Lemon Meringue Tartlets

When life gives Phoenix freezing temperatures, pick the lemons from your tree and make these Lemon Meringue Tartlets!

A little sweet, a little tart, creamy and piled high with fluffy, dreamy meringue, these tartlets are easy to make. The filling requires the juice from just two lemons along with some zest, but it offers an amazing burst of sunshine!

Lemon juice by using my grandma’s juicer.

Most people don’t think about the cold weather in Phoenix. Our winters do, in fact, bring on cold weather (relatively speaking) but it’s pretty rare when the temps dip below freezing for several nights in a row. When it does, you cover your plants and hope for the best. You also take the time to pick the fruit that grows beautifully from your citrus trees.

Fresh lemons

That’s what we did during my mom’s recent visit. Needless to say she was surprised by the weather, but she was thrilled we could make these luscious Lemon Meringue Tartlets with lemons straight from the tree. This dessert definitely appeals to your senses, from the sweet smell of the lemons as you juice and zest them to the beauty of these small, fluffy packages, and finally, the amazing fresh flavor as you dig in.

Out of the tin and ready to enjoy

This recipe makes five, 5-inch tartlets, or one, 9-inch pie.

Puff Pastry Lemon Tart with Raspberry-Chambord Sauce

A Tart Bite with Sweet Memories

My fruit trees – especially the lemon tree – always remind me of my parents. They loved the fact that we have these wonderful trees in our backyard! I know it reminded them of their home in Italy where they grew up. The branches on my lemon tree are bending, full of fruit! The perfect solution: Puff Pastry Lemon Tart with Raspberry-Chambord Sauce.

A little lemon with some sugar

One thing I’ve recently discovered about my mom: she has a quirky lemon habit. When we’re out at a restaurant, she’ll automatically ask for a lemon with her water. Once her water with lemon arrives, she pulls out two packets of sugar, sprinkles the contents of each packet on the lemon wedge, and takes a big bite out of the lemon.

It’s like watching a kid! She knows her lemon bite is going to be sour (hence the two packets of sugar) but she smiles, takes the plunge, then crinkles her eyes, puckers her mouth and shakes her head as if to say, “Wow! I didn’t realize it would be tart!” Watching her do this always makes me laugh. She told me she used to eat lemons that way when she was a kid growing up in Italy – just pull the lemons from the trees, add a little sugar and take a brave bite!

Lemon meringue memories

My dad used to make the very best lemon meringue pie in the land. Those pies were so good that I don’t even want to attempt to make one, for fear it won’t turn out even half as good as his. His pies were the whole package, too, from the flaky crust to the creamy filling to the fluffy meringue.

I remember a while after my dad died, my mom still had one pie crust that he had made, tucked away in the freezer. She wanted to hold on to that pie crust as long as she could, but finally relented and pulled it from the freezer. She used it for her version of lemon meringue pie – also very good, just not Dad’s. We ate that pie, savoring every bite and thinking about my dad and all the goodies he used to make. We still miss them and we really still miss him.

A tart with a twist

I wanted to make something tasty with my lemons as the main ingredient, and when I saw the Meyer Lemon Tart recipe from Sweet Paul Magazine, it looked like a good way to put my lemons to use!

I didn’t really change much about the recipe aside from using regular lemons, adding some slivered almonds to the top of the tart and drizzling on some Raspberry-Chambord Sauce.

For the Raspberry-Chambord Sauce you’ll need:

  • 12 ounces of frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chambord (or other) raspberry liqueur

Mix the cornstarch and lemon juice in a small bowl until combined and set aside.

Heat the raspberries and sugar in a pan. Add the cornstarch mixture to the raspberries and cook until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and mix in the Chambord.

Use a sieve and the back of a spoon to strain out the raspberry seeds. Refrigerate the sauce until you’re ready to use it.

The lemons spill their juices while they’re baking and create a sticky goodness on top of the tart, between the lemon slices. It also makes a really pretty presentation, and has “spring” written all over it. The dessert is really easy to make and Sweet Paul is right about serving it with vanilla ice cream – it’s sort of like adding sugar to a lemon wedge!

Puff Pastry Lemon Tart served with Raspberry-Chambord Sauce:

Recipe slightly adapted from Sweet Paul Magazine

Serves 6