Lemon-Olive Oil Cream Meringue Tart

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With a shortbread-like tart crust, a rich lemon-olive oil cream filling, and an Italian meringue topping, this tart by acclaimed pastry chef Claudia Fleming feels like a luxurious take on lemon meringue pie. It's ideal for any occasion you want to cap off with an impressive dessert.

Lemon-Olive Oil Cream Meringue Tart
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs 10 mins
Servings:
8

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 ¼ cups (about 5 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/3 ounces) unsalted butter, diced and chilled

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 egg yolk

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

  • ½ teaspoon cold water

Lemon-Olive Oil Cream

  • 6 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 3/4 cup fresh juice (from 4 large [about 4 ounces each] lemons), divided

  • ½ teaspoon powdered gelatin (from 1 [1/4-ounce] envelope)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil (6 ounces)

Italian Meringue

  • 2 large egg whites

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Directions

Prepare the Dough:

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, zest, and salt in a food processor until combined, about 4 pulses. Add butter; process until mixture becomes the texture of coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Whisk egg, yolk, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Stir in cold water. Add egg mixture to flour mixture in processor; pulse until combined, about 6 pulses.

  2. Turn Dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Form each Dough portion into a ball, and flatten into a disk. Wrap pastry disks individually in plastic wrap; flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Pastry disks may also be frozen up to 1 month; thaw at room temperature before using.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove 1 pastry disk from fridge, and unwrap; reserve remaining disk for another use. Roll 1 dough disk into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. If pastry cracks or tears, press dough back together. Prick bottom of crust all over with a fork. Place in freezer until cold, about 10 minutes.

  4. Remove tart shell from freezer. Line bottom of tart shell with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in preheated oven until pastry is set and lightly browned at edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven; remove parchment paper and weights. Return to oven, and bake at 350°F until pastry is lightly browned on bottom, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Prepare the Lemon-Olive Oil Cream:

  1. Place 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a small bowl, and sprinkle with gelatin; let stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

  2. Fill a large saucepan with water to a depth of a few inches. Bring to a simmer over medium. Stir together sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a metal bowl that will fit into the pan of simmering water. Work sugar and zest between your fingers until sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in eggs, then remaining 11 tablespoons lemon juice. Set bowl over pan of simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water). Cook, whisking egg mixture constantly, until mixture thickens and a candy thermometer registers 180°F, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in softened gelatin-lemon mixture, and stir until dissolved. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a blender; discard solids. Let mixture rest in blender at room temperature, pulsing occasionally, until it cools to 130°F, about 15 minutes.

  3. With blender running, add butter in 2 additions, processing until incorporated after each addition. With blender running, slowly and steadily drizzle in olive oil; process until combined, about 1 minute. Pour Lemon-Olive Oil Cream into prepared tart shell. Press plastic wrap against surface. Chill until firm and set, at least 6 hours and preferably overnight (12 hours).

Prepare the Italian Meringue:

  1. Place egg whites and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Stir together sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan until combined. Cook over medium-high, undisturbed, and when syrup registers 230°F on a candy thermometer, begin whipping egg whites with stand mixer on high speed. Beat whites until soft peaks form and syrup in pan registers 240°F, about 3 minutes. With mixer running on high speed, slowly stream hot sugar syrup down side of mixer bowl, being careful not to touch whisk. Beat until bowl no longer feels warm to touch and Italian Meringue is stiff and shiny, about 5 minutes.

  2. Transfer Italian Meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a tip of your choice, and decorate top of tart however you desire. Alternatively, go freeform and use a spatula, creating swirls and peaks. Brown meringue using a kitchen torch, holding torch 1 to 2 inches from pie and moving torch back and forth. Tart may be stored, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.

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