The Lemon Meringue Pie (or Lemon Pie or Tarte Citron) is one of the most famous desserts that you can taste at Harry’s Bar in Venice. It’s really delicious and worth all the money (alas, quite a bit) that they will ask you for. However, the good Arrigo Cipriani kindly revealed the secrets of this dessert in his book “My Harry’s Bar” and we, with a lot of patience and good will, tried to repeat it… for us and for you 🙂
The cake is made up of a base of lemon shortcrust pastry cooked in white filled with a mix of two creams (custard and lemon cream) and everything is then covered with Italian meringue and “flambéed” or grilled in the oven .
1 – Shortcrust pastry base cooked in white (for the recipe click here)
2 – Lemon curd
- 70 g of butter
- 130 g of sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- the juice of 2 lemons
- the grated zest of 2 lemons
- 125 ml of milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 50 g of sugar
- 15 g of flour
- little lemon zest
- 3 egg whites
- 150 g of sugar
- the juice of half a lemon, filtered
- a pinch of vanillin
For the lemon curd: In a bain-marie, melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest. Mix well with a hand whisk to make the mixture homogeneous, without whipping. Let it cook until it becomes thick. Filter it through a sieve and place it in the fridge to cool. This cream seems like a miracle to me every time… without flour or starches it thickens easily.
For the custard: In a saucepan, boil the milk with the lemon zest and half the sugar and then turn off the heat. In a tall, narrow non-stick saucepan, mix the egg with the other half of the sugar, even just with a spoon. At this point add the flour, I recommend sifting it, and mix well. Add the hot milk to the mixture (even all together) removing the lemon zest. Cook in a non-stick saucepan over very low heat until it reaches a good density, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking. Put everything in the fridge to cool.
Pick the cooked shortcrust pastry base and, after mixing the custard and lemon in a container, fill the tart, leveling it with a spatula.
For the Italian meringue: Heat the whites with the sugar in a bain-marie.
Then add the vanillin and lemon juice and, with the help of an electric whisk, whip the whites until stiff: they will become firm, frothy and very shiny.
With a piping bag with a smooth or ribbed nozzle (in the photo I used the smooth one), or more simply with a spoon, distribute a generous layer of meringue over the cake.
Sprinkle with sugar and place under the hot grill for a few minutes, until the meringue tufts are colored (but the inside must remain soft!).
Place in the refrigerator and serve cold. If you make it the day before, we think it’s even better!
And now, after so much effort… enjoy it… it’s really beautiful and delicious!!!