325 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)

8 ounces/2 sticks/225 grams unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 cup/112 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, optional

2 large egg yolks

One 9- or 10-inch round tart pan with removable bottom

  1. For the dough, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on lowest speed until well mixed, then increase to medium speed and beat until lightened, about 3 minutes. Beat in the extracts, then the egg yolks, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and beater and beat in the flour on lowest speed. Scrape the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead the dough together 3 or 4 times to make it smooth. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form them into disks, and wrap in plastic. Chill the dough for a couple of hours before rolling. If only using half the dough, freeze the other piece for another crust later on.
  2. Soften one of the pieces of dough at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then roll and line the tart pan, severing the excess dough at the rim of the pan. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and chill it.  Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
  3. Place the tart crust in the oven and bake until set and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes, checking often to burst any bubbles that might form.
  4. Cool the crust on a rack.