Lemon, lavender, and thyme; zesty, floral, and fragrant; all attributes of my latest recipe — and, now, you can try it, too! This lemon lavender meringue tart is an elevated version of everyone’s favorite summer treat. The lemon curd is tangy and bright, the thyme-scented shortcrust flaky and light. Then, it’s topped off with a sweet, ethereal swiss meringue, torched to toasty perfection — the piece de resistance, you might say.
I just love this dessert, and I’ve already been asked by my “taste-testers” to make this one again. So, it’s definitely a winner.
Today, I’ll walk you through the process so you can create this decadent and delicious treat. First, peruse the materials list. Then, carefully check out my “tips and tricks” section, before moving on to the full recipe.
As always, after you’ve read the post or tried this dessert, please leave a comment with any questions, comments, or reviews!
Lemon Lavender Meringue Tart with Shortcrust Pastry
To ensure the success of your bake, it’s essential that you prepare all of your tools ahead of time. I’ve included my fave links (affiliate) for your easy shopping and reference. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Food processor (you can also use a pastry cutter)
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- 11″ tart pan (with removable bottom)
- Parchment paper
- Baking beans or pie weights
- Cooling rack
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Cutting board
- Double-boiler (or a saucepan and stainless steel stand mixer bowl)
- Candy thermometer
- Stand mixer (you can use a hand-mixer, but it may take longer)
- Mortal and pestle (or, use the knife and cutting board or the food processor)
- Piping bags and tips (or, you can just spread the meringue with an offset spatula)
- Kitchen torch
Tips For A Flaky Shortcrust Shell
To begin your tart, you need a good base: your thyme shortcrust pastry shell. To preserve the flaky, “short” texture of the crust, keep four things in mind:
- Don’t overwork your dough. Just mix it until it comes together.
- Don’t add too much liquid — only add until the dough holds together (more on this in a minute.)
- Try to roll out your dough into the crust shape only once. Overworking the dough can cause it to lose tenderness.
- Finally, keep your butter cold! Don’t let the butter melt by kneading too much with hot hands. Any time you’re not working with your dough, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer.
The process for this shortcrust pastry shell is very similar to a pie crust. So, be sure to check out my Pie Crust Guide for a more thorough explanation of tips, as well as a visual cue to know your dough has enough liquid (see the second video in the guide!)
Tricks To Nail Your Lemon Curd and Lavender Meringue
First things first: prepare your mise en place! The process of making the curd and meringue moves somewhat quickly, so make sure you measure out all of your ingredients before getting started. Also, wipe down all of your meringue equipment (bowl, whisk, thermometer, and mixer whisk) extremely well. Even just a touch of fat on the equipment will prevent the meringue from whipping up properly into stiff peaks (shown in the photo below.)
When separating your eggs, do so extremely carefully, as you’ll use the yolks in the curd, and the whites in the meringue. Crack each egg over a small cup, separating the white from the yolk. Place the yolks together in one bowl, then transfer the white from the cup to another clean bowl.
This process ensures that in the event you accidentally break a yolk into the egg white, you won’t contaminate your whole batch of egg whites with the fat from the yolk. Instead, you can just dump out the cup and only lose one egg white, instead of the entire batch. This recipe conveniently leaves you with 2 or 3 extra egg whites, just in case.
Depending on the potency of your lavender, you may not need to use all of it. I recommend adding about half of it first, mixing, and taste testing, just to be sure. You can always add the rest after tasting it, should you think it could use more. Though too much lavender can taste soapy, keep in mind, it needs to compete with the fireworks of flavor brought on by the lemon curd. So, don’t be shy!
Adding Your Final Touch
Then, to add the meringue to the tart, you can either pipe it on in decorative swirls, rosettes, and flourishes or smooth it on with an offset spatula. Either method works just fine, as the final torching creates a striking appearance no matter what.
Use caution when filling your kitchen torch with butane — I like to fill mine outside, just in case. Regardless, always follow the directions very carefully to avoid potential injury. When torching the meringue, start with a smaller flame, and hold it farther away from the tart. As you see how the meringue toasts, you can increase the size and intensity accordingly.
Never take your eyes off of the tart for even a second because meringue does burn quickly. On the other hand though, don’t be shy with the torching, because it really creates a wonderful texture when you taste those almost-charred edges with the ultra-creamy and light meringue inside. Yum!
Lemon Lavender Meringue Tart Recipe
Lemon Lavender Meringue Tart with Thyme Shortcrust Pastry
Thyme Shortcrust Pastry
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup butter, cold and cubed
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg white
- 6 tbsp water, split
- 8 egg yolks
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 lemons-worth of zest
- 1¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ tsp cornstarch
- ½ cup butter, cut into large pieces
- 6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 egg whites
- 1¼ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¾-1½ tbsp ground lavender (to taste)
Thyme Shortcrust Pastry
- In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and finely chopped thyme. Pulse the ingredients until they're evenly combined.
- Add the butter and the egg yolks, and mix again, just until everything comes together. It should resemble the texture of wet sand. Drizzle in up to 4 tbsp of cold water, only adding as much as it takes for the dough to hold together (check out the visual cue in the second video of my pie-basics post to know when your dough is properly hydrated: https://lexisrose.com/perfect-pie-crust/ ).
- Dump the pastry dough onto a sheet of plastic, kneading it together just until it holds. Then, wrap it in the plastic and chill for at least one hour, or up to two days in the refrigerator.
- When you're ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough to ⅛" and transfer it carefully to an 11-inch round tart pan. I like to roll on a silicone baking mat, but you can just flour your work surface, or roll in between two layers of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to remove the excess from the edges. Pierce the crust all over and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Remove the tart from the freezer and lay a piece of parchment paper inside. Then, pour some baking beans or pie weights on top. Pay special attention to the edges, helping support them (to prevent falling) while baking. Bake the tart shell for 18-20 minutes, or until just starting to become golden.
- Remove the shell and the parchment paper from the oven, and brush the pastry quickly with a thin layer of the egg wash (your egg white mixed with remaining water.) Pop it back in the oven for just a few minutes, until it has a nice golden finish. Then, let it cool.
- In a small saucepan, stir together the egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat, whisking for about 8-10 minutes, until it begins to thicken.
- To the pan, add the butter and stir it in to melt. Continue stirring the mixture for about 5-8 more minutes, until it has nicely thickened.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the chopped white chocolate until it melts. Then, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any imperfections or lumps.
- Spoon or pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell, and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, or up to 1 day. However, a tart is best served on the day it's baked, otherwise, it can become a bit soggy. Our egg wash on the tart shell will create a small barrier, preventing the moisture from the curd from leaching into the shell too quickly.
- Set up your double boiler and bring the water in the pan to a boil. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl, and whisk constantly until it just reaches 160°F — take care not to overheat it, though.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer (if it isn't in there already) and beat it on medium-high, then high, for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
- Add the lavender and gently mix to incorporate.
- Place the meringue in a piping bag and cover your chilled tart with it. Alternatively, you can just spoon the meringue on and smooth it with a spatula.
- Carefully use your kitchen torch to brown the meringue, holding it back farther at first, until you get the hang of it. Alternatively, put the tart under the broiler for a minute or so — watch it extremely carefully, because it goes from undone to charred in a matter of seconds. Serve immediately. Though not ideal, you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for one to two days.
Enjoy Your Tart
Lemon meringue tart is best served the same day you make it. However, feel free to make the shell dough ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. After filling with curd, you can refrigerate the tart for up to one day. Our egg wash will function as a small barrier, preventing the moisture from the curd from leaching into the tart shell as quickly.
Then, don’t refrigerate the tart after topping it with meringue, if at all possible. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for another day, if any remain, that is. 🙂
Plus, don’t forget to find me on Instagram so we can keep in touch, and be sure to tag me in any photos you post of your tart! I love to see your works of culinary art.
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Take care guys! Until next time…
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