These Mini Lemon Meringue Pies are the perfect treat for your next party. They have all the lovely things a party treat should have: they are cute, bite-sized and stress-free to make. You can prepare everything in advance and assemble them when you need them. To do so, instead of piping fluffy meringue over the lemon pies, we make Meringue Tops, which are baked till crisp. This way, they are stored on the counter and placed on top of the Lemon Curd, when ready to serve.
Sure, you can go the traditional way and make them ahead of time, with fresh fluffy meringue. Just keep in mind that fluffy meringue is prone to liquifying as it sits in the fridge.
Why this recipe works for parties:
All components can be prepared ahead of time, as per recipe instructions, and brought together when needed.
The most challenging thing when throwing a party, is to find space in the fridge. For this reason, the traditional Lemon Pie recipe is altered in a way that these Mini Lemon Meringue Pies can be assembled just before serving. As you will see, two of the main components, which are the Mini Tart cases and the Crispy Meringue Tops, can be stored on the counter. As for the Lemon Curd, it can be stored in the fridge, in a piping bag, ready to use.
Another option is to make regular, fluffy meringue and store it in a piping bag, in the fridge. Just make sure you make the Italian meringue, in which the egg whites are “cooked” with hot sugar syrup and pasteurised, to avoid the risk of sending your guests to the hospital, in the case of salmonella.
The reason I do not prefer this method, is that Italian meringue requires some extra effort. Another reason is that the Crispy Meringue Tops can be made 10 days before, which reduces the cooking time on the preparation days near the party.
Mini Lemon Meringue Pies for parties
For assembling the Lemon Tarts, you will need the following special equipment:
- food clips to secure the piping bag
Should you not have a piping bag click here
you can store the lemon curd in a container and fill the tart cases using two teaspoons.
This recipe makes 24 pieces, perfect for a party of 20 people – given that there are other dessert options available.
You will need:
- 24 pieces Mini Tart Cases, recipe here
- Lemon Curd ( recipe follows )
- 24 Crispy Meringue Tops (recipe follows)
Step 1 – Prepare ahead of time
- prepare the Mini Tart Cases up to 3 days before and keep them in a jar or other airtight container – or check recipe for freezing options –
- the Lemon Curd up to 3 days before and store it in the refrigerator, in the piping bag
- the Crispy Meringue Tops up to 10 days before and keep them in a jar or other airtight container
Step 2 – Assemble
You can serve them as soon as you make them.
Prepare your workplace, find the platter you will use and have everything ready and close to you. Tip: For a dramatic look, opt for a black platter, which you may dust with confectioner’s sugar. The Mini Tart Cases, the Crispy Meringue Tops and the piping bag filled with the Lemon Curd.
Arrange the mini tart cases on the platter. Fill the tart cases with lemon curd. The amount piped should be a bit higher than the edges of the tart case, in order for the meringue topper to attach to it. Top them with a Crispy Meringue Top. You do not have to do them all together, you may make the first batch and refill later. They are ok to be left at room temperature for 1 1/2 hour. On warmer days, it may be preferable not to leave them for more than an hour.
In an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 1-2 days, depending on the freshness of the Lemon Curd.
Lemon Curd recipe
This will make just enough to fill 24 tart cases. Should you wish to treat yourself, you can double the recipe.
- 65 gr sugar ( about 5 ounces )
- zest of 1 lemon ( grated directly into the sugar )
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 65 gr lemon juice, from about 1-2 lemons ( 65 ml )
- 65 gr cold butter, cut into thin slices
- pinch of salt
Step 1 – Make the Lemon Curd
You will need a medium stainless bowl, which fits comfortably over a medium saucepan. In the bowl, put the sugar and zest directly the lemon on top. Add the egg, egg yolk, lemon juice and salt and whisk to combine.
Fill halfway a medium saucepan with water and bring to a gentle simmer.
Place the bowl over the simmering water ( the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water ) while stirring continuously with a silicone spatula. Once the curds starts to thicken, continue cooking for 2 minutes.
Remove the curd from the heat and quickly whisk the cold butter into the curd, until creamy and glossy. Pass through a sieve into a clean bowl, cover with cling film directly over the lemon curd and let cool. Do not leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Step 2 – Fill the piping bag
Prepare the piping bag; if needed, cut the edge with scissors or a sharp knife. Fit the piping tip. For clean storing, you can secure the space above the piping tip with a clip. This will keep the content of the piping bag safe until you are ready to use it. See photo:
Fill the piping bag with the lemon curd. If you are new to this, see these step-by-step instructions by Stella Parks (the twisting thing does not work for me because my piping bags are too thick). Secure the open side with a clip to close.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use and up to 3 days.
when you are ready to use, remove the clip that is close to the piping tip. It is best is to do it over the sink, just in case there any drippings of water from the mixture. Use as described above.
Crispy Meringue Tops recipe
a piping bag with a 1.5 cm ( about o.6 inches ) piping tip
- 2 large egg whites
- 120 gr regular sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Step 1 – Make the Meringue
Preheat the oven to 120ºC/100ºC Fan (210ºF /250ºF Fan).
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a simmer to create a double boiler.
Put the egg whites in a metal, completely grease-free bowl – you can use the bowl of the electric mixer- and whisk by hand till lightly foamed. Add the cream of tartar, whisk to dissolve and add the sugar.
Put the bowl oven the pan with the simmering water and keep whisking. You aim to fully dissolve the sugar, this will have happened at 60ºC/140ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, check with your fingers if you can feel the sugar crystals in the egg whites.
Tip: Our goal is to dissolve the sugar. This makes for perfect, crispy meringues with a uniform sweetness. If you have caster or superfine sugar, you can skip this step and start whipping the meringue without going through the double boiler process.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan and start whisking with the whisk attachment – in a stand mixer or hand mixer -. beat on medium speed for 2 minutes and gradually increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to beat until the meringue is thick and glossy.
Step 2- Bake the Meringue
Apply a small amount of meringue in each corner of a baking tray and place a sheet of baking paper on top. Using your hands, secure the baking paper by pressing it to stick on the tray. This will help it stay in place while you pipe.
Fill the piping bag with the meringue and pipe small droplets. The base of each droplet should be 3 cm (1.2 inches). You can draw a 3 cm circle and pipe the first meringue to use as a guide. Do not pipe them higher than 1.5 cm (0.6 inches), we want bite-size here and if you pipe them higher, the final tarts will be too high.
If you have a blow torch, you can use it to create the lovely browning tradition meringue pies have. Just be careful to aim for the tops, or the baking paper will light up.
Put in the oven and bake for 2 1/2 hours. The meringues are ready when they look dry and sound hollow when gently tapped underneath.
Turn off the oven, propping the door open with a spoon. Leave them inside to cool for a few hours .
In an airtight container, for up to 10 days