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These lemon meringue tartlets are irresistible for those who love a tangy, citrusy and elegant treat.
The shell is made with an easy, homemade gluten-free pastry, followed by a set lemon pudding filling and topped with high peaks of marshmallow meringue.
They can be served either at room temperature or chilled with plenty of fresh strawberries.
ABOUT EACH LAYER
Using my homemade gluten-free plain flour blend guarantees an amazing tart pastry. I also tested the recipe with a store-bought gluten-free flour by Schär, using the same quantities of flour as for my homemade blend. Should you find your particular store-bought flour needing more liquid, simply add a few extra tablespoons of iced cold water to bring the dough together.
Chilling the dough is the key to a successful and manageable pastry to roll out, plus another stint of chilling the pastry in the tart tins to avoid shrinkage during baking.
Blind baking is crucial for the pastry to cook thoroughly and become crisp before adding the filling, otherwise, the base of the tart may turn out soggy and unpalatable.
Besides flavouring the filling with lemon juice and zest, you may prefer limes instead. If so, head to the filling recipe used for Key Lime Pie. Continue these steps in this recipe for the pastry shell and meringue topping.
Use fresh organic eggs at room temperature where possible for the best results for volume and flavour.
Don’t forget to separate the eggs following the “3-bowl method” explained in the recipe card below. This ensures no egg yolks slip into the egg white and ruin the entire egg white batch.
Adding either cream of tartar or cornflour will “fix” the egg whites into a stable meringue. This meringue is soft and slightly crunchy on the outside when baked for the recommended time in the recipe. However, if you prefer a crispier texture, bake the tartlets at the final stages for 5 minutes longer. The topping may appear more golden than in the photo but totally edible.
Can I leave out the meringue topping?
Yes, but you will need to call it a lemon pie! 😊
You can skip the final baking step as the lemon filling is already cooked and sets without the oven. I would recommend eating lemon pie, chilled with some whipped cream on the side.
Can I make a large tart instead of small tartlets?
For 8 small tartlets measuring 10 cm in diameter, the recipe will easily make a family-size tart measuring 26 cm in diameter.
Most of us would associate lemon meringue pie with originating from France or Switzerland. Actually, the Quakers invented the lemon custard and in 1806, a female entrepreneur from Philadelphia, Elizabeth Goodfellow, expanded the lemon custard pie into a meringue pie. This creation eventually took by storm in Europe, mainly France and Switzerland to establish itself as a favourite dessert dish seen in many patisseries and cafes.
Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Tartlet Pastry
- 85 g cornflour Known as cornflour in the UK and corn or maize starch in the USA
- 115 g caster sugar
- 350 ml water
- 1¼ tsp lemon zest
- 140 ml lemon juice, sieved Tip: each lemon gives approx 30ml to 50ml of juice.
- 70 g butter
- 6 eggs, separated *Set aside the egg whites for the topping
- 6 egg whites* *Saved from the separated eggs used in the filling.
- 100 g caster sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar, or
- 1 tbsp cornflour, sieved
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Tartlet Pastry
Preparing the pastry
- Process the flour, salt, xanthan gum, icing sugar and chilled butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Pulse or mix in well.
- Followed by the iced cold water one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 mins. TIP: While the pastry is resting, this is a good time to prepare the lemon filling *
Rolling out the pastry
- Lightly grease the tart tins with some butter.
- Roll out the pastry to 5 mm thick between two sheets of baking paper.
- Place the tart tin upside down on the rolled-out pastry and cut 1 cm away from the edge around the tin using a pointed knife or pizza cutter.
- Transfer the cut-out circle of pastry to the tart tins and gently press and mould the pastry along the sides, trimming any excess pastry if needed.
- Chill the tart tins for 10 mins. This avoids the pastry from shrinking when baking.
Baking the pastry shells
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Cut out squares or round pieces of baking paper and place these on top of the pastry followed by pastry weights or uncooked rice.
- Blind bake for 10 mins.
- Remove the weights and prick the base of the pastry with a fork.
- Bake for a further 10 mins.
Lemon Filling * Make this ahead of time while the pastry is chilling
- Separate the eggs using three bowls. One to separate one egg at a time and the remaining two to hold the egg yolks and whites separately. Set both bowls aside.
- Combine the cornflour with the sugar in a medium saucepan.
- Turn on the heat to medium and whisk in the water & lemon zest.
- Gradually whisk in the lemon juice.
- Stir or whisk frequently for 5 mins or until the mixture thickens slightly.
- Add the butter and blend in well.
- Lower the heat to the lowest setting.
- Add the yolks to the warm mixture, mixing in well.
- Stir continuously for 5 mins over low heat until the mixture resembles a pudding consistency.
- Cover the top of the lemon filling with some baking paper to prevent a crust from forming while cooling down in the saucepan. Set aside.
- Whisk the reserved egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Add the sugar gradually until firm peaks form and they appear glossy.
- Sprinkle the cream of tartar or cornflour over the meringue and whisk for 10 seconds.
Assembling the tartlets
- Add the lemon filling to the baked pie crust and with a fork, rough up the top. This helps the meringue stick to the lemon filling.
- Gently top the lemon filling with the meringue mixture forming decorative peaks with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Aim to create a height of 3 cm towards the centre.
- Lower the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F.
- Place the tart tins on a large flat tray and bake for 5 mins.
- Without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 150°C/300°F and bake for a further 10 mins.
- Turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly ajar to allow the pie to cool down gradually for 30 mins.
- Remove the tart tins from the oven.
- Leave them to cool down for a further 30 mins before removing them from the tins.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled with fresh strawberries.
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze whole or in portions