I think most of us have made the lemon pie recipe on the back of the sweetened condensed milk can at least once or twice in our lifetimes, and with good results. In fact, in my family that lemon pie was front and center at most holiday gatherings, especially on my dad’s side of the family. We have a running joke about da-lemon, and if it’s not on the dessert table, there could be a problem for some. Over the years, I have made a few alterations to the lemon pie recipe, mostly changing it from a pie to a tart because unless you double the filling, the original recipe doesn’t make enough to fill the pie tin, in my opinion. Another key component to this recipe is the meringue and I have decided that Swiss meringue is much more marshmallowy than classic meringue, and it doesn’t weep in the refrigerator before serving.
Graham crackers still make up the crust in this lemon tart and for most of us, we can get our hands on a box. You can even buy a pre-made graham cracker pie crust, but I recommend pulsing up your own. After that, the filling ingredients are the same as usual – lemon juice, eggs (separated from their whites), and sweetened condensed milk – all pantry ingredients for the most part.
Now, when you get to the meringue this is where the recipe is different. You warm the egg whites and sugar over hot water in a double boiler or bowl placed over another pan (bain marie in French) and when it’s warm, pour the mixture into a stand mixer, and whip until fluffy. It’s not any more difficult to prepare than a traditional meringue, it’s just better – trust me on this one. I bet you’ll probably will never go back to making meringue the same way again.
1 sleeve graham crackers
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter
oil for pan
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice or a mixture of lemon & lime juices
3 eggs, divided
egg whites from above
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tarter
(Makes 1 Tart)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, add graham crackers and pulse until coarse crumbs. Add sugar and butter, and pulse until mixture comes together. Brush 9-inch removable bottom tart pan with oil and press crumbs into pan, coming halfway up sides. Bake for 12 minutes, remove and let cool.
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine all Filling ingredients (not egg whites) on low speed. Pour over crust and bake for 25-30 minutes until set, but not brown. Remove and let cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before topping with meringue.
- Place egg whites and sugar in a small bowl and place over simmering water. Cook until just warm, about 3 minutes stirring constantly. Do not overcook.
- Pour egg white mixture into stand mixer and whip on high speed for 2 minutes. Add cream of tarter and continue to whip until firm peaks, but not dry. Spoon on top of tart, exposing an inch of lemon filling around edges. Toast with torch or under broiler, if desired. Chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!